Lake­way trail signs let you use a smart­phone to find your way.

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By Mar­ques G. Harper mharper@states­man.com

LAKE­WAY — While on the Cany­on­lands trails in Lake­way, Mayor Dave DeOme came across a man who was lost and be­gin­ning to worry.

DeOme helped the man find his way, and later the mayor asked the city’s parks and recre­ation di­rec­tor, Andra Dear­ing, to give the city’s trail signs a mod­ern­day over­haul.

Twenty-five metal signs in­spired by the city’s logo have re­placed wooden di­rec­tional point­ers fixed to trees in the Cany­on­lands. The new signs, which are mounted on cedar posts, are equipped with a 21st cen­tury touch as well: QR codes, which al­low peo­ple to ac­cess maps us­ing a smart­phone’s QR code reader. Trail QR codes are pop­ping up around the coun­try as a way to keep hik­ers, bik­ers and walk­ers on course.

“The trails them­selves are a spaghetti bowl,” Dear­ing said on a re­cent af­ter­noon on the Cany­on­lands trails, which are near the Rough Hol­low and High­land sub­di­vi­sions.

“There was a need for bet­ter sig­nage,” DeOme said. “They’re a great ad­di­tion to the trail sys­tem. I just hope that it makes for a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence for peo­ple — that they feel com­forted and they know their way around.”

To pay for the sign project, Dear­ing turned to the Lake­way Civic Corp., an or­ga­ni­za­tion that pre­dates the city’s in­cor­po­ra­tion and is set up to give money to projects through a trust fund. The group gave $10,000 to cover the cost of the project, which in­cluded new map kiosks and the 25 trail signs.

While the signs were be­ing made by Lake­way-based Stokes Sign Co., Dear­ing asked if QR codes could be added.

As Lake­way ex­pands with new sub­di­vi­sions, city of­fi­cials have been adding walking trails in new sec­tions of the city as well as fig­ur­ing out ways to tie to­gether newer and older parts of the city through trails. Dear­ing said other trail signs in Lake­way will be out­fit­ted with QR codes in the fu­ture.

New trails will be added to the city in 2013, in­clud­ing an ex­ten­sion of the me­dian trail on Lake­way Boule­vard.

As the city’s trails are vis­ited by more peo­ple, the new signs will be use­ful, es­pe­cially to Lake­way new­com­ers, Dear­ing said.

“We hope they will be help­ful,” she said. “We’ve had a cou­ple of peo­ple al­ready say they used them and they like them.” Con­tact Mar­ques G. Harper at 445-3974.

Parks and Recre­ation Di­rec­tor Andra Dear­ing stands near a new trail sign with a QR code that, when scanned with a smart­phone, dis­plays a map of the trail. LAURA SKELDING / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

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