Burning Man goes 3D

Over the last week or so, Google have pushed out a significant amount of new 3D imagery. If you don’t have it already, be sure to grab our our map of areas covered so far.

One of the most interesting new additions is Black Rock City, Nevada, location of the Burning Man festival that we covered back in August and later saw animated gifs of that Skybox Imaging created. The actual festival only lasts a couple of weeks each year and is in a slightly different location each year, with different street layouts and physical structures. The imagery was essentially out of date just days after the photography was captured. There was a lot of movement, with many cars, trucks, caravans and even light aircraft moving around. There were new structures going up, tents and other structures with moving coverings and intricate shapes. All of this causes problems for the technique used to capture the imagery, which involves imagery captured from multiple angles during several passes, that works best on solid, unmoving structures with no overhangs.

To fly to Black Rock City in Google Earth, open this KML file. Be sure to turn on the 3D buildings layer.

[Update: As pointed out by Ron in the comments, the 3D imagery is from the 2013 event.]

Black Rock City tent
One of several structures with intricate detail that Google must have put extra effort into modelling.

About Timothy Whitehead

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.


  1. The city that I see via that KML file has no quarter hour roads in the outer rings of the city. I think those were introduced in 2012 (give or take a year), so the imagery seems to be from 2011 or possibly 2010. The image of the Man, however, is from 2013.

    • Timothy Whitehead says:

      Thank you for pointing that out. The 3D is of the 2013 event as can be seen if you look through the historical imagery. It is interesting how many installations are actually nearly the same from year to year.

    • The entire thing is from 2013. I found my camp easily. The roads are off a little from what GE has so you have to use it without roads to not confuse yourself.

      • Yes – this is all 2013, probably mid-week because my camp was about 90% complete. I found several of my friend’s campsites too – all from the same year. Pretty amazing accuracy. Any idea if 2014 is going to be rendered?

      • jiminy@jiminy.com says:

        Strange rendering…I can see my RV in detail, but our massive 200′ frontage stages and structures are completely absent.

  2. If I remember 2013 correctly, our camp looks like Saturday morning before gates opened, based on the progress of construction.. Hope they update it with later burns!

Leave a Reply