American Society of Civil Engineers

Using Augmented Reality to See the Future


Leading up to the launch of Future World Vision (FWV), a bold mission by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to modernize the civil engineering profession, ASCE required a new digital hub for the program. This hub would host a downloadable augmented reality app allowing users to explore “Mega City 2070.” ASCE collaborated with AgencyQ to enhance the application's immersive quality on the website. Within the initial week post-launch, the FWV site garnered over 4,500 page views, 475 desktop app downloads, and a bounce rate below 35%.


The Challenge

Future World Vision (FWV) is a bold mission within the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) that will modernize and propel the civil engineering profession forward. The infrastructure for the cities of 50 years from now—those reimagined for population growth, climate change, the rollout of 5G, and more—is being built today. And it needs to be built differently in order to accommodate our changing physical world. ASCE and Future World Vision are driving this conversation among young engineers and students, as well as with policy makers, funders and the media.

Leading up to the launch and promotion of Future World Vision, ASCE needed to build a new digital hub for the program. Importantly, this would house the downloadable augmented reality application, created by ASCE and Experimental Design, where users can navigate the future “Mega City 2070.” The application provides blueprint-like experience and houses educational resources for engineers and other key audiences.

ASCE enlisted AgencyQ and our design partners at Urban Emu to create an immersive, compelling and modern Future World Vision site that would not only drive users to the application, but also provide enough information to users unable to download the desktop tool encouraging them to get involved in the FWV program. The website serves as a hub of multiple channels of engagement for Future World Vision, including social and paid media, and eventually will include museum exhibits and an IMAX feature film.


The Solution

The new Future World Vision site brings the immersive quality of the application forward to the website to help give users an idea what to expect from the application. Because of the size and user experience of the application, it can only run on desktop, making the mobile user experience of the website imperative to ASCE’s overall digital strategy. The darker aesthetic of Future World Vision is modern, yet using the blues and bright accents still conveys a sense of excitement for the future. We incorporated video and animation throughout the site so that users can visually see what to expect in the application, as well as inspire conversations around these future physical environments.

The site is built as a headless Drupal platform, with a custom REACT front-end. The headless model helps future-proof the platform for ASCE and will enable growth of content and cross-channel engagement in coming years. REACT provided us the flexibility to create a stunning, responsive and accessible front-end user experience that users can access quickly from anywhere. We used a component-based design strategy so that multiple components could be repurposed throughout the site as content expands. It enables content editors to create new pages without technical assistance.


The Results

To mark the launch of Future World Vision and the “Mega City 2070” world, ASCE hosted a live virtual kickoff event which attracted engineers and students from all over the world. Within the first week following launch, the FWV site received more than 4,500 page views, 475 downloads of the desktop application, with a bounce rate of less than 35%. The entire Future World Vision site was designed, built and launched in three and half months in order to meet the Board’s aggressive promotion timeline.

We will continue to update this case study as the Future World Vision program expands, and more data becomes available. The site will continue to expand in coming years for other “Future Worlds” including Floating City, Rural City, Frozen City and Off-Planet City.