Tuesday, April 09, 2013

QR Codes

This QR code should link to
http://www.atlasquest.com
Do you know what this is? It's called a QR code. I don't actually know much about them, except that it's a 2-D barcode that can be stuffed with all sorts of information. And I've started seeing them around more and more often. In magazines, newspapers, and even in shop windows walking around town. One AQ member, Speedquare, even has one as her profile photo. A pretty orange thing. =)

My Costco flyer that arrived in the mail this afternoon had one, which, apparently, if I can scan to be connected to Costco Services experts.

Except that I don't have anything to scan it with. I don't even have a cell phone much less a smart phone that can scan this stuff. I suppose I could take a photo of it with my camera and find somewhere online that could decode the message--presumably, it's a URL. But it's not worth the effort. I just don't care enough about Costco Services experts to bother. =)

But I'm still fascinated by these little things. And on my walk this afternoon, an idea hit me--maybe I can use them on Atlas Quest! Have them printed out with clues then, anyone who can scan them, could be taken directly to the "record find" page on AQ. No messing with searching for the box online, or keeping track of the box ID. Scan and go directly to the page to record your find.

Nobody has ever asked for this feature.... it just strikes me as immensely interesting. I wasn't even sure if I could implement this feature. How are these QR codes created? Are they patented or something? I didn't know!

So I did a bit of research, found some code online that can programmatically create QR codes, and started messing around with them a bit. Fun times! =)

And I added QR codes to clues. For instance, take my Los Osos Oaks clue. If you scan the QR code, it'll take you to the page to record a find for that series. If necessary, you'll be redirected to log into Atlas Quest before you can record your find. (Obviously, it's tough to record your find properly if we don't know who you are!)

It's also possible to print these codes and tape them into your letterboxes. Perhaps more people will record the find if you're into that thing? Or perhaps they'll just ignore it. Who knows? =) You could even leave a QR code to points to the main page of AQ if you want to make it easy for muggles who find your box to learn more about letterboxing. (The QR code at the top of this post does just that. Or at least it's supposed to--like I said before, I can't actually scan these things!)

Anyhow, it seemed like a fun thing to add. What do the rest of you think, though?

22 comments:

lou p otter said...

How about on that says, "This is NOT a GEOCACHE, this is a LETTERBOX. DO NOT TAKE the STAMP"?

Teresa said...

I'd rather have one that took me to the clue page in case I'm having difficulties (was the clue updated? are there any comments from other finders?). From there I could then easily log the find.

The group that maintains Connecticut's 'blue-blazed' trail system, CFPA, has started putting the codes at a few traihead kiosks. I saw the first one last year on the New England Trail. That was the very first time I actually ever wanted to scan in one of those codes. When you scanned it, you got a map of the park on your phone. In my own town I've added them in trail kiosks that take people to a page of local trail events.

tiggermama said...

there are at least two clues on AQ that use these. One is in Ontario, the other is in CA. both are really clever.
One of them leads to a stamp that is a QR. hmm. . .

Zoma said...

It might be fun to somehow work QR codes into clues for a mystery box. My brain is starting to percolate on this one, but I will need more coffee to come up with a more concrete idea! Neat feature, thanks for adding it!

Amy Marr said...

There's another clue in MA that is one... I think it's a great idea!

I would totally use the AQ QR code on my boxes!

Anonymous said...

For as long as I have had that in my profile, very few have indicated any interest, mostly questions on how to create the QR code.

I wonder how many will check it out now and uncover a secret message?

Anonymous said...

i think this is a great idea!

the pink dragon

Elizabeth Shoemaker said...

It might get confused with Munzees, the barcode geocache game that has recently begun. Granted Munzees are GPS coordinated so the paths might never cross, but there still could be some impact.

Aiphid said...

You can always use one of the online barcode readers, like http://www.onlinebarcodereader.com to try them out (no affiliation).

Don't forget your mini atlas!

Morgan Niles said...

I have a series I planted based on popular videos that have gone viral. Each box I planted had a stamp of the main thing in the video. Within the box is a QR code that takes you to the video that the stamp is based off of.
QR codes are useful for those with the "smart" technology. It's quiet easy to use.
I even have an LTC that has a QR code on the back that takes you to another video.

=(^._.^)=

Anonymous said...

At an event I went to a LBer had posted a QR code and you had to scan it to get the clue for the box. It was FUN and she was very clever to do this.

Airstream Dreams

Jaxx said...

I don't own a smart phone either, so this would be of no interest to me.

Jaxx

Dawnmarie said...

I saw this on a clue today, and it is neat and convenient.

We posted a QR code at an event, and in addition to it being something a bit different, it was a fun ice breaker because people who did not have smart phones had to mingle until they found someone who did. 8^)

Dawnmarie said...

Haha, lou p otter, I would "Like" your comment if this was Facebook.

Denise Vajdak said...

Very cool! I love QR codes and have used them for various things. I even created a "scavenger hunt" around the house for my son's last birthday to help him locate the gift. He had a blast doing it.

I hope this will get more people to log their finds online.

Anonymous said...

Frankly I'm tired of people complaining about those who choose not to log and I feel this is catering to them. Somehow I've managed to log finds all these years without the code. People who don't log finds are not going to do so just because of this. If people don't WANT to log their finds this is not going to make them do so.

Kristin aka Trekkie Gal said...

No smart phone here either, so I just say "Meh."

Rabid Quilter from CA said...

We found a box with a QR code about 3 years ago in Oregon. It's been a great idea for quite a while. . .

Anonymous said...

Great idea! Thanks Green Tortuga!

Bungalow Boxer said...

I've been fascinated by QR Codes for a while now. I have a QR Code reader on my phone, and I've toyed around with QR code generators online.

Can't wait to use this feature!

Kathi said...

Just used it to record a status check on one of my boxes...pretty slick!

--klk/fw

Chester said...

This is fantastic!