If you have done any hiking in the Phoenix area recently, you may have noticed some new signage along your favorite trails. The new trail stickers are popping up along some of the most popular routes in South Mountain, the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, Reach 11, Camelback Mountain and the Deem Hills Area (just to name a few). The new stickers are replacing the old with 3M highway grade reflective stickers. But the real beauty in these are all the tidbits of information they packed in to such a small space. Using a combination of graphics and QR codes these new trail signs are bringing real time technology to the trails.
The new trail signs are packed full of features, some of which are visible in plain sight. Working from the top to the bottom the data points are listed below.
The QR Code portion of the new trail signs are really what inspired this post. The potential for the use of these by both users and the City of Phoenix is quite impressive. As a user you can scan the code with your device and that will bring you to a page with the following information.
I mentioned earlier about the potential for this system, but I neglected to mention it's shortcomings. The one I am specifically referring to is the lack of cell phone signal. If you are out of range, or do not have enough signal strength the QR Code is virtually useless. The city recognizes this and is exploring options to counter the issue. One idea being tossed around is to have a City of Phoenix app that stores all the maps, and trail data offline. This would resolve the issue of not having signal and still be providing the city with useful data to improve the trail system. As a regular trail user I am excited to see what becomes of the system and how the trail experience is affected.
For more information on Phoenix Trails please go to the City of Phoenix Trail Website.