3 Useful Ways To Use QR codes With an Interactive Map

Most of our digital marketing readers probably rolled their eyes when they read this subject line. I know I usually roll my eyes when I hear people talk about how amazing QR codes are. In fact you can check out this recent article I wrote on .eduGuru slamming the use of QR codes for many reasons. So now that we are all on the same page, let me tell you about a couple of interesting and compelling uses for QR codes related to interactive mapping.

One important distinction to make before we talk about any of these ideas is to keep in mind that QR codes must link to content optimized for a mobile device. You can’t really scan a QR code with your desktop or laptop computer, can you? So before we talk about these, just remember that your interactive map must be optimized for a mobile experience.

Add a QR Code to the Physical Map

If you have a map of campus then you must have physical print versions of this map floating around. If you don’t have print versions then the .pdf version that people download off your website could also include a QR code to the mobile interactive map. This is one of those low hanging fruit type ideas. If someone has or needs a printed map the most obvious reason is because they plan on physically visiting the location. Why not allow them to take this experience to the next level with the details from your online virtual interactive map experience? In many ways it allows you to offer an unmanned tour of campus that people can take at their leisure.

QR Codes for Interactive Map Promotion

There are lots of different places where we might want to promote the existence of a mobile optimized interactive map to our audience. Adding the QR code to the map illustration as we mentioned above is nice, but how about all the other places that you want to promote your interactive map? Besides the printed map how about some of the following ideas:

  • Signage – Do you have a large map signage on the entrance to your campus? Why not put a QR code to the mobile map on it?
  • Physical Mailings – This is a great way to tease your audience to come visit campus. It could be used for admission, alumni, or donors.
  • School Publications – Does your school have a quarterly prospective student or alumni magazine? Why not have a page with an ad about visiting your campus and teasing it just like we recommended with mailings above.

Place QR Codes on the Locations of Your Map

This last idea is all about the details. Imagine if you are walking up to a building on campus and want to learn more about it. What if there was a QR code on the sign out front or next to the front door that you could scan, and it would open up this specific location with the details from the interactive map? We are talking about a specific user story, but we now can cater to someone who is interested in a specific location instead of the campus in general. As long as you have the ability to deep-link directly to the specific stop on a map this is easily accomplished.

For nuCloud customers this is a feature in the works now and will be released in the next few weeks.  For visitors we allow them to pick up a tour right from the location they currently are visiting and offer them a full self-guided tour that leverages technology as their tour guide. Pretty cool!


QR codes are definitely not the next great thing, but they do provide creative markers with a new tool to add to their tool belt. The real challenge is finding ways that QR codes can add value and a compelling enough reason for user to install a QR reader on their phone. This last point is especially important because only about 5% of the population has a QR reader installed on their phone.

Just to be as effective as possible I would still recommend you have a bit.ly or some other shortened URL right below the QR code for those mobile visitors that don’t care enough to install additional software.  After all, with all things being considered it will be easier for most users to simply type in a URL instead of scanning a QR code.

Photo Credit: Mobile Map URL by radiofreegeorgy

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