QR Basics

 Q-What? What are QR codes?

QR Code

Have you noticed these weird spotty square images showing up in Olathe? They are called QR codes (for Quick Response) and you are going to start seeing a lot more of them.

These codes, also known as two dimensional (2D) bar codes, came from Japan where they have been used to quickly scan parts in automobile factories. They are called 2D because they can be scanned either side to side or top to bottom. Normal bar codes can only be scanned side to side.

They quickly became popular when people realized they could be used to create a hardlink, a link from the physical world to the internet. They spread to Europe and are just now starting to appear in the United States.

Smart phones can read these bar codes with specialized software (apps) installed on the phone. You take a picture of the code with your cell phone camera, and the QR code software interprets the website and uses the phone’s network to take you to the internet address hidden in the code. This process is also known as mobile tagging.

Mobile Tagging Process

Through the use of QR codes, Olathe hopes to overcome the typical constraints that exist within a bureaucracy and allow our citizens and tourists to interact with local government like never before.


The major smartphone carriers all have barcode readers available through their application stores ("there's an app for that").  There are also several free mobile QR Code readers available.