What is an Aztec Code?
Aztec Code is a type of 2D barcode published by AIM, Inc. in 1997, and currently resides in the public domain. The Aztec Code is also published as ISO/IEC 24778:2008 standard. Aztec Codes are popular barcodes due to the fact that it uses less space than other matrix barcodes since it does not require a surrounding blank “quiet zone”.
The symbol is built on a square grid with a bulls-eye pattern at its center for locating the code. Data is encoded in concentric square rings around the bulls-eye pattern. The central bulls-eye is 9×9 or 13×13 pixels, and one row of pixels around that encodes basic coding parameters, producing a “core” of 11×11 or 15×15 squares. Data is added in “layers”, each one containing two rings of pixels, giving total sizes of 15×15, 19×19, 23×23, etc. The corners of the core include orientation marks, allowing the code to be read if rotated or reflected.
Decoding begins at the corner with three black pixels, and proceeds clockwise to the corners with two, one, and zero black pixels. The variable pixels in the central core encode the size, so it is not necessary to mark the boundary of the code with a blank “quiet zone”, although some bar code readers require one.