In a new video, the San Francisco-based photographer and vlogger Shalaco follows the surveyors and builders who plan the city’s distinctive half-moon street grid.
Everything starts with a quasi-magical-sounding element called the “Golden Spike,” which is hammered into the ground by the construction crew. That single point forms the basis for surveyors and workers who will lay out the radial grids of alleys that dictate where camps will be located.
A total of 21 surveyors live and sleep under the stars in a small, central camp that is always the very first structure of the city, encircling The Golden Spike, called the “Octagon” for its eight wooden walls. Then, over the course of the next week, they will lay down a 5.62-square-mile plan, drawing all the linear streets, the concentric circular streets, and the plots for the hundreds of camps that will be enjoyed by more than 65,000 visitors. As the surveyors complete their work, the rest of the 250-strong construction team begins the labor of laying down posts, fences, porta-potties, and other structures, like the Center Cafe or the Burning Man Commissary tent.
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