Spatial -

July 2012: Appeal filed for recent BLM-issued Burning Man permit - details here

June 2012: Burning Man 2012 EA finalized by BLM - details here

Spatial-Ed's observations and analysis of impacts for Burning Man 2012 - Burning Thoughts 2012

Home Projects

The old adage that ‘those who do not do, teach” certainly does not apply to Spatial-Ed.

When not chained to the computer, we are out in the field collecting data for inventory and monitoring projects.  Here is a sampling of projects we have been involved in and the suite of tools we have used to accomplish project goals.

Burning Thoughts 2012 PDF Print E-mail

Spatial-Ed's observations and analysis of the Burning Man event and impacts to desert


Black Rock DesertThe challenge is not one of how to prevent any human-induced change, but rather one of deciding how much change will be allowed to occur, where, and the actions needed to control it.  

- Stankey, 1985 

Click on the below links to download the entire document
Burning Man 2012 PDF Print E-mail

BLM Documents

2012 Final EA - 16.6 MB PDF file

2012 Stipulations - 7 MB PDF file

2012 Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) - 3.5 MB PDF file

2012 Record of Decision (ROD) - 11.8 MB PDF file

2012 Interested Parties Letter - 70 KB PDF file

Spatial-Ed's Comments & Concerns for Burning Man events 2011 and forward

Burning Thoughts 2012

Stipulation Monitoring Reports for Burning Man 2006-08

BM08 (9.47 MB)

BM07 (5.61 MB)

BM06 Poster (1.5 MB)

The NEPA process is designed to fulfill the federal mandate to review all proposed actions on the public lands and meet the BLM mission which is to balance the public's enjoyment of the public lands while protecting the natural resources.

Click on these links to learn more about NEPA and the BLM mission

Communicating Route Data with GeoPDF (2007) PDF Print E-mail

There are a number of technologies to choose from for the delivery of maps and spatial data. The 'best tool for the job' depends on the audience, the data, and the project goal.  There is no one right choice.  As technology progresses, even today's best choice  might soon be surpassed by newer options and toys.

Be sure to view the Project History

TerraGo Technologies GeoPDF

This is a widely adopted format for many purposes.  For example, most of the USGS topology maps have been converted to the format.  BLM's internal document management system also incorporated GeoPDF.  This biggest advantage of this format is that GeoPDF maps are opened for viewing by Adobe PDF Reader.  Most have this Adobe Reader on their computer. No special software is needed to view these maps.  To create routes and comments, a small but free GeoPDF toolbar is needed.  

While the route data is not of insignificant size itself, the reference layers were very large.  The inclusion of topology and other large background maps make downloading the maps formidable via slower Internet connections.  Primarily for this reason, Google mapping tools were chosen for the distribution of map data to the public.

The original GeoPDF project description and files remain posted here for your reference.

An interactive map to communicate route location proposals and facilitate & race permitting processes

The Race Route GeoPDF map allowed for the exchange of race data and comments directly via an interactive map containing not only documented, approved routes but reference data essential to race organizers and BLM staff alike. 


Distributing Visitor Information with GeoBOOK (2007) Print E-mail

An interactive map to communicate visitor information via a Sanborn GEOBOOK

Sanborn's GeoBook is an interactive map format, which allow users not only to pan, zoom and measure items on the map, but behind each map locations tables of data canbe associated and analyzed. Also available are images, word documents, spreadsheets and Internet accessible updates as provided by the CD author. 

The GeoBook will display any files for which the users computer has the supporting software.


The Black Rock country is primitive, vast and remote -- a good place to “know before you go.” You can do that with a free CD, the Black Rock NCA eBook. It is loaded with information using a variety of media including interactive maps, videos and photos. You’ll also learn safety and survival tips, and find out the locations and services available in gateway communities.

Mapping & Photo-Inventorying the Lund Forest (2005) PDF Print E-mail

Integrating RICOH GPS cameras, Trimble GPS devices & ESRI ArcGIS

Over 200 petrified tree stumps were inventoried with geo-tagged photos and Trimble GPS units.  Monitoring will continue to record ongoing trespass and document damage in the Lund Petrified Forest in Northern Nevada.


Fossil forests with petrified trees still standing or lying in place are rare.  This project describes mapping support offered by BLM to assist Paleobotanist Diane Erwin and her UC Berkeley team to inventory over 200 petrified tree stumps and monitor damage within the Lund Petrified Forest in northern Nevada.  The project aims to develop a plan to preserve the trees for research and recreation by developing means to minimize the effects of freeze/thaw weathering, uprooting of stumps from the overgrowth of vegetation, and unauthorized collecting

Chosen Tools & Their Benefits
ArcGIS, Trimble GPS and GPS-enabled photos were used to locate and photo document over 200 petrified tree stumps.

Developing an Integrated Suite of Tools Print E-mail

Real-time event monitoring with GPS-cameras, Trimble mapping & ESRI ArcGIS

This stipulation monitoring project for the Burning Man 2008 features the development of an integrated suite of geospatial tools for real-time monitoring of permit stipulations in this unreal (or is it surreal?) environment.

Special Recreation Permit process (SRP) and documents for Burning Man 



The Burning Man event was first held on the Black Rock Desert in 1990 and has continued since annually. The combination art festival, social event, and experiment in community living starts the Monday before Labor Day and lasts 8 days. Since 1990, the event participation has increased from a few hundred participants to over 50,000 participants in 2010.  Permit fees paid to BLM are 7 digits.  In terms of both the number of users and fees, Burning Man is the largest permitted event on public lands for any US federal agency.  Given the nature of the event activities and the fees involved, it is not surprising that Burning Man commands much public visibility.  It is critical that BLM closely monitor and document compliance with the event permit.

Read More


Motorcycle Race Routes Report (2009) PDF Print E-mail

Route inventory & assessment data analyzed with results and recommendations for travel management planning and the managing race  special recreation permits(SRPs)

The biggest challenge in inventorying motorcycle routes is the high level of riding skill that is needed to access these areas.  The project field staff was comprised of members of the racing community whom possess decades of knowledge and experience both riding and designing courses in Northern Nevada.  Routes were GPS-captured to ensure the accuracy of recorded locations and record trail conditions, area for rehabilitation and other assessment data that could not be obtained from maps or sensed remotely by plane or satellite.

Route Inventory Report


The team drew from its combined decades of experience in course design, race riding, soil and erosion control, land management GIS in making the recommendations to facilitate the management of special recreation permits (SRP) for races.  Collected field data builds upon and enhances existing travel route data from previous efforts dating back to 2005.  This dataset also supports the next route identification and designation steps in the travel management plan.

Be sure to view the Project History

nSRMA Route Inventory Data for the Travel Management Plan (2011) PDF Print E-mail

Familiar tools make it easy for the public to view data and submit comments for the travel management plan

Also see 2012 Update to nSRMA Route Inventory and Project History



Winnemucca BLM has devoted field staff to route inventories and assessments since 2005.   To date, 3,000 miles have been located by GPS and documented with gps-photos.  Inventory areas were prioritized by popular areas for recreational use, special recreation permits (SRPs) events and former lands bills proposals.  The Nightingale Special Recreation Management Area (nSRMA) will be the first area for which route inventory data will be published electronically. 

    Facilitating Race Permits with Google Mapping Tools (2011) PDF Print E-mail

    An interactive map to communicate route location proposals and facilitate the race permitting process

    When only previous permitted route segments were to be considered for future race routes, an efficient method was needed for race organizers identify previous route segments to create new route proposals based on segments that have already passed environmental review.  The method also needed integrate with BLM's GIS sytem to compare those routes with reference background data for analysis and documentation.  The previous race routes dataset was originally created to identify general route locations and areas in the Winnemucca BLM district.  It has now been published as a KMZ file makes use of Google mapping tools.  This allows the exchange of race data and comments directly via an interactive map containing not only documented, approved routes but reference data essential to race organizers and BLM staff alike.  The electronic submission of routes for a Special Recreation Permit (SRP) is now reality.Race_Routes_2011_map


    This dataset was initiated ten years ago, to describe general route locations and identify areas by which races would be permitted rather than specific linear routes.   While those programmatic EA efforts might again be revived, the dataset has found multiple purposes throughout the years.  GIS routes allow for the overlay of administrative (i.e. legal land descriptions, surface ownership) and resource (wildlife habitats, hydrology) data layers.  When new routes were to be compromised of already permitted segments, the dataset became invaluable.  Maps were printed, marked with ink and then re-digitized back into GIS.  Google mapping tools provides solutions that integrate both recreational and professional level GIS and GPS systems.  The electronic submission of prpposed routes will allow for the efficient 2-way communication of spatial data and ease the permitting process.