MOOP MAP LIVE: How the Map is Made

Hey there sports fans, MOOP maniacs and line sweepers! The Hun here, reporting from Gerlach where the DPW Playa Restoration team is off and running. We’re all getting excited to find out how Black Rock City did on the 2011 MOOP Map — but before the scores start coming in, let’s talk about how they’re set.

What is MOOP?

This is MOOP.

MOOP  1. (noun)
An acronym for Matter Out Of Place, meaning any thing or impact not native to the immediate environment, especially as it applies to the citizens of Black Rock City and the greater Burning Man community in regards to the founding principle of Leave No Trace.

  1. Examples: trash, bottles, cans, cigarette butts, fireworks, glow sticks, bottle caps, but can also be in the form of debris from camp fires, wood, plastic, metal, glass, and plants.
  2. Sentence: “I’m glad that everyone had a wonderful time but your camp sure did leave a whole lot of moop behind!”
  3. Moop can also be a condition not natural to the environment: burn scars, grey water, and dunes.
This oil spill is also MOOP.

The MOOP Line Sweep

The main body of the Restoration team sweeps across the city grid in a line, a tactic we call Line Sweeps. Each team member is armed with a MOOP bucket and a grabby stick for picking up trash, so they can collect MOOP without stopping. But when they arrive in a zone that has more MOOP than usual, they start to slo-o-o-o-ow down.

When it’s stop-and-go, that means the Playa Restoration team is in a Yellow Zone. But they’re still moving, until they hit a Red Spot. Red Spots and Red Zones stop the line in its tracks. Suddenly, our brave team members are on their hands and knees, digging a million tiny shards of glass out of the dirt.

Here’s what a green area looks like:

For another way to look at it, here’s a detail from last year’s MOOP Map:

MOOP and the Map

As the front line marches across the city grid, two Scribes follow behind, noting its pace. They give each block a general score, based on how fast the team is moving. Scribes also take note of any “hot spots” — piles of wood chips, burn scars and other problem areas. They take photos of these spots, and collect the GPS coordinates. Hot spots will later be cleaned up by another team, the Special Forces — but we’ll go into that later.

At the end of each day, the Line Bosses and Scribes meet with the Playa Restoration team leader. They mark a giant map of the city with green, yellow and red markers. They talk about the hot spots with Special Forces members. When it’s all complete, the data will be painstakingly transcribed to the digital map you know and love.

Speaking of that map… We’ve got the first set of results now, and we’re getting ready to release ’em. The Line Sweeps started on the back streets of the city, but soon moved up to the front streets. Did you camp on Liminal and party on Esplanade? Get ready to find out how you did, MOOP wise.

Tune in tomorrow to cheer on your neighbors and your DPW Playa Restoration team! ‘Til then, this is The Hun signing off.

About the author: The Hun

The Hun

The Hun, also known as J.H. Fearless, has been blogging for Burning Man (and many other outlets) since 2005, which is also the year she joined the BRC DPW on a whim that turned out to be a ten-year commitment. Since then she's won some awards for blogging, built her own creative business, and produced some of the Burning Blog's most popular stories and series. She co-created a grant-funded art piece, "Refoliation," in 2007, and stood next to it watching the Man burn on Monday night during a full lunar eclipse. She considers that, in many ways, to have been the symbolic end of Burning Man that was. The Hun lives in Reno with DPW Shade King, Quiet Earp. You may address her as "The Hun" or "Hun". If you call her "Honey" she reserves the right to cut you.

11 Comments on “MOOP MAP LIVE: How the Map is Made

  • lemur says:

    we always know someone is out there doing this.. it is good to see it in ‘realtime’

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  • Quiet Earp says:

    Hi. Cool video of the line sweep. It is nice to see the line immortalized on the internet. Teamwork. Line Up!!

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  • Witchy says:

    That was a great post. I’ve been working for the Man for years and did not know that was how we were graded (aka assigned our color on the MOOP map). I only knew that green was less MOOP and the color we wanted to be and RED was bad, made more work for resto, and was the color we wanted to avoid. Thank you! We focused more on MOOPING than I can ever remember at the Cafe this year, so I’m patiently (and hopefully) waiting to see if we made GREEN… :-)

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  • The Hun says:

    Thanks everybody! It’s exciting for me too, having a chance to tell this story.

    Lemur – It seems like, in years past, people didn’t know this was going on. Now people are more aware, and that’s awesome.

    Quiet Earp – LINE UP!! I’m glad you liked the video, I will make more.

    Witchy – Thank you for your work at the Cafe, and for MOOPing too! Fingers crossed you get the green you worked so hard for.

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  • John Curley says:

    Great stuff, Hun! So good to get a look at the process!

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  • Eric says:

    I would be curious to read about the treasures in the trash. Team members must stumble across the occasional diamond ring over the years.

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  • The Hun says:

    Thanks Curley! That means a lot coming from you :)

    Eric – We do find some amazing stuff! One year we found multiple antique silver dollars. Why they were out here, we’ll never know. I’m planning to do a post on what we find, probably next week.

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  • TwoHott says:

    Thanks for the feedback. I realize it is lots of work getting this information out to everyone — but its worth the effort! (Easy for me to say, huh?) Seriously, many of us do care and put effort into keeping it clean. It is a source of pride for us. We appreciate the recognition for our efforts.

    Likewise, we recognize and appreciate your efforts. Our feedback is: you all are great! Thank you, thank you, thank you all!

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  • alexis says:

    Thank you SO MUCH, Playa Restoration team! What a wonderful video, I’ve always wondered what this looked like! We did all we could to make our little camp as easy as possible for you, but thanks for all your work!

    Excited to see your future post of any misplaced treasures you found left behind, too!

    I’m curious, though, one thing that concerned us as we de-mooped before leaving, is that the wind kept blowing MOOP from other campsites onto ours. We’d pick it up and two hours later the winds would shift and we’d find a few more stray pieces, which we’d pick up. But surely after we left, the winds continue. So, is that taken into consideration?

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  • The Hun says:

    TwoHott, this is the very definition of a labor of love. We’re all enraptured by the experience of being out here, and we love what we do. I think you know exactly what I’m talking about.

    Alexis, we definitely do take that into account! First of all, your camp will still get a green even if some errant MOOP blows into it. There’s no such thing as a completely MOOP-free zone, not until we clean it anyway ;) Second, we can always tell when a certain camp has created so much MOOP that they’ve contaminated neighboring areas. One camp this year used a lot of OSB, which sent wood chips flying on the wind and littering half the next block. We’re not going to penalize the camps that received unwelcome wood chips, because it’s very clear where the mess originated.

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  • You really make it seem really easy together with your presentation however I in finding this matter
    to be actually one thing which I feel I might by no means understand.
    It sort of feels too complicated and extremely broad for me.
    I’m having a look ahead on your next put up, I will attempt to get the hold of

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