data in augmented reality on your iPhone/Android phone

Layar is an augmented reality application for iPhone and Android phones, and the Sunlight Labs have now created a layer for the app through which you can browse data from! “Augmented reality” is a new class of applications that essentially layer data on top of a real-world image, in real-time. So if you’re walking down the street, you can hold up your iPhone camera in front of you and the Layar application will show you all sorts of data on top of that “reality”, as the images below show.

I use this to find interesting restaurants (using the app), Wikipedia entries for the places I’m in, and other nifty stuff like that. It’s a fantastic way of adding to your knowledge about wherever you happen to be.

To get started, you should install the Layar app on your iPhone or Android phone, and then search in the app for the “” data layer. Once you fire it up, you can see what organizations near your locale have received Recovery Act funding, how much, and get access to the complete record from, right on your phone.

Data mashups like this are why it’s so important for government to open itself up in the ways that,, and other initiatives are attempting to enable. The ways in which we citizens can use this data are many and unpredictable. 

[Found via the often-awesome BoingBoing, from where I copied the above image, lest you see an augmented reality of my office instead!]