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Navigation QR code<

Active Navigation via QR codes

Mobile devices with GPS (Global Positioning System) capabilities and that have one or other navigation application onboard can make use of QR codes to activate as example, a route planner, for realtime navigation activation.

Like the sextant (six piece od a circle measurement) a nautical and astronimical device to determine the longitude using Greenwich time, our modern electronic devices need three components to make it work.

  • GPS receiver and processor
  • Navigation and mapping application
  • QR Code reader capable of understanding geo-encoded data

Creating navigation QR codes

QR4 provides a free QR Code Navigation Generator

Navigation QR Code Generator

There are other geolocation and routing options

For devices that do not have GPS, nor mapping capabilities, but do have a QR code reader the use of an Internet service is the best choice to show where the co-ordinates you have encoded are on the globe. It stands to reason that navigation will need to be done externally by entering your current location in the online service.

The requirements for this type of service are:

  • Available Internet connection (via any type of connection, teathered or wireless)
  • QR code reader capable of understanding a request to go to a resource on the Internet

Passive geolocation and routing

QR4 provides a free QR code Geographic Generator

Geographic QR code Generator

So now you can implement active and passive (via an external service) geo-location using QR codes.

Which type of QR geo-coding is best to use when and where?

Let me start off with: If it's printed, painted, projected or anything in the analogue world...use QR codes. If it's digital and portable DON'T!

Both types have their merritts. If you want people to know where you are, play safe and use the passive version, knowing that if that service fails or changes it's way of working, your published and printed QR codes could become totally useless. If you need to guide people to your location the navigation QR code is your best option, but will only work with mobile devices meeting the three criteria for direct navigation ability. The choice is yours. As complete measure you could consider providing both geo-location types to service as wide an audience as possible.

Maps and Navigation QR code examples

Google Map QR Code Example Navigation QR Code Example

Applications for smartphones

Require knowledge of the device as well as the ability to (preferably) develop applications in their native programming language.  Considering the technology market for mobile devices is still very young and expanding at an enormous rate, who knows what the market and types of devices. operating systems and programming languages will look like in a year from now.

At present iPhone, Android driven devices as well as RIM (Blackberry) seem to rule the smartphone market and I have yet to (unfortunately) see a Microsoft mobile device connect to any of the QR4 services. What is apparent is that iPads and tablets are moving into the same space at a very fast rate.

All of this can put a lot of burden on companies wanting to service these mobile and portable devices. But is developing, re-developing or porting them for all the current and future devices the answer to a perfect world?. I can argue in certain cases that it is a yes, but for many it is a BIG NO.

QR4 Arcade

Alternative application development

There is an alternative to native device application development and it is available on all main stream computers, tablets and smartphone devices today and others will hopefully update in the future. It is HTML5, and before you say 'oh no not another mobile unfriendly web site', you should really consider the advantages and disadvantages of developing with a device independent environment in mind.


  • Operating system independent (Compatible with all manufacturers)
  • Device independent (Make/Model/Revision)
  • Central version control (No updates/upgrades and legacy support issues)
  • Tracking and statistics in a transparent way (Including exclusion control)


  • Reliant on the ability to have Internet access

Are mobile device apps dead?

No, but many have stiff completion coming to compete with in justifying the costs of developing and the maintenance of a mobile app for all platforms, currently and in the future!

HTML5 Mobile App Example!

HTML5 Arcade Game QR code

Click on the image above if you're using a computer or tablet to link to the game. Then use the arrow keys and the 'zxc' = 'abc'

HTML5 (also became known as the potential replacement for 'flash') can do so much more than any HTML standard before. Without going into details for now, a simple example of what cross-platform, cross-browser HTML5 can do.

An arcade game known by many, presented as an Internet link that looks, behaves and feels like an application. If your smartphone's standard browser is HTML5 compatible, you will have a rich 'App' like experience. If you browser is not HTML5 compatible, I suggest downloading and installing alternative browsers as offered in the app store or update you device. As expected...for iPhone and iPad users, it just works.

iPhone HTML5 App Android HTML5 App
 HTML5 Arcade game iPhone HTML5 Arcade game Android 

Before you get the idea we game developers, let's put that thought to rest. Most of what you see has been developed by others, we use it merely to show how the HTML5 standard can be used to provide services never thought possible via HTML.

Dale Harvey is the mastermind behind the pacman code which he has kindly made available at github. On top of this the Game Core libraries of Kesiev Norimaki as provided here are used in making this all possible.

Next time you are considering making a 'mobile app' consider that there are alternatives that could save you development time and costs. As more and more browsers implement the HTML5 standard, this will become the alternative for developing rich applications and services for smart devices and computers alike.

TIP: If all you get is a black screen. It means your browser is not HTML5 compliant. Update your browser or visit your app store to see what browsers are available for your device.


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