Marijuana Field Found?

[UPDATE: Another GEB commenter below, named ‘dulk’, posted a better location (coordinates: 47.629343,9.058503), and this one seems to be the real location (German site) so I’m updating the screenshot/KML.]
A lot of sites have been sharing the news of the marijuana bust in Switzerland where police used Google Earth to discover the crop. As I said earlier today, I was a little speculative because the imagery in that part of the world was dated 1997. But, I noted the imagery had changed in early 2007 and it was possible newer imagery was used prior to then and the police had investigated this initially 2 years ago.
Marijuana Field in Switzerland
However, here’s the really interesting thing: GEB reader Bart Gentile ‘dulk’ did some investigating and searched for the marijuana field. It was described by the police to be in the middle of a corn field in the Thurgau canton (state) of Switzerland. And, I think he’s found it here (as seen in screenshot above). If this is the field, it would be pretty funny if it turned out the field was being grown for at least 10 years before they got arrested.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was released. He worked in 3D graphics for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank left in 2009 to circumnavigate the earth by sailboat as part of the Tahina Expedition.



Comments

  1. I don’t think that’s a marijuana field…whatever is in the center of the plot is taller than the corn, MJ would be tall, but then people would see it from the roads that are on 3 sides.
    I think it’s a hay field that’s partially mowed. The shape in the center matches the outside boundary of the field…almost impossible to do in the middle of a field. To mow a hay field: start at the outside, go round & round till you get to the middle.

  2. I don’t think that’s it. Indeed the center here is taller than the mowed part around it, such crop patterns in partly mowed fields like this aren’t uncommon. Plus, standing there, you can look into this area from most of the hilly terrain around it, this isn’t exactly hidden. It also doesn’t match the reported size and shape of the actual marijuana field of 150×50 meters. The vegetation colors don’t quite make a case for either corn or marijuana either.

  3. Remember, the image shown in Google Earth is 1997. It’s very likely the size and shape of the field changed in the 10 years since the arrest. I’m still not certain its the field either, but the size and shape reasoning isn’t enough to eliminate it. We won’t know for sure until someone with the coordinates, or local knowledge, gives us details.

  4. Here’s another possible location just a few miles north west of the mentioned field.
    http://twurl.nl/n4jhig
    or put these coordinates in the “Fly To”: 47.629343,9.058503

  5. @dulk: That’s actually an even better candidate! It is 120×50 meters. Close to the original size, and it looks much more obviously like a “hidden” crop.

  6. Oh yes, that is *much much* more like it, I’d really put my money on that one. The number of plants (reportedly about 1600) is a very good match as well, if you count them here.

  7. I don’t think, it is very intelligent to plant marijuna next to an airfield.
    The place should be somewhere else ….

  8. smokeonit says:

    yeah ,the one dulk spotted is 115m by 50m and hte crops look like gunja…
    much more likely location… the cornfield around it is a good shield for bypassers… not as exposed as the other filed, but there’s houses close, and i don’t know if from the 1st floor it might be visible…

  9. I wonder how characteristic the colors of crops are. If there are specific characteristics it might be possible to process the google earth imagery to search worldwide for various crops including illegal ones. It might be necessary however to use the origional satelite photos before any color processing has been done.

  10. More prevention than detection – wwe can see what you are doing, so don’t. Police would be likely to use a spotter plane in a compact country like Switzerland.
    A much more likely use of GE in the dense developed and tightly regulated parts of Europe is for authorities to spot unauthorized buildings, scrap yards, and so on, whilst developers scour the landscape for sires to squeeze in housing infill.

  11. any smart farmer would have put a camouflage net over his field… this farmer was careless…
    and most marijuana farms are indoor, not outdoors…!
    in the german article referenced to in frank’s article a “friend” of the farmer said he “seen” indoor growing of plants @ the location…
    only in countries with high corruption or where marijuana is legal one can grow crops outside…

  12. SenatorLloyd says:

    I don’t think either of the locations matches the publig descriptions. As to the first, I agree that it appears to be one crop, partially harvested. As to the second (47.629343,9.058503), it better matches the physical description, but it is in Steckborn. If we can believe the report that the field was located in Thurgau, we have to exclude this site.

  13. SenatorLloyd says:

    Ok, I take it back. It was my ignorance of the political subdivisions at work. Steckborn is a municipality within Thurgau. Cite: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steckborn

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