Find your Friends on Playa with the BurnerMap

Want to find your friends on playa? Yeah, well, traditionally, it’s a crapshoot at best … you head out, run around all over the place, find amazing things along the way, meet new fabulous people to tickle your fancy (and whatever else), end up riding on a flame-throwing gazelle for a while, and … wait … where were we going again? Is that the sun coming up? Where are my pants?

While you can’t beat the serendipitous nature of trying to accomplish a goal (pffft) in Black Rock City, there is a solution if you actually want to find your friends out there. At least it’ll help aim you in the right direction, anyway (the rest is up to you … good luck with that).

The BurnerMap in Action

An intrepid Burner named Morgasm joined up with a few friends to create the BurnerMap. You can add your playa address to the map, and (the particularly nifty thing is that) only your Facebook friends can see where you are, so your privacy is maintained within the Facebook framework. (Don’t like Facebook? We understand. But still, suck it up … this is cool.)

And of course, in true Burner fashion, a “long-time Burner” is waging an awesome and vehement condemnation of such a flagrant trampling of our God-given right to spontaneity and serendipity!!! Arrrrrgh!!! To which we say: Damn straight! Unpack the pitchforks, Martha, grab the gasoline and the lighter (the wand-style one, in the drawer next to the stove … I think that one still has some fuel in it. No? Crap.) and let’s burn that damn thing!

Or, y’know, print it out and use it, if that’s how you wanna roll.

Note to my friends: if you show up at my camp pantsless on a flame-throwing gazelle, you’d better be packin’ whiskey.

About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase first attended Burning Man 2001. He volunteered as the Operations Manager for the ARTery (Black Rock City’s art headquarters) and was on the Burning Man Art Council from 2003-2008. He was Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004-2009, then transitioned to the Communications Department in 2009 to become Minister of Propaganda, working on global communications strategy. He's the editor-in-chief for the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter and the Voices of Burning Man blog, and content manager for Burning Man’s websites. He also manages the ePlaya BBS and Burning Man’s social networking efforts.

80 thoughts on “Find your Friends on Playa with the BurnerMap

  • Note: This is for non theme campers: Obviously, with preassinged camping, this app would be helpful; for all others – here is my rant (I reflect and grow BUT everyone must keep the lie going – see my MANTRA in this thread, please?):

    I could give a crap about this app because, lotsa luck actually camping where you think you’re going to camp! If you’ve never been, or you’ve been and got lonely for your lost friends (boo-hoo!) you’re delusional and if you think think this app is going to help, here’s a check in for ya – be prepared, once you get spanked by the welcomers, ALL your plans will go “poof”..the absolute value of BM is the unexpected – and the test that your soul will go through when all your plans and hard work have to be readjusted when you enter the CITY – welcome home:) Why not use the old people’s version – go to Center Camp and register. I remember, (Me: sucking on oxygen because I’m so old) when there were no computers at BM- Like that works anyway -HA! Once your friends hit the desert, although they PROMISE they’ll register, shiny objects destract them, and magically, day after day, they just can’t make it to Center Camp to register, then guess what, you have to make new friends…awww – what a shame! OR…What a blessing…

    Get all excited if you want – nothing EVER works out at BM like you planned – isn’t that why we go? Knock yourself out with your plotting and planning…Let us know how it works out for you – anyone interested in tracking that data? Red for where I thought, Blue for where I ended up – I’d look at an ad-laden website to see those results – just an idea:)- Note -FREEBIE TO VC’s – we miss you at BM! Camps were bigger and brighter with .com $…just my way of saying thank you in advance…

    Can we at least keep the lie going that BM is off the grid???

    MANTRA – Repeat after me: There is NO cell phone coverage and I will not be available to make/receive or check my voicemails or emails or twats or whatever? I tell my bosses that every year so I can have one place and one week without technology – if you need it SO bad, at least have the decency to cover for me, please? GRRRR….please, don’t f*** this up – it’s the only place on earth we can get away with this!

    Anyone note that the first google doodle in ’98 was ‘cuz the office was heading for BM and if the network failed, that was why? It was in TIME mag last week for christ sake – grow some balls and turn off your phone…lovingly….


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  • If I didn’t make my postion clear – if the guys that made google could go away and leave their start up and handle the fact they where out of touch, and pronounce proudly to the world where they were and why they couldn’t get back to anyone – why are YOU so special that you can’t – maybe they were on to something (seemed like the world didn’t fall apart becasuse they had fun for a week, with NO CELL PHONES! Oh, and I guess their business did ok without them for that week?)
    TRY IT! You might like it…..

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  • Grrr…I made myself get all mad with the thought of someone showing me their phone and trying to tell me they’re supposed to be camping where I’m camping – or worse – showing me a print out of said map – please- nip this in the bud!!!!

    But – do show up at my camp just to say hi – I’ll give you a yummy cocktail and a snack!


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  • Go Rocket Kitten!

    We tried to be a theme camp last time to get placed but weren’t interactive enough (kegs of beer aren’t interactive?) so went through the gate at midnight and started looking. There were fierce arguments over which street name was cooler, what o’clock was better for dust storms, and how close to get to the porta potties. So we ended up somewhere, set up camp, turned it into a neighborhood with the beautiful people around us and had a blast! About the only thing one can count on finding is VW bus camp-can’t miss it! Oh, and Skinny Kitty.


    Rocket Kitten-what is your camp? I’ll show up with whiskey, if I can find the damn place.


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  • meh.

    get off your veteran soap box. let people do what makes them happy… “isnt that what burning is about… ”

    so you dont believe in the map. then dont buy into it. If it helps others get on with their day and feel better about the whole experience.. why not just let them?
    feel free to stand on the sidelines and laugh when it doesnt…

    Im with Scott.. it is what it is. everything thats awesome and underground seems to blow up into not-so-underground mainstream gotta-have-it. the event and the people have evolved. roll with it or move on and get over it.

    uh.. kisses!

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  • Only 4 Wed’s away … Until VorDaKa’s SunRise CockTail Party ( NOT a Theme Camp) 7:27 am at the base of the man where the borrowed Spider Art Car is parked. This is the 9th offering of this personal celebration of Sun rise, the Man, Virgos, Playa Crusted Charters, & the Last Day before the before the True Madness begins !?! We encourage Musician, Jugglers, Singers, Wizards, Goddess’ or other Displays of individual talents & Desires to this wonderful Sun Rise moment !!! VorDaKa will be camped @ 4:30 & Liminal providing Morning Vodka Therapy on others days. ~ din tikkun sends LOVE to ALL !!!

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