Lightship VPS

Lightship VPS lets you synchronize your device with real-world locations by locating and understanding real-world VPS-activated Wayspots. Use Lightship VPS to create immersive experiences in which your users interact with persistent, shareable AR content at real-world locations. With Lightship VPS you can place virtual objects that persist in the real-world and can be found and shared by others.


This is a Public Beta feature and functionality may change in a future release. For more information on ARDK feature launch types like Public Beta, see Lightship Launch Types.

One example use case for VPS is a geo-caching AR game. Players can localize their devices at nearby VPS-activated Wayspots and use Wayspot Anchors to create and “hide” virtual objects for other players to find. The Wayspot Anchors associate the virtual objects with the VPS-activated Wayspot, and persist between different AR sessions and users. Other players can localize their devices to the same VPS-activated Wayspot, restore the Wayspot Anchors to position virtual objects in the correct place, and try to find them.

VPS currently provides the following features:

  • VPS-activated Wayspots are unique or notable, publicly accessible, real-world locations that Lightship VPS apps can engage with.

  • VPS Coverage Areas are geographic regions where users can localize with VPS and interact with persistent AR content. A VPS Coverage Area shows the region around a VPS-activated Wayspot where users can localize.

  • VPS Localization Targets are real-world features that users target with their device to localize. Currently, Localization Targets correspond to VPS-activated Wayspots. In the future, the VPS Coverage API may also support other real world locations beyond Wayspots.

  • Wayspot Anchors enable content to be “anchored” at a particular VPS-activated location with a consistent, stable pose that persists across AR sessions and users. The VPS Wayspot Anchor API tracks the user’s position and returns corrected Wayspot Anchor pose information.

  • The Geospatial Browser (Beta) allows you to search and find VPS-activated Wayspots across the globe. You can select the Wayspots you want to use for your project and download the associated 3D mesh assets.

  • Private Scans are private VPS locations in your surrounding area to test with using the Niantic Wayfarer App.

  • The VPS Remote Authoring example is the quickest way to make a build using multiple Location Manifests and consuming them at runtime.

  • The Virtual Studio allows you to see your code run in your application without having to build it to your phone first.

  • The VPS Coverage API which lets you discover VPS-activated Wayspots near a real-world location.

  • The VPS Wayspot Anchors API for localizing with VPS-activated Wayspots and creating and managing virtual anchors associated with a VPS-activated Wayspot. Two interfaces are provided: a straight-forward “high-level” API for creating and managing Wayspot Anchors, and a flexible, “low-level” API that you can use if you need more granular control.

Niantic also provides the following to help you develop your VPS-enabled AR experience:

  • The Niantic Wayfarer App allows you to capture and submit scans at real-world locations to improve the coverage of Lightship VPS. You can also use the app to create Private VPS Locations for your own rapid testing and development. Finally, the Wayfarer App can be used to test localization at VPS-activated Wayspots and Private VPS Locations.

  • A VPS developer portal on that lets you visualize VPS-activated wayspots and manage Private VPS Locations.

Lightship VPS APIs make requests to the VPS backend, which needs to receive user information such as user location and an ID unique to the user using your app to make the requests. To facilitate this, ARDK provides a User ID data element that’s automatically used in Lightship VPS requests. This User ID is considered private user data, and your app will need to provide privacy policies and guidance for handling private user data, as described in Using ARDK User IDs.

Next Steps