PlayaGPS understands the layout of Black Rock CIty, the site of Burning Man. The radial streets are named by their clock position, while the annular streets are named alphabetically, with the names changing from year to year with the event. Italianate names dominate in 2016, with the theme Da Vinci's Workshop. At the center is the Man, whose latitude and longitude serve as the reference for street addresses.
PlayaGPS translates the usual information of a GPS - latitude and longitude - into the Playa Address format, and provides a display that can be read in bright sunlight, using large, high contrast letters.
A persistent location can be marked for navigation purposes. Navigation is given as a compass heading (eg NE) and distance to location. This permits using a compass on the windscreen of your mutant vehicle for maintaining a desired bearing.
Another feature of PlayaGPS is that battery life is conserved by turning off the GPS receiver when the application is not on screen. The location being navigated toward is saved in the program, and when the program is restarted, after a brief period for the GPS receiver to resume satellite lock, navigation continues.
There is only one display screen for PlayaGPS in order to keep it as simple as possible. The first screen shot shows PlayaGPS in action - on the top, with black letters on a white background, is the current location information, and in the bottom, with white letters on a black background, is the navigation information.
The top part (black letters on white background) - the Current Position area, show:
1) In Old Italian the name of the wind in your face (people in Da Vinci's day navigated by the wind as well as by less common compasses) (Maestro-Ponente)
2) The compass heading (NNW) - with some hysteresis so it does not bounce wildly at transitions;
3) Clock Angle to Man (eg 5:45)
4) Distance to Man in Feet (eg 3664)
5) The Name of the Street (eg Donatello), or if between streets, the block that the streets bound, for area within city.
6) Teeny letters saying "Tap Gray Box to Mark Location" - if you look, there is a gray square that if tapped, logs the location into the Navigation area. The spot is small so you don't hit it unintentionally.
The bottom part (white letters on black background) - the Navigation Area - shows:
1) Bearing: Compass heading and Distance in feet to marked location. Navigate using this heading, watch as it changes to change direction of travel as you work your way around obstacles (NW 55 ft)
2) Location that is marked and being navigated to in Man Clock Angle and Man distance Feet (5:46 and 3657).
3) Month, Day, and time that location was marked (7/17 8:24)
4) Latitude and Longitude of marked location.
That is it - there is no long list of marked locations that you can scroll through and select, there is no keyboard to enter a location description. You couldn't read them in the bright sunlight and you can't type while biking!
The app is open source (github/pocojoe) and written in Processing 3.0 using the Ketai library. It is not completely stable; there is a frequent burp at start up that causes failed starts. If this happens, just hit the icon again. Sometimes 2 or 3 taps are necessary, but once running you are good to go. This seems related to the location manager trying to decide if only GPS is good enough for our purpose - the bug appears buried in the library and I am not going to chase it down. PlayaGPS buffers the location through restarts and stores the data in the protected program area, and does not need to access your SD card. The only permission is FINE LOCATION - ie, to use the GPS.
PlayaGPS authors wish you the best of burns, and hope that this simple app helps you find your friends and visit cool art in the deepest of playa with confidence. Our team, Hoppercodes, are members of Grace Hopper's Posse.
This App is not officially produced or endorsed by the Burning Man organization.