burning man 2012 :: hexayurt density map


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Firstly a huge massive thank you to GeoEye for being super cool and providing me with the full high-res image to do the count this year.

I believe the image below isn’t currently available anywhere else (full size/original image is scaled to 55% as to accommodate flickr’s 50mb image upload cap – if anyone wants the full 150mb image drop me a message via here)

:: click the image to embiggen ::


GeoEyeβ€˜s annual high resolution picture of Burning Man from the sky, taken on Friday 31st August 2012.
Image: Β© GeoEye – GeoEye Satellite Image

Pls credit @thejaymo for the eyeball time πŸ˜‰

A VERY conservative count :: 739 hexayurts

Note: I counted this map twice and took the lower count.

As far as i can see there were 739 hexayurt shaped structures (with the familiar 3point shine/shade/shadow on the roof) on the playa this year. There are quite a few smaller rectangular shaped structures that are next to / or near hexayurt encampments which may be H2 or H4’s. These were not included in the count as i was uncomfortable making the call, as they may be just shiny tents.


I used the 30pt star stamp tool and marked each structure on the map in a new layer on the image.
Unlike last year, where i went around the camp in concentric circles.
this year i split the camp into the 16 quadrants of the camp and worked the count from the centre outwards in each one.

After that i did go round the camp in concentric circles to make sure i hadn’t missed any on the previous passes.

((Also for those that are wondering how i counted the yurts directly under the clouds, i overlayed a resized transparency of the image taken on the 30th (this is the image that is available on the geoeye website)unfortunately due to it being taken from a slightly different direction than this image, things don’t line up *exactly* and i had to keep moving it around by a few pixels or more to make sure everything lined up in whatever section i was looking at. so i removed that transparency in image above))


739 hexayurts!!?? Wo0t this is way more than last year, and considering the official population of Black Rock city this year was 1578 people lower this year than last year – which if you do the maths is a 54% increase (by population) on last year.

I feel this is a big win for the project – and quite likely the biggest single deployment of open hardware to date?

I’m not sure how many more hexayurts are going to make it onto the playa next year. Of course i’m hopeful for more! But reports from friends and peeps in the hexayurt google group said it was impossible to get hold of the bidirectional filament tape for construction ANYWHERE in the country – this suggests that Burning Man 2012 exhausted the supply chain with ~750 yurts…

Yurts this year were colored, i saw some pink and purple ones!!

Lastly: Considering it was only 9 years ago that the first hexayurt was built on the playa and the only real investment that has ever been made in the project has been a web domain. i think EVERYONE that has ever built, designed, or contributed their time in anyway to the hexayurt project should feel tremendously proud.

Other Thoughts

Apart from seeing a few tri and quad domes, i *think* i might have seen a hexaplex which has never been built before, it looks like the same material – i included it in the count both times – but in my mind it’s definitely in dispute. so i’m mentioning it.

Lots of more words written in the sand this year. <3 that

There are more than one group of people standing in a heart shape – did they know the satellite was passing over?

On the the bottom right of the camp, there is a huge red arrow.

Informal tracks, walkways, and roundabouts that run through and across the camps that break with and stand out from the geometry/layout of the camp, but can only be seen on close observation of the camp.

Maybe someone who reads this could maybe fly a homemade drone and get a HUGE detailed image next year?

i *STILL* want to go to burning man :C

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  1. […] according to Jay Springett there were 739 Hexayurts at Burning Man 2012! Share this: Pin ItMoreEmailShare on TumblrDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to […]

  2. […] according to Jay Springett there were 739 Hexayurts at Burning Man […]

  3. hdaemon avatar

    Definitely a very conservative estimate. In the Boston Hive alone (the cluster of four stars just to the 6 o’clock side of 2:30 and esplanade), there were probably around 10-12 hexayurts, and just four made it into your count. Admittedly, that part of the city is kind of shrouded in dust in the photo, making accurate counting much harder, and we have an odd assemblage of non-standard yurts.

  4. […] The design spread. By 2012, we had test units up in Haiti and Sri Lanka, and more than 750 units at Burning Man. Burning Man has about 50,000 residents, so we are close to 5% of burners in hexayurts. Everybody has seen it, everybody knows the familiar shape, the steely hexagon shining in the hard desert sun. […]

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