Playa Compass



    Playa Compass's review

    Published: 2013-11-18, by Ana Gracia.

    If you visit Black Rock City, be sure to use this compass to guide yourself around

    • Useful if you're there
    • Not for everyone

    "In Black Rock City"

    Playa Compass is an application of a virtual map that allows users to guide themselves in Black Rock City.

    This app is supposed to help you find everything and know how many feet you are from anything you want to visit. However, the app isn't really useful for everyone. If you're not there, the app will present a demo screen with a rotating disk pointing the north, what's the point?

    HopperCodes is the developer of Playa Compass, a curious app, a tool for exploration of Black Rock City, where the Burning Man Event is set.

    Anna Appszoom logo

    by Anna , Appszoom

    Nov 18, 2013


    Black Rock City, the site of The Burning Man Festival, can be a confusing place. The Playa Compass is a virtual map and compass to guide you. Playa Compass 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. In August of each year, the "Golden Spike" is set, determining where the Man will be constructed. Playa Compass will be updated at that time to initialize with the Man's location. When you are not located at BRC, Playa Compass operates in a Demo mode, with your starting location marking 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 lower text block shows your present location, either as distance from man and angle in degrees, or in city address coordinates of named circular arc streets and corresponding 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 Playa Compass, 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.

    Playa Compass 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!

    Users review

    from 2 reviews