PlayaCompass 2016.0

Black Rock City, the site of Burning Man, can be a confusing place. PlayaCompass is a virtual map and compass to guide you.

PlayaCompass understands the layout of Black Rock City and shows you where you are on the pentagon, helps you find your way back to where you left your bike, and helps you navigate back to camp when the dust kicks up on the Playa.

Unlike your GPS, Playa Compass knows your Playa Address - how many feet you are from the Man, and at what angle or clock hour. When you are in the city proper, where camps are established, Playa Compass displays the street address of your current location. You can use Playa Compass to navigate to specific Playa Addresses, and to mark locations that you would like to return to.

Playa Compass does not require access to the Internet to function. The only permission required is your position. Each year, the "Golden Spike" moves, determining where the Man will be constructed. When you start PlayaCompass outside of BRC, it will guide you home again, showing you how many feet to go to get to the Man! Be sure your GPS is turned on- some devices require this as a separate action.

"Wander" is the starting mode of operation.

The display shows a rotating disk with a red triangle that always points North, with the disc centered about the Man in Pentagon of fencing that encloses BRC. Your location is shown as an expanding green dot.

The bottom shows your location, as distance from man at angle given @ degrees, or streets @ clock hours.Tap on the block to switch from degrees to clock hours.

The upper text block, if tapped, advances to the next Mode. When in Wander mode, a tap marks your current location as a place to backtrack to... use this to mark where you left your bike! You have just entered "Backtrack Mode".

"Backtrack" mode follows "Wander"

In "Backtrack" mode, you have tagged a place you want to return to. Wander around, and when you are done, return to the backtrack location by following the arrow on the compass disc. The green end of the arrow is where you are coming from, corresponding to the green expanding dot that shows your present location. The Blue Tip of the arrow points in the direction of where you are returning to, and the blue expanding dot on the compass display is where you are going. When you get within about 20 feet of your destination, the arrow disappears, and a wandering eye shows up, telling you to start looking around! When you next tap the upper text block, you will leave Backtrack mode and enter "Adjust Destination" mode.

"Adjust Destination" mode is used enter a Playa Address for navigation.

Use "Adjust Destination" mode to specify a Playa Address (Distance @ Angle) that you wish to navigate to. The lower text block allows you to adjust the step size (1, 10, 100 and 1000). The triangles allow the target destination to be adjusted upward and downward. When the target destination is specified, tap the upper text block. Feel free to just tap through in order to get back to wander mode if you don't want to navigate to a specific address by immediately tapping on the upper text block.

Navigate is the final mode of PlayaCompass, use it to guide you to a specified BRC address.

Once the "Adjust Destination" text block has been tapped, you will enter into Navigate Mode, where you are directed to the Playa address that was specified. The blue green arrow that you saw in backtrack mode is now taking you to your destination. If you are not actually Navigating somewhere, just tap through to return to Wander mode.

PlayaCompass is an Open Source Application written in Processing; source can be found at

This App is a gift of a bit of software we hope you will find handy. It is not a guidebook, but rather a tool for exploration, brought to you by your friends at HopperCodes. Enjoy your Burn!

This App is not officially produced or endorsed by the Burning Man organization.
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What's New

Playa Compass Version 2015.0
Man Lat 40.7864, Lon -119.2065
Carnival of Mirrors!
From your friends at Camp Aesop, BLD -
Da, PocoJoe, Hopper
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Additional Information

July 8, 2015
Current Version
Requires Android
2.3.3 and up
Content Rating
Offered By
145 North Sierra Vista Drive Tucson AZ 85719
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