Saturday, May 11, 2013

How do I scan a QR code?


Blue Mosque Photo by Babak Gholizadeh
 In your travels you will encounter QR (Quick Response) codes as more and more museums, cities, parks and even UNESCO World Heritage sites are using QR codes to provide visitors with information.

While exploring Istanbul, Turkey last year I noticed many of the sites, such as the Blue Mosque, had  QR codes.  I knew these codes could be scanned, but I was unsure how to do this.

These codes, much like the barcodes used in grocery stores or by the post office, can be scanned by smartphones or tablets that have a camera feature and link you to information on a website. 

Numerous free QR scanner apps are available to download, such as QR reader for iPhone, RedLaser-Barcode Scanner, and Quick Scan QR Code Reader to name a few.

But note, if traveling internationally, unless you have access to WiFi, it can be very expensive to go online to scan QR codes.  Some museums are now providing scanners for visitors to use.

In case you do not have access to an online connect, simply photograph the QR code with your camera of your smartphone as you are taking pictures at the site the code pertains to and then when you return to your hotel or home you can read the code form the image in your smartphone.  It is a great way to keep track of what you’ve taken pictures of.

To the right  is an example of a QR code.  Scan it and see where it takes you.  You can scan it right from your computer screen.

Below are examples of QR codes used at tourist attractions.
I am not yet sure how I feel about the use of QR codes at tourist sites, what are your thoughts?