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November 17, 2019

Scan it and They Will Come

Corn maze uses technology to enhance the experience.

There are several ways to access the Lacombe Corn Maze website: Type kraayfamilyfarm.com into your browser, Google it or board a helicopter with a smart phone and scan the seven-acre QR code below.

Every year, Rachel Kraay, her husband and his parents think of a different design for the Lacombe Corn Maze. This year, it’s the wold’s largest QR code, a Quick Response matrix used by smart phones to access information.

They just received confirmation from the Guinness Book of World Records in September after months of work. “They require a lot of evidence,” says Kraay, “and we needed to be able to scan the code with a smart phone from the air.”

To accomplish this, the family tried to scan the code by helicopter with no luck. Undeterred, they cultivated the pathways, thinking a higher contrast between the dark soil and the light corn would be easier to scan. They were right – the second time they flew over, it worked.

The decision to create a QR code was easy since the technology already resembles a maze, but the Kraays can’t take all the credit for the finished product.

Just as you’d hire an architect for a building, there are international corn maze companies that specialize in figuring dimensions and designs, making a maze both logistically sound and visually appealing. The Lacombe farm’s architect, the MAiZE, has designed over 2,000 corn mazes across the globe, including four in Alberta such as the Edmonton Corn Maze, co-owned by Rachel’s brother-in-law, Jesse Kraay.

Jesse transfers the MAiZE’s coordinates onto the corn using spray paint and flags, cutting the crop when it’s just six inches tall. It’s a difficult and lengthy process, taking several weeks.

And, while it could be made easier with GPS technology, Rachel says both groups are “old fashioned” that way. The giant QR code begs to differ.

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