RQ Code
A community member checks out the Quick Response code on one of 15 new signs along the Nature Trail at Engineer Lake. The signs teach residents about the area's ecosystem.

BAMBERG, Germany -- New technology has made its way to Engineer Lake, with the addition of 15 new signs along the nature trail that incorporate the use of Quick Response codes.

The signs were updated this year to better inform community members of U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg about the ecosystem that exists at Engineer Lake. The project to create new signs was coordinated by the Department of Public Works, Environmental Management Division "to enhance the quality of the nature experience," said Isabelle Fahimi, EMD.

This enhancement was achieved through QR codes added on each sign. QR codes, commonly referred to as mobile tags, have been around for over a decade in Asia, and are now making their way into advertisements, magazines, signs and other media in Europe and North America.

"It\'s simple and easy to use," said Beate Bugla, a biologist and designer of the new signs.

To use QR codes, one must first have a smart phone, and then download the appropriate software. Most of the newer model smart phones have this software preinstalled. Then the smart phone user would take a picture of the QR code on the sign, which looks like a barcode. Once the picture is taken, the user would then start the software to decode the QR code and it would bring up the relevant information.

QR codes can provide a link to digital content on the web, activate phone functions (e-mail and instant messaging), provide contact information, or connect to a web page. All the instructions to use this technology can be found on the first sign, located near the gazebo, at the start of the nature trail at Engineer Lake.

The signs' QR codes were created by Eva Daferner of MagList Online Management. They are encoded to link the user to a web page. On this web page, users will get additional pictures, information, videos and sound clips all relating to the ecosystem at Engineer Lake.

This allows users to enhance their experience immediately on the nature trail or they can take the information home and use it over again and again, said Bugla.

Once one of the QR codes has been decoded by the user's smart phone software and linked to the web page, the user can view the information for the other signs without having to take pictures of the other codes.

Additionally, they can take a picture and send the information to other phones to spread the knowledge around the community, Daferner said.

The decision to use this technology on the signs at Engineer Lake has allowed them to become timeless and versatile, Bugla said. They can change and update information daily or they can add quizzes or activities to use for learning aids, Daferner said. Also it will provide USAG Bamberg statistics on the number of people taking the time to use the nature trail and learn about the ecosystem, which cannot be obtained by having just a regular sign.

"Community members should take the time to walk along the nature trail," Fahimi said. "Utilize what they have put so much work into."

For more information on environmental management and Engineer Lake log on to: http://www.bamberg.army.mil/dpw/environment/EMS.htm.

Page last updated Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 07:56