QR Code Tour

Hayden Island: A Virtual Tour
This proposal creates a “virtual tour” around Hayden Island. It uses QR codes, which can be created at little or no cost, to guide visitors around the island. Here’s a proposal (www.hayden-island.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Hayden-Island-Virtual-Tour.pdf) and the draft implementation (below).

Visitors at each signpost will be automatically redirected to the HiNoon (neighborhood association) website. Web-based multi-media, keyed to each of the 20-30 locations around the island will then be displayed on the user’s phone. Both (passive) QR codes and (active) Bluetooth beacons are used to send the url to a phone for presentations. The goal is to enhance the appreciation of Portland’s only island neighborhood.

Hayden Island is a destination spot and will become more so in the future. Many visitors stay at one of the three large hotels, attending events at the Expo Center or Delta Park, while others come to boat or fish. Island visitors may increase when the Vancouver Waterfront development, just across the Interstate Bridge, opens in 2018.

This proposal ties residents and visitors together in a shared experience. The “virtual tour” guides people to the attractions, history, and nature. Some 30 unique locations are matched to 30 web pages using QR codes. In addition to passive QR codes, active Bluetooth Beacon are used to send notifications to phones. Beacons make linking to the content effortless.

Red hearts have become iconic…and make a good marker for different attractions on the island. QR codes have enabled many communities to create “virtual tours” at little or no cost. An active Bluetooth beacon is also hidden inside the heart. Below the heart (or on it) is the QR code which points to a webpage. A few lines of text explains the attraction and how to view the tour.

Click here for full screen

Small heart boxes would be distributed around the island at interesting spots. Inside is the Bluetooth Beacon. The Virtual Tour sign has the QR code for scanning.

When the Eastside Streetcar line opened in 2012, I created a QR code tour for each stop. It directed users to a page on my Streetcar Website, which featured vintage music, text and photos for each stop. Royalty-free music is available at Jamendo, Archive.org and Kevin MacLeod in a broad range of moods.

This tour could be designed similarly. WordPress.com provides free hosting.

1. Columbia River (history)
2. Interstate Bridge (history)
3. Sternwheeler (history)

Stern Wheelers

4. Red Lion (commercial)
5. Oxford Suites (commercial)
6. Menjiro Restaurant (commercial)
7. Columbia Crossing Marina (commercial)
8. Where the Tomahawk was found (history)
9. Lotus Isle Park (nature)
10. McCuddy’s Island Cafe (commercial)
11. Tomahawk Bay Restaurant (commercial)
12. Tomahawk Bay Marina (commercial)
13. Sexton’s Chandlery (commercial)
14. Yacht Harbor (commercial)
15. Ricky Point (nature)
16. Island Cove Floating Homes (commercial)
17. Fire Station #17 with boats (history)
18. North Portland Harbor (history)
20. JBMI Moorage (commercial)
21. Jantzen Beach Mall (commercial)
22. Manufactured Home Park (commercial)
23. Gazebo on Columbia River (nature)
24. Vancouver Waterfront (nature)
25. Trailroad Bridge (history)
26. Vancouver Amtrak (commercial)
27. Port of Vancouver (commercial)
28. Native Americans (history)
29. West Hayden Island (nature)
30. Gay Hayden’s house (history)
31. Birds and Wildlife (nature)

Portland’s TriMet boarding platforms have installed several hundred Bluvision beacons. They provide real-time transit information automatically, including schedules and alerts to riders’ smart phones.

SMIITY (SMart Interactive cITY), connects app-using tourists with local history, events and attraction.

Some 10,000 people shop at the Jantzen Beach Mall every day. Next year Vancouver’s Waterfront Park will open with 400 new hotel rooms, new office space and residential condominiums.

It will inevitably bring additional visitors to Hayden Island and increase traffic and congestion.

The island’s neighborhood association, led by Jeff Geisler, has been a unifying force on the island, representing some 20 different HOAs. But increased visitors and traffic, homelessness, lottery business, growth, and other factors could strain the unified community.

About 2,500 full-time residents live on the island, which is roughly divided equally into two sections. East side residents live in higher end condominiums with close proximity to moorages and yacht clubs. A similar number of people live on the West side in the manufactured home community as well as an RV park and two floating home moorages.

The island’s hotels are frequently full with visitors in the summer, attracted by the Expo Center, Delta Park, Salmon fishing, or Stern wheeler rides up the Columbia.

We want to celebrate the island’s history, nature, business, and its people. This proposal would highlight some of the most interesting aspects of the island, using the people, the land, and the water as themes.

Our hope is that through this QR code “virtual tour”, we can cause people to better appreciate the island and inspire everyone to work together for a better future, through mutual respect and shared experience, celebrating our diversity.

The creation of this virtual tour is dead simple. Half the work is already done. Dedicated webpages have already been completed with embedded video, pictures and text – such as geologic history (www.hayden-island.com/geologic-history) or my Hayden Island VR tour (https://kuula.co/post/7fy4S).

A “Virtual Tour” section in the HiNoon website would be the repository of the 30 new pages, each with a unique URL. It would also drive traffic to the neighborhood association web site. Free QR code software (http://www.qr-code-generator.com) lets anyone print a QR code for each webpage.

Nothing new has to be invented. No special expertise. No expense. QR codes can also be useful for translation.

The main reason for applying for the Portland Bureau of Transportation Grant is to give us access to mount small QR signs on lamp poles on city streets. We’ll ask for about $4,500 for a community party and rollout, perhaps on Valentine’s Day.

One innovative element is the Bluetooth beacon. They are cheap (under $20 each), easy to setup, and run continuously, maintenance free, for 1-2 years on a couple of AA batteries. All Bluetooth beacons do is “broadcast” the supplied URL every few seconds – like a lighthouse – to any nearby phone.

Beacons are useful because many phones may not have (free) QR Code software installed. Beacons don’t need special software in the phone. They send a “notification” and the url to your phone. As you walk near the Beacon, you see the notification. Click on the message’s embedded url and you are taken to the web page. Notifications disappear when the user walks away. Beacons work with both iPhone and Android. We support both.

Manchester, England explains how their tour works. WordPress as pretty good templates for “responsive design” that automatically reformats for mobile and tablet. No downloadable app required. Maryland National Road has a great WordPress design for both desktop and phone.

Broadcasting of Bluetooth URLs and advertisements occur on three different channels on the 2.4 GHz (WiFi) band, sequentially, 37, 38 and 39. However, Wi-Fi has significantly higher output power, up to 23 dBm compared to maximum allowed 10 dBm for Bluetooth low energy. This means that placing a beacon very close to a Wi-Fi source will probably distort the transmitted data as spurious emissions on side channels of the Wi-Fi unit will almost always occur on a non-ideal RF product.

We would magnetically attach the beacons about 12 feet high on lamp posts along the main streets.

The phone’s data connection makes the link to the web app page. No internet connection necessary. No WiFi. No signage.

Two Class 1 Bluetooth Beacons ($99) may reach across the Columbia River to the Vancouver Waterfront if a small (12db) directional antenna were added. Bluetooth 4 ultra long range beacons with a +20 dBm (Max) transmit power going through an attached 6 dbi antenna will boost the Bluetooth 4 range from the typical 50m to 300m. A 12db directional antenna should take the Beacon signal across the Columbia to Waterfront Vancouver.

A solar powered USB battery pack could power such a dongle indefinitely. No internet connection necessary. The Beacon simply re-directs the receiving phone to our Facebook page.

For every 6 dBi in gain, you double the range of the antenna, so by replacing the 6db omni antenna with an 18 db directional antenna the 300m (1200 ft) maximum range should go to 600m (2400 ft) at 12db and 1200m (almost 1 mile) with an 18 db antenna. When (Long Range) Bluetooth 5 becomes common in phones, the range should quadruple. That means range may extend from 2 – 3 miles.

A Bluetooth 5 beacon might be received by a BT5 phone around the Vancouver boat launch by the Vancouver shipyards, which is 3 miles upriver.

With a maximum output power of 20dBm and an 18db gain of the yagi (minus 2 db losses), we’re at the edge of the maximum 36dbi limit of the 2.4 GHz band. An ordinary Bluetooth 4.0 Beacon should capture phone users a mile away with a small external antenna — that’s virtually everyone along the Vancouver Waterfront. We could send them to a Twitter account or a Facebook page for engagement, then link them to the rest of the virtual Hayden Island Tour. Bingo. That’s 20,000 eyeballs.

Bluetooth 5.0 adds 4X the range with the same power but is currently only available in a few phones. Bluetooth 5.0 is intriguing but not required for this proposal.

Could we create a mobile app? Yes. But then you’d need to download it to your phone. It has to be developed, approved by the app stores, then downloaded to the phone. Why bother? Useful for a GPS-driven stern wheeler trip, however.

One of the main goals of the Hayden Island Virtual Tour is to drive traffic to the Hi-Noon website and enable the 501(c)3 to generate self-sustaining revenue.

Hi-Noon is unlikely to require any maintenance budget for this Virtual Tour. There’s nothing to break. The QR code costs essentially nothing to print and the linked webpages require NO special expertise and won’t be changed often.

All we really need is 30-40 Bluetooth Beacons, craft supplies, and a Mariachi band for the party. Figure about $4000 for everything.

Many communities have created Virtual Tours. They cost almost nothing. Print signs with a QR code. They link to your webpage. Done.

Making 30 linked webpages on WordPress.com will cost virtually nothing.

What are the benefits?

A Virtual Tour can bring history to life. Showcase past and present leaders. Enrich communications. Appreciate the environment. Celebrate diversity and unite neighbors.

The goal is to better appreciate our shared environment and heritage so we can work together for a better future for all.


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Sam Churchill (503) 740.9209
12451 North Westshore Dr
Hayden Island
Hayden Island Virtual Tour

You can try it out (below).

Point your phone at the QR code sign on this screen. You may need to download a free QR code reader (any kind should work) for iPhone or Android, then it should take you to the website for that stop. Otherwise, you can just click on the sign and it will take you to the page. The QR code eliminates typing in the URL.

Hayden Island Virtual Tour:

Stop #1: Interstate Bridge

Stop #2: Sternwheelers

Stop #3: Geologic History

Stop #4: Jantzen Beach Amusement Park

Stop #5: Fireboats

Stop #6: Fishing

Stop #7: Floating Homes

Stop #8: Lotus Isle Park

Stop #9: Fort Vancouver

Stop #10: West Hayden Island