QR Code for a Google Earth Semacode

by Jon Thompson on August 26, 2008

I am truly fascinated by this 2D barcode business, especially how it relates to location based information.  I found the perfect storm of 2D barcode and Google Earth this weekend when I came across Hello, world!.  In May 2006 two Germans mowed a 160mx160m Semacode into a wheat field outside the town of Ilmenau in the Land Thuringia.  (Ok, I could stop right there and this story would already be cool.  Did you even know there is a place called Land Thuringia!?)

They did it for typical geek reasons and then overflew the patch, snapped some pics and posted it.  Frank Taylor posted a write-up and KMZ file over at Google Earth Blog in May of last year.  I used Frank’s file to create a QR Code using the handy-dandy Kaywa QR-Code Generator and then copy and pasted the HTML code into a new placemark which I titled ‘Hello, world!’.

Unfortunately, snapping a pic with my iPhone’s NeoReader only gave me an error message as an iPhone cannot yet read KMZ.  (Snapping the actual wheatfield mow job pops up the website.)  However, with Earthscape’s new foray into the field of iPhone Apps with their newly released Earthscape Basic App we may soon be able to get stuck in some Escher-esque infinite QR Code/Google Earth loop.

Why is this all so fascinating?  We can now easily generate a QR Code for any geolocated data and with the recent release of iPhones in 21 new countries and the massive penetration of Nokias with their built in QR Code reader snapping pics of QR Codes to find out information about a location that is not available via other means (WikiMe, etc) will become more and more popular.

I realize I have not even begun to scratch the surface of what is possible with these technologies.  If anyone has information regarding these types of hacks, mash-ups, etc please comment.

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