From Foreign Policy
Africa catches up on IT innovation
A Ghanaian software developer is popularizing Semacode , a combination of Internet technology and shoe-leather gumption that he helped create.
Here's how it works: A black-and-white barcode is printed up and affixed to buildings, street lamps, or other landmarks. When people walk by and wonder, "Hey, what's that clock tower?" they can just whip out their camera phones and scan the barcode.
Instantly, their Internet-enabled phones tell them they're at the University of Ghana, which was founded in 1948 and has nearly 24,000 students. The idea of using cellphones to read barcodes is not original; Japan has had the technology for years. But in Africa, where streets and buildings are renamed quite often, this tool can be particularly helpful.