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Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami: How QR Codes Could’ve Helped


At the moment, the first tsunami has just hit Japan and what we are seeing is widespread destruction along Japan’s North Pacific coast where the tsunami hit.  The tsunami was brought about by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake that struck on March 11.  

Various news reports have described the tsunami as being powerful enough to sweep away cars, while footages show that waves are inundating farm lands that are situated far from the coast.  ABC News reports that entire towns have been submerged. 

What’s more, there is the threat of more equally damaging tsunamis striking other 53 territories and countries in the area such as the Philippines, Guam, Micronesia and the rest of the Pacific, even as far as Hawaii and Alaska.

Even without the tsunami, the 8.9 magnitude quake that struck Japan is considered one of the worst in the earthquake-prone country, and one of the strongest recorded worldwide.

QR Codes Could Help

While nobody or nothing could really predict an earthquake, tsunamis may be anticipated, thus the prevalence of tsunami warnings.  Schools, offices, government buildings and other institutions and public places could make QR codes available, posted on bulletin boards and other places that are easily accessible for everybody.  

These QR codes could provide emergency information following an earthquake and any other natural disaster.  For example, the QR codes could direct users to a government Web site that would tell them how strong the earthquake is, places to avoid, news about the earthquake and even tsunami warnings. 

Another example would be during storms and hurricanes.  With these QR codes, people could get information on which streets and highways are still passable, other threats and warnings about impending flooding, or how strong the storm is expected to be.

On other days, it could give out traffic and weather reports.  If you want to know if it is going to rain or become extremely hot in the afternoon, all you have to do is to scan these QR codes.  Got a hot date after work?  Get live traffic footage just by scanning the same QR codes.

These QR codes could be especially helpful if the event happened locally.  This way, the right information is given out and confusion may be stemmed.  Instead of relying on rumors and hearsay, which can abound after a cataclysmic event happens, people have a trusted source.  A trusted source that they can access just by scanning a QR code with their smart phones.

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One Response to Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami: How QR Codes Could’ve Helped

  1. frans hendrikx May 3, 2011, 9:25 am

    It is goog to hear that the use for qr codes is also moving towards non commercial use. Governments should seriously consider the powerfullness of the QR Code.
    Good article Thanks!

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