Page 5 of 8 FirstFirst 12345678 LastLast
Results 61 to 75 of 112

Thread: QR Codes on the Trail

  1. #61
    Senior Member miehoff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Earth
    Posts
    323

    The only way that I will like them.

    If someone hand carves them with a chisel, I will be impressed.
    Miehoff

  2. #62
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Bedford, MA; Avatar: eggs anyone?
    Posts
    10,680
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rankin View Post
    But that URL can point to an enormous amount of information...
    But only if you can access the information. Not everyone will have the capability or it may not work for a variety of reasons.

    Doug

  3. #63
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    3,671
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rankin View Post
    But that URL can point to an enormous amount of information...
    Bingo! We have a winner, ladies and gentlemen.

    It's not the bar code which contains the useful information, it's the potentiality (gotta love that word, thank you Dr. Chopra) of the information linked to a URL which in turn points to information stored on a server. It's possible for the smartphone to now have maps and other info downloaded to it within a few seconds, which could then supplement other information the hiker/walker might already have.

    Is this a good thing? Is it practically feasible? Well, is the bar code itself vulnerable? Perhaps not if it the code is laser-etched into a steel sign, much like the signs you sometimes find in the National Parks and a few National Forests (signs leading to Horse Camp on Mt Shasta come immediately to mind).

    In any case - at this point I'll reserve judgement on it. At first blush was reaction was similar to Walker's, but the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I've become. This approach may not prove practical in the National Forest setting, but we can be certain that using these specialized bar codes is an excellent pathway for providing information quickly in a host of settings.

    (My evil twin also enjoys watching so many getting their shorts REALLY bunched up...)

  4. #64
    Senior Member Brambor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Windham, ME
    Posts
    1,048
    Nice target for pranks to substitute a with a funny qr code.
    Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.

  5. #65
    Senior Member psmart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Chocorua, NH
    Posts
    554
    Here's an application of QR codes on urban trails:

    http://sierraclub.typepad.com/greenl...s-raleigh.html


  6. #66
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Bedford, MA; Avatar: eggs anyone?
    Posts
    10,680
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rankin
    But that URL can point to an enormous amount of information...
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rooney View Post
    Bingo! We have a winner, ladies and gentlemen.
    Only if everyone can access that information with high reliability.
    * Not everyone owns (or carries) expensive smart phones.
    * Expensive smart phones are generally not weather resistant.
    * Many trail locations do not have adequate cellphone signals.

    QR codes are the equivalent of signs that only be read by a fraction of the hikers...

    Doug

  7. #67
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    3,671
    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    Only if everyone can access that information with high reliability.
    * Not everyone owns (or carries) expensive smart phones.
    * Expensive smart phones are generally not weather resistant.
    * Many trail locations do not have adequate cellphone signals.

    QR codes are the equivalent of signs that only be read by a fraction of the hikers...

    Doug
    I did a quick google on "what percentage of people have smartphones" and found this article citing Pew entitled "Smartphone Adoption and Usage". It says, in part "In its first standalone measure of smartphone ownership, the Pew Internet Project finds that one third of American adults – 35% – own smartphones. The Project’s May survey found that 83% of US adults have a cell phone of some kind, and that 42% of them own a smartphone. That translates into 35% of all adults."

    So, if the 35% figure is accurate, we don't know how representative that is of the hiker community. If it is representative, that's still much potentiality (there's that word again).

    Are they expensive? I'd argue that point - a few months ago I upgraded from a cell phone to a smartphone via Costco. My smartphone is a Droid - Samsung Stratosphere to be exact. Not the top of the line, but not shabby either. The cost to me for the phone itself was $30 - rather modest. I did have to buy a data plan, and I now pay $40/month extra for my combined service. My monthly bill is now about $80, and I'll let others decide whether that is expensive. What I get for is a rather powerful, small computer that delivers email, my calendar, text messaging, bar code scanning (free app, BTW) and a whole host of other useful utilities. Oh, and occasionally I make/receive a phone call. But mostly, it's my smallest computer. So, count me in with those 35%, and rapidly growing, smartphone users.

    As for cell service - there are a few pockets in the Whites where there is no cell service at a trailhead, but they get fewer every year.

    As for a smartphone's weather-resistance - you're reaching for straws, Doug! Those of us who carry a cell or smartphone now already have worked out a reasonable method of protecting it from the elements. I doubt flashing it a barcode at the trailhead is going to create an undue risk to its longevity.

    I say all of this with the caveat contained in my first post - I'll still wait on this particular usage of technology before I make a decision as to whether it enhances or detracts. What is clear to me is that smartphone usage will continue to rise, and my crystal ball says that fewer and fewer basic cell phones will be purchased. That may cause screams from the Luddites of "Say it ain't so!" but that would be like pushing the river.
    Last edited by Kevin Rooney; 03-22-2012 at 07:20 AM.

  8. #68
    Senior Member Tom Rankin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Tillson, New York Avatar: Dress for success!
    Posts
    6,564
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rooney View Post
    That translates into 35% of all adults."

    So, if the 35% figure is accurate, we don't know how representative that is of the hiker community. If it is representative, that's still much potentiality (there's that word again).
    I'd bet it's higher. I've contended that hiking is an endeavor that requires a higher than average income.
    Tom Rankin
    Volunteer Balsam Lake Mountain
    Past President Catskill 3500 Club
    CEO

  9. #69
    Senior Member marnof's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    S. Connecticut
    Posts
    235
    So this percentile of hikers with smartphones (that have carriers in the vicinity of the QR-coded sign) are pretty likely to have access to apps or other web-based info already, making the QR link even less useful. Most smartphone users I know are pretty keen on getting apps that cover their hobbies and interests.

  10. #70
    Senior Member spencer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Maine Avatar: We could use some snow around here
    Posts
    1,488
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rooney View Post
    the Pew Internet Project finds that one third of American adults – 35% – own smartphones.
    Perhaps irrelevant, but I would wager that 35% is pretty close to the percentage of hikers in the WMNF at any given time during the warm months that actually have, and know how to use, a map and compass.

    Doug - your arguments are most always quite sound and logical, but I don't think your points are valid this time. An increasing number of people (and already a critical mass) have smartphones, QR codes can link to unlimited amounts of information, and there is cell coverage at an already large, and growing, number of locations where these would be best deployed in the Whites.

    For some interesting insight into the mind of a budding engineer/designer, check out the original post on Backpacking Light that started this debate. While I personally still think the application of QR in the backcountry is kind of lame and may seem like an infringement on some people's reasons for being in the woods, I can definitely see the merit in the overall idea. It seems well suited to places like short nature trails around tourist centers (e.g., Highland Center). I can see a great application for arboretums, botanical gardens, etc. I wish this guy luck!
    Last edited by spencer; 03-22-2012 at 07:38 AM.

  11. #71
    Senior Member Red Oak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    floodplains of south central.
    Posts
    416
    Quote Originally Posted by miehoff View Post
    If someone hand carves them with a chisel, I will be impressed.
    Reminds me of the person or persons who carved "Jah rastarfari",all over the whites about a year ago,funny stuff. Who needs a smart phone when you can have a smart chisel?But we should not encourage a earthfirst type of anti-tech. vandalism on signs in the whites.
    Last edited by Red Oak; 03-22-2012 at 07:23 AM.
    ne67/n.e.h.h.31/100w

  12. #72
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Bedford, MA; Avatar: eggs anyone?
    Posts
    10,680
    Quote Originally Posted by spencer View Post
    Doug - your arguments are most always quite sound and logical, but I don't think your points are valid this time. An increasing number of people (and already a critical mass) have smartphones, QR codes can link to unlimited amounts of information, and there is cell coverage at an already large, and growing, number of locations where these would be best deployed in the Whites.
    I think there is an issue of differing unstated assumptions from different posters...

    Navigation can be a life-or-death issue in backcountry travel and IMO removing signs and replacing then with QR codes is dangerous because it will deny vital information to some users. On the other hand, I have no fundamental problem* with adding QR codes to existing signs as long as the basic navigational info is human-readable without a QR code reader.

    * I oppose their use in the woods for additional info on esthetic and philosophical grounds, but not safety.

    A rather obvious parallel example: a zoo would put a "Dangerous" sign on lion's cage, not a QR code stating the same... (But they might add a QR code to the "Dangerous" sign to tell you more about lions.)

    Psmart's post shows an appropriate application: additional (or duplicate) info added to human-readable signs in an urban area (good cellphone signal area).

    Doug

  13. #73
    Senior Member spencer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Maine Avatar: We could use some snow around here
    Posts
    1,488
    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    Navigation can be a life-or-death issue in backcountry travel and IMO removing signs and replacing then with QR codes is dangerous because it will deny vital information to some users. On the other hand, I have no fundamental problem* with adding QR codes to existing signs as long as the basic navigational info is human-readable without a QR code reader.
    I totally agree with that. Unless I missed it, I don't think anyone has suggested replacing critical trail info (e.g., distance, arrows, names) with QR codes. If you go look at the pictures of examples that started this debate you'll see the QRs are in addition to the usual info.

  14. #74
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    5,586
    I am sure nobody suggested replacement of typical signage with QR codes, only to supplement existing information. Note that (already) a Wilderness designation requires a reduced information level, like no distances on the trail signs, and presumably this would preclude QR codes.

    As a supplementary form of information, they have a lot to offer with a very minimal footprint.

    - data in more than one language
    - trails / trail maps / distances / suggested hikes
    - general announcements
    - weather/weather warnings
    - closures, hazards, obstacles
    - educational links (LNT, 10 essentials, etc.)
    - more timely / near real-time information
    - instant access to information for the unprepared hiker

    Yes, they can be damaged, but have some redundancy / error correction built in.
    Yes, there is an aesthetic objection by some.

    While I have no proof or sources to cite, I would bet more than 35% of the WMNF visitors have smart phones. I often feel like the only one who does not have a smart phone (and I plan to get one when my current plan expires.) Many visitors (not all) are younger, Boston-area residents, who don't even have land lines.

    I know from running vftt.org that the mobile users are not to be discounted - there are plenty of them reading this on a smart phone.

    I'd be entirely in favor of a trial at some popular trail heads. Unfortunately, without an observer/recorder, it would be hard (impossible?) to know how many people change their minds (and leave), and what number of those would have come a SAR statistic.

    I probably wouldn't even notice a QR code since I don't even really look at trail signs any more - been there enough to know exactly where I am going.




    Tim
    Last edited by bikehikeskifish; 03-22-2012 at 01:22 PM.
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  15. #75
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Rockburn, Quebec, Canada living in an old (1830) one room school house just north of the NYS border on the last escarpment of the Dacks.
    Posts
    283
    Fascinating discussion. Thank you all.

    I'll need to see QR codes in action before I can make a decision, however, this thread informs my ability to come to a decision.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •