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Welcome to Burning Man Earth

Mapping the Cultural Genome

Burning Man Earth is an ongoing effort to make Black Rock City more accessible to all, and to create a complete and enduring digital record. The project is an interrelated set of systems which encompass mapping, communications, imagery, and other data. With it, you might search for the time and location of on-playa events, connect with other participants on or off playa, view current or historical imagery, or virtually fly through Black Rock City in 3D, plus much more.

Additionally, these systems are developed through the collaboration of a global group of volunteers using open source software and programming techniques, and primarily for open use. In addition to serving as a resource at the event, each year will be documented in a multi-layered composite, as if “preserved in amber.” This will enable Burners to revisit the playa digitally, and non-participants from around the world to glimpse our ephemeral city.

In the style of Burning Man, BME is participatory and interactive. We encourage attendees to register and share in the many features, and also to help build our virtual archive: BManEarth : Signup. We also encourage interested developers, programmers, modelers and artists to contact us to participate in our development efforts.


Each year, we produce a high-resolution aerial photo of Black Rock City near its peak, as well as a series to document its rebirth and dissolution. Gigapan technology allows us to produce deeply immersive views of the event. In addition, we have developed our own on-playa adaptation of OpenView interactive panoramas. Read how your geo-tagged photos can be placed through Flickr into our listing of art installations and events. Linked photo submissions can also be used to create 3D dioramas using Photosynth.


Annually, we develop an interactive and location-aware city map comprised of city infrastructure, art and camp locations, which has both search and browse functions. Descriptions and images can be accessed by clicking on a map object, or a map location displayed from a listing. The BME API provides external access to the underlying database, for use in OpenStreetMap, GPS maps, and any other project imagined by the community. Many additional capabilities will continue to be developed from the cross-linking of authorized information. Mutant Vehicles, emergency vehicles, and public transport may opt to show their moving position and past route on the map using APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System) and other technologies.


In development for the 2010 event, is an app for iPhone/iPod Touch, to be later followed by other handheld devices. Along with it we have plans for an alternative to internet connectivity with a wifi local area network (WLAN). The ability to locate oneself in the city is best achieved through the portable and location-aware iPhone. However, most other features will be available on other wifi capable devices, and possibly PlayaInfo stations. The app will access maps, search for or browse events, locations, people, media, etc., as well as inter-playa short text messages or tweets. This enables information access in a truly connected and interactive way. This is also a good tool for creating and adding location specific photos to our visual record.

Virtual Playa

A 3D virtual representation of Black Rock City. Fly over or zoom through your favorite theme camp, zip out to the Man or deep-playa art installations. You may browse the virtual playa, however full operation in the 3D environment requires installation of the Google Earth application on a modern computer with a fast processor and sufficient RAM.

Burning Man event participants are encouraged to populate this virtual city just as we do the real world of BRC. Send us a small Sketchup model of your site, or images and data. Learn more about modeling your camp or installation.

Please send questions, comments or suggestions to bmanearth (at) burningman (dot) com.

Thank you for participating in Burning Man Earth ... the playa, year round! End of page