Bar codes on sidewalks

Bar codes on sidewalks

Rio’s New Sidewalk Bar Codes

The city of Rio de Janeiro has put in place a new idea to provide tourist information in select areas of the city. The city will mix tradition and technology by embedding QR codes into the famous mosaic sidewalks around the town’s beaches and historic sites.

The first few barcodes were installed on Friday at Arpoador,

The QR codes or two-dimensional bar codes, are made from the same black and white stones that are used to make the mosaic sidewalks around the city. The mosaics commonly feature abstract art, fish, waves or animals.

The sidewalk codes will work just like QR codes found in magazines or other advertising images.

DigitalJournal gives an example of how the codes work:

To give an example, certain codes tell tourists that Arpoador’s 500-meter (1,640.42-foot) “Praia do Diabo,” (Devil’s Beach) has a tendency to accumulate large waves, thus making them popular for surfing. They even give an explanation for the meaning, Arpoador, which means “harpoon thrower,” in English. It actually gets the name from fishermen who, long ago, “harpooned whales off the shore.”

Yahoo News reports, the city plans to install 30 of these QR codes at beaches, vistas, and historic sites, so Rio’s approximately 2 million foreign visitors can learn about the city as they walk around.

“If you add the number of Brazilian tourists, this tool has a great potential to be useful,” said Marcos Correa Bento, head of the city’s conservation and public works.

Tourists can take a picture of the code with a tablet or smartphone. Using a downloaded app, visitors will automatically shown a website that will provide them with a map of the local area and tidbits of information about the area. The website will be available in English, Portuguese or Spanish.

Raul Oliveira Neto, a 24-year-old visitor from the Southern Brazilian city Tells Yahoo the new sidewalk bar codes are a good fit for how people live now.

“We use so much technology to pass information, this makes sense,” he said, noting he’d seen QR codes on tourist sites in Portugal, where they were first used for this purpose. “It’s the way we do things nowadays.”

Locals are also in favor of the new sidewalk bar codes.

“Look, there’s a little map; it even shows you where we are,” said Diego Fortunato, 25, as he pulled up information.

“Rio doesn’t always have information for those who don’t know the city,” he said. “It’s something the city needs, that it’s been lacking.”