The Rapidian Home

Downtown GR Smart Phone Tour Launched

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Underwriting support from:

Tour uses QR Codes to share content

The one-mile loop provides information, historical stories and user submitted photos at 13 locations around downtown.

Visitors are encouraged to "Scan the Tag; Take the Tour"

Visitors are encouraged to "Scan the Tag; Take the Tour"

Tour maps are available online

Tour maps are available online

Last spring, representatives from four community organizations came together to make downtown Grand Rapids more interactive.  The result? A smart phone tour of 13 downtown points of interest. The GR TagTour has been created through a collaboration between Experience Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Historical Commission, Grand Rapids Community Media Center and Grand Rapids Downtown Alliance.  The tour is a fun and interactive walking tour of downtown sites that are accessible on a smart phone using a QR code reader.

The one-mile loop provides information, historical stories and user submitted photos at 13 locations around downtown, including the Blue Bridge, Lyon Square and the Fire Bell.  

Developed by the Grand Rapids Community Media Center, the project provides a scannable barcode for  each stop along the tour, which connects visitors with a mobile website containing:

  • Facts about the location
  • A fun, audio history story related to the location
  • A gallery of visitor submitted photos
  • Link to the Downtown Grand Rapids mobile site to find places nearby
  • Link to the third party mobile check-in application "FourSquare"
  • Walking map and directions to the next stop

A tour map with the scannable codes is available on the GR Tag Tour main website, or in the Experience Grand Rapids 2011 official visitors guide. The tour map and website features original illustrations by local artist Christy Beckwith. The work was created specifically for this tour.

This spring, through a partnership with the City of Grand Rapids, signs with the tags will be posted at each stop.The codes are scannable with any QR barcode reader application installed on an Internet enabled smart phone. If a reader is not available, the mobile sites may also be accessed by entering a URL on the phone's web browser.

"The tag tour is designed to bring location and information together," said Community Media Center Executive Director Laurie Cirivello. "Creating new ways to use technology to support the work of local organizations is a core part of the media center's work."

The partnership, was formed to address multiple community objectives in one project.

"We are very excited to introduce the city's first tour of this kind in collaboration with our partners" said Experience Grand Rapids President Doug Small. "It's a wonderful representattion of how Experience Grand Rapids is embracing new technology to provide visitors with enhanced experiences".

“We are thrilled to participate in this project. It provides us with a unique opportunity to reach a larger audience and use new technology to share our podcasts and historical stories,” said Grand Rapids Historical Commission Chair Diana Barrett. “It’s also a wonderful way to preserve our history and share it with generations to come.”

“As the marketing organization for downtown Grand Rapids, we are always looking for new ways to promote the area and are happy to support the first walking ‘tag tour.’ It’s a fun way to engage visitors and encourage them to explore the central downtown area, while learning about our historical landmarks. We hope this inaugural tour leads to more of its kind,” said Downtown Alliance Executive Director Sharon Evoy.

The project partners hope to offer additional tours in the future that might include public sculpture and architecture.

For more information visit, or email [email protected].

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.