Object & Scene Tracking: Augmented Reality Use Cases and How-to

Camila Kohles

New: Create object tracking AR experiences using 3D models as an input method (such as CAD, glTF 2.0 and more). Get started with CAD tracking.

As augmented reality technology expands its capabilities it is important, as a developer, to be up to date with which AR features are currently available.

In this first edition of our new AR-technology series, Wikitude is presenting its main augmented reality features one by one. Starting off with Object & Scene Tracking AR.

Object & Scene Recognition and Tracking augmented reality

Object & Scene Tracking AR Use Cases

Before we start with formal introductions, here is a video containing different Object & Scene Tracking AR features being used in context.

As seen in the video, Object & Scene Tracking has a wide variety of use cases: maintenance and remote assistance, tourism, museums, gaming, consumer products, toys and more.

For this marker-based AR experience to trigger, it needs to detect a target. The target is a pre-recorded map of the object. Let’s break down the AR feature categories and talk about types of object targets that work well.

Object Tracking

This AR feature is used to recognize and track smaller arbitrary objects, superimposing digital content to produce augmented reality experiences.

Objects that can be pre-mapped as AR targets include but are not limited to:

  • Toys
  • Monuments and statues
  • Industrial objects
  • Tools
  • Household supplies

Scene Tracking

This AR feature is used to recognize and track larger structures that go beyond small-sized objects as well as area targets and machinery. Digital content can be added in the form of, annotations, videos, step-by-step instructions, links, directions, text, 3D augmentations, and more.



Structures that can be pre-mapped as AR targets include but are not limited to:

  • Factory floors and industrial sites
  • Large complex machinery
  • Large indoor spaces
  • Exhibition booths and showrooms
  • Rooms and apartments
  • Building façades
  • Museums
  • Squares, fountains, courtyards

Scene tracking enables the creation of continuous and persistent AR experiences for a scanned space or large-scale object. It identifies and tracks the features in your chosen scene/area to be accessed on a wide variety of phones, tablets, and AR smartglasses.

For optimal performance, scanned spaces should have little to no variation compared to the 3D map generated for the target. Extension or alterations of maps are possible to reflect changes in the environment (learn more).

Object Targets: how to create a 3D target map reference

In order to build Object Targets, it is necessary to create a pre-recorded map of the object that will then be used to trigger the AR experience.

The Object Target map creation workflow is simple:

  • Collect images* or 3D models of the object or scene (best practices)
  • Easily convert images into a Wikitude Object Target Collection (.wto) using Studio Editor
  • Use the .wto file in your AR app project

Once the reference map is done, developers still have the option of extending the map with images from different backgrounds and that cover additional areas of the object to increase recognition accuracy.

For detailed instructions, access the how to create Object Targets section of the Wikitude Documentation.

*Keep in mind the new and improved object mapping process (SDK 8 and up) uses images or 3D models such as CAD, glTF 2.0, and others, as source material. Previous SDK versions use video-based materials instead.

Object & Scene Tracking technology is progressively evolving to include a wider variety of real-world environments and gadgets. Going beyond objects, it is even possible to use Extended Tracking to continue viewing the AR experience when the target is no longer in sight.

Download the Wikitude SDK

To start creating your AR projects with a free Wikitude SDK trial key, create a Wikitude account and download the platform of your choice. This account also gives you access to Studio Editor, our web-based tool that allows you to generate, manage and publish your AR experiences without coding.

For commercial purposes, access our store to choose your package or contact our team to discuss which license is the best match for your AR project.

Check the articles below to review other AR features in detail:

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