How to Create Area Targets

In this guide, you will get acquainted with the process for creating Area Targets using the Vuforia Area Target Generator (ATG). Area Targets are generated from a scanned model of an area. The dataset can afterwards easily be imported to your Unity project or native development environment.

Workflow Overview

  1. Capture a space with one of the supported devices from the list on the Area Targets Overview Page.
  2. Import the data into the ATG and create the Area Target.
  3. Test the Area Target in the real environment using the Area Target Test App.
  4. Develop your application by importing the dataset files into your AR project.

Alternatively, smaller Area Target spaces can also be captured, created, and tested with an ARKit enabled device that an inbuilt LiDAR via the Vuforia Area Target Creator App.

Capturing the Space

Vuforia supports handheld scanners with ARKit enabled and inbuilt LiDAR sensors and professional depth scanners.

Use the Vuforia Area Target Creator app for handheld devices to scan, create, and test your Area Target, all within one session and application. It is also possible to transfer the Area Target databases to i.e. Unity to build your AR experience. Our guides on Scanning an Environment and the Vuforia Area Target Creator App contain useful information for scanning with a handheld device. 

Other scans generated from the supported professional devices list can be converted into Area Targets with the ATG. Each scanner requires specific preparations and investments and will also vary in their output files from digital meshes to point clouds. Please see the guides for each brand to learn more on getting a scan suitable for import into the ATG.

Create an Area Target

If you haven’t already done so, download the Area Target Generator (ATG) installer for either Windows or macOS from the download section in the Vuforia Developer Portal, and proceed to install the desktop tool. Consult the guide; Area Target Generator User Guide for installation tips and general use.

  1. Enter your Vuforia Developer Credentials.

There are two ways of generating an Area Target with the ATG. Either from a Matterport™ scan or from an E57 data file. Follow the section below that matches the scanning solution you have selected.

Creating an Area Target from a Matterport™ scan

  1. To create an Area Target, click the New Area Target from Matterport™ Scan button.
  2. The next window will ask you to enter the Token ID and Token Secret associated with your Matterport™ account. Refer to the Scanning Guide for Area Targets using Matterport™  for guidance on requesting and placing the Token ID and Token Secret.

  1. In the new window, fill in the Scanned Space ID and give it a name.
    1. The Scanned Space field is the Matterport™ SpaceID and a unique 11-digit ID that is associated with your individual scans.
    2. Find the unique ID of your scan by opening the scanned space from your Matterport™ account.

  1. Copy the entire URL, or just the SpaceID portion as illustrated and paste it into the Scanned Space field.

  1. Enter the target name into the Area Target Name field.
    NOTE: The Area Target name should be without spaces and only consist of letters, numbers, underscores _ or dashes -. A maximum of 64 characters is allowed.
  2. Verify that the folder location for saving the Area Target database is suitable, modify as required.
  3. Click Create Area Target.

NOTE: We recommend to always use the latest ATG version as earlier generations of Area Targets from Matterport™ scans are subject to compatibility issues in Unity with the release of Vuforia Engine 9.7. See the Unity guide – Legacy Area Targets for more details.

Creating an Area Target from E57 data

Scanners that produce point clouds can be imported as E57 data files. The supported list on the Area Targets home page shows current devices that the ATG can import. See the scanning guides below Scanning an Environment to learn more on getting a space scanned.

  1. If you are using a NavVis scan, you will first have to locate and prepare the datasets_proc folder with a conversion tool . See the NavVis User Guide for steps to prepare the NavVis scan.  
  2. If the scan is available as E57 and on your local hard drive, launch the ATG and login with your Vuforia Developer credentials.
  3. In the ATG, press New Area Target from E57 Data.
  4. Browse to the generated E57 file and give your Area Target a name. Verify also that the save location suits you.

  1. Press Create Area Target.

NOTE: Point cloud scans originating from devices not officially supported by Vuforia will likely result in an error message. For information on supported point cloud scans and devices, please see the Area Targets home page.

Area Target Generation

Once Create Area Target is pressed the following window will display how many targets you have remaining and the save location directory. When you press continue and generate an Area Target, one target count will be subtracted from your quota after the process has completed successfully. Re-creating an Area Target from the same model or file counts as new and will be subtracted. For specific quota options associated with any license, refer to the pricing page. The free Vuforia Developer License starts with a quota of 10 Area Targets.

Area Target Generation Process

A log about the (down-)loading, processing, and generation of the Area Target is shown during the creation process andvisualized with a progress bar. If you wish, you can stop the process by pressing Cancel before it finishes, and without it subtracting from your quota.

  1. Once the process is complete, an OK button is available. By pressing it, you will return to the Home Screen.
  2. The generated dataset is now available in the selected folder to be imported into the Unity Editor or native development environment.

Testing your Area Target

To quickly verify the result of the generation process, you can return to the environment that you created an Area Target from and load your database to the Area Target Test App and try it out. Visit the Area Target Test App User Guide for more information on this topic.

Develop Using the Area Target

Head to the Area Targets in Unity page where you can learn to use the target in Unity, including testing it in the Vuforia Simulator Play Mode.

Learn More

Area Target Test App User Guide

Area Targets in Unity

Area Target Generator User Guide

Scanning Guide using Matterport™

Best Practices for Preparing and Scanning an Environment

Vuforia Area Target Creator App