Ever wanted to find out more about the area you’re in but don’t want to come across large interpretation boards every few hundred metres? Well, that time has finally come. The South Downs National Park Authority is currently trialling the latest technology to allow people with smart phones to find out more about the landscape they are visiting.
Small signs have been put up on 40 posts at 9 sites along the South Downs Way. The signs, no wider than the width of a wooden post, contain a small amount of text, a Quick Response (QR) code, which can be scanned with a smart phone and allows the user to access, websites, video and audio commentary and other information about the local area. In addition, the signs also have a tag embedded in them which enables people with smartphones with Near Field Communcation technology (NFC) to place their phone over the sign and without the bother of scanning a QR code, they can access the same information.
While this is fantastic news for people who want to find out more, it only works of course if you have a modern smart phone. One of the concerns is that those people who don’t will be excluded from this. This means that for the foreseeable future, there will still be a need for large interpretation boards at specific locations. However, as more and more people take up the new technology, over time these are likely to disappear. The exception of course is in those areas where there is no mobile reception. But for some, that might just represent heaven.