MapCodes: maps for an internet of things

A few months ago, I started exploring a simple idea around keyrings. This turned into material explorations using laser cutting and wood and finally perspex.

The perspex version I built looked a lot more abstract, a little 1920s jewellery, but later it occured to me that what I had designed, through a material exploration was really a digital map recognition system I’ve called Mapcodes.

The idea is simple: why can’t we use maps to link to maps? An abstract, blocky shape, is easy to recognise with the right software as AR projects have shown, but the marker (qr codes, fiducials, etc) often isn’t human-readable or bares little relationship to the content. Mapcodes would present a simplified map which, if you know the area, you could recognise, but more importantly, your mobile device could identify and point to the digital map for that area, the tfl route, whatever. The gap between the representation and the digital tools is bridged.

Interested in helping me develop a prototype? Get in touch darn it!:)

By designswarm

Blogging since 2005.


  1. Cool idea and really digging the black perspex version.

    It would be a nice feature to have a browser extension where you can drag a creator tool (or a elliptical marquee tool in the Photoshop world) over Google maps and then right click to create the code.

    Also, would you have any standardizing marks on them besides the codes being in a circle format?

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