Southern Resources and Hackerspace Charlotte put technology on the map- literally. In early October, the two groups set out to paint what has since become the world’s largest permanent QR code at 100 ft per side — 10,000 sq ft in total area. This QR code just happens to be painted on the roof of Southern Resources, which makes it the first ever QR code visible on Google Maps. The groups expected the two-dimensional barcode to easily break the Guinness World Record for the largest permanent QR code, previously held by Fiera Balzano Spa in Italy at 180.94 sq ft. so they were not surprised when the call came in from London on Monday January 23, 2012. It was only about 3 weeks before that the giant code became visible on Google Maps.
Google recently announced that the Google Earth app has been downloaded 1 billion times. This code is the first and only QR code that is visible from space. The fact that you can see AND scan this code from Google Maps or Google Earth means that Southern Resources and Hackerspace Charlotte may have just discovered a new way for users to access information.
Members of Hackerspace Charlotte and Mark Clackum, President of Southern Resources, a scrap metal recycling company in Charlotte came up with the idea of creating the world’s largest QR code in February 2011. A QR code is a wonderful metaphor for efficient communication. Hackerspace Charlotte was excited to engineer and deploy the QR code, as demonstrating new technology to the community is one of their core goals. Southern Resources’ message is always Recycle Responsibly. This was a fun project for both groups to come together to garner local attention and direct it towards a local good cause. This is the second in a series of projects in which Southern Resources and Hackerspace have worked together to have fun and do good in the community.
States Max Wallace, President of Hackerspace Charlotte: “As a Hackerspace, our goal is to experiment with new technologies, while providing a space for Charlotte-area hackers to develop their own ideas and projects. The .22 acre QR code is a great way to show Charlotte that we are here, and to show the rest of the world that Charlotte is a place that gets technology.” For Clackum, the project took on a different meaning. “Every company should have a responsibility to its community. Our rule is that we focus our energy locally because everywhere is local to somewhere and if everyone does that, the whole world is taken care of,” says Clackum. In this case, they are hoping that receiving the record for the world’s largest QR code will generate buzz for a local organization called Charlotte Crime Stoppers. Charlotte Crimestoppers is not funded by the city of Charlotte like many people think and is solely funded by donations from the public.
The Charlotte Crime Stoppers motto is, ‘See Something, Say Something’ and their mission is to help provide a safe and secure community. They do this by providing an anonymous means for concerned citizens to provide information that helps law enforcement officials make an arrest or close an open case. And, in doing so, deliver cash rewards to callers whose information has led to an arrest while maintaining their anonymity. In 2011, Crime Stoppers used 1750 useful tips that helped to close 248 cases, and handed out over $57,000 in rewards.
A hackerspace is an open technology lab, where people who are interested in working on interesting projects can meet and work together. The first hackerspace opened in 1981 in Berlin, Germany. According to hackerspace, there are now more than 500 around the world, of which more than 200 are in the United States. Hackerspace Charlotte was formed in October 2010, and had its Grand Opening on December 3, 2010. Its more than 40 members are from a variety of backgrounds, including engineering, information security, corporate management, woodworking, and experimental art. The group thrives on the motto: “Do cool things with stuff.”
Southern Resources is a family owned and operated scrap metal recycler dedicated to upholding their exemplary reputation of honor, reliability, and innovation with a personal touch since 1992. Southern Resources provides recycling services for over 400 Industrial Accounts including many Fortune 500 Companies. They provide tailored consulting and recycling services to businesses throughout the United States. Southern Resources accepts and recycles any and all forms and quantities of the 33 different base metals as well as electronics. They also offer walk in services for individuals looking to recycle their scrap metal.