In the fall of 2006, a strange design mysteriously appeared amongst the rows of crops in a farmer’s field. And this time, there was some serious product placement.
The large Firefox logo appeared in a farmer’s oat field outside of Amity, Oregon. But far from being a mysterious extraterrestrial communication, the design was carefully planned and executed by a group of Oregon State University students.
Two Mozilla video interns came up with the idea. Supported by the enthusiasm of fellow Mozilla staff members, things really started to take shape when the idea was presented to members of the Oregon State Linux Users Group (OSLUG). A local farmer offered up his field as the “canvas” for the creation, and the stage was set.
The crop circle was planned in less than two weeks with careful application of geometry in the development of their design map. The team designed and printed large posters that had a two color version of the logo. They then bisected the image into 32 sections and overlaid 60 concentric circles with even space between them. In the mock up, the gap between the circles was two feet. They then constructed “stompers” using 2x4's and rope. These stompers would be used to flatten the oats into the designated pattern using the large design map as a guide.
Completed in under 24 hours, the crop circle had a diameter of 220 feet. First, the Firefox globe was created by connecting a taut measuring tape to the end of a stake and walking around in a 220ft circle. And then, based on the gird created on the design map, they slowly started filling in the design one section at a time.
“This was standard lingo we developed to quickly report our progress to the rest of the team. For example ‘from 2 to 4 from 74 to 86’ means we were about to stomp an area from ray number 2 to ray number 4 (somewhat analogous to going from 2 o'clock to 4 o'clock) with a depth from 74 feet from the center to 86 feet from the center. With two teams of stompers, each with a walkie talkie and smaller version of the map, we reported our progress to our map team located outside the circle where they recorded all the work by highlighting it on their copy of the map. The map team then knew what needed work and what had been finished even when the stomping teams couldn't see each other.”
With a team consisting of 12 people, mainly OSU students, they stomped down oats from 3:30pm until 2:30am, putting on the finishing touches between 7:30am and 11:00am the next morning.
This is certainly not the first, or last, man-made crop circle. But is unique in that the group that designed it happily disclosed exactly how they planned and executed its creation. For a more detailed look on the whole process, enjoy the video below.
For additional information: Take Back the Field