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:

  • 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.