Phone-friendly codes to make it easier to travel round Abu Dhabi

The QR codes on street signs give road directions, a map and historical background of the area to explain how the street was named.

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ABU DHABI // Quick response codes are the latest thing in smart technology and will make travelling around the emirate a lot easier.

QR codes are a central part of Abu Dhabi’s new addressing system.

They appear on every street signpost and every building number, providing pinpoint location information, which can be shared with family, friends and service providers. The QR codes on street signs, which look like electronic barcodes, give road directions, a map and historical background of the area to explain how the street was named.

According to the Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA), QR codes are the future of the emirate.

Omar Al Shaiba, director of property and the geographic information systems division at the DMA, said the codes were designed to help residents and visitors.

“This is smart technology to facilitate way-finding and directions,” he said. “It’s very easy to scan QR codes and quickly you can get all the information about the address and how you can reach your location,” Mr Al Shaiba said.

“You can scan the code and send it to anybody visiting.

“As the addressing system is being rolled out across the emirate, we have a clear awareness plan for residents that will be initiated later this year,” he said.

People will be educated through media such as radio, television, newspapers and brochures. The technology can be used on smartphones, such as iPhones, BlackBerrys and others that support QR code readers.

The addressing system for the emirate of Abu Dhabi was launched by the DMA last year and every home and street will have a unique address by the end of next year.

According to the DMA, about 12,000 street names will be introduced, 200,000 addresses will be simplified, 200 district names will be created and 20,000 new road and district signs will be installed.

“The future is for QR codes with smart information and technology. This is the best technology we use for our addressing system. Anywhere in the newspaper you see one, you can get details by scanning it [with your phone],” Mr Al Shaiba said.

Public services, such as road works and emergency response teams, will also be able to more accurately identify and reach locations.

“For example, if my friend in Dubai or another emirate wants to visit me in Abu Dhabi, I can just send him a scanned QR code that will narrate everything about the location, direction and map,” Mr Al Shaiba said.

He advised that people must first download a QR code reader on to their phone from an app store or a similar site. This will allow them to scan the codes and get the information they need.