Maria Del Camino, a mutant excavator mated to a 59 El Camino, with the face of Maria from Metropolis


16 Responses to “Maria Del Camino, a mutant excavator mated to a 59 El Camino, with the face of Maria from Metropolis

  1. nixiebunny says:

    GPS is not nearly as bad as that, if you spend enough money on the receiver.

    I know a guy who does autonomous robot stuff. He competed in the SparkFun make-your-robot-drive-around-our-building-by-itself contest, and won. He used a GPS unit made by Hemisphere that got to within about 6 inches of the true position.

  2. Rider says:

    Silent movie reference fail.  That would be the face of Hel the robot copy of Maria.

  3. lostinutah says:

    If a GPS is inaccurate, there’s not a lot can be done. 

    If it’s a matter of signal shift, though, one way to get around that is to go to a known point (one of the brass markers the USGS sets in stone for surveyors to use for baselines) and compare the reading on your GPS to the actual point.  It isn’t difficult math to correct for fuzzy signal, and you’ll have a way to check as long as there are brass markers to be found.

    • nixiebunny says:

      That’s called differential GPS, and is commercially available. Surveyors use it. They’d have to have borrowed one from a surveyor, with a promise to not fill its delicate guts with playa dust.

  4. Taniwha says:

    ah – I was looking and wondering at those patterns in the playa a couple of days ago (on Google maps) 

    I presume this is it:,-119.138618&spn=0.029421,0.030684&t=h&z=15

    • nixiebunny says:

      That’s a very interesting set of patterns, but (a) the Google photo in your link is from last year, and (b) it’s outside the perimeter fence, so it’s not a Burning Man creation.

      It must have been created by aliens.

  5. Bad Juju says:

    Sad for the 59 Elco that had to die for this to happen..

  6. Comfortable says:

    I guess everyone was too hip and cool to think of using a compass.

  7. SamSam says:

    Pretty cool, but it seems to me that the GPS was supposed to be a means to an end, not and end in and of itself. i.e. he didn’t set out to create some kind of commentary on GPS units, but rather to create cool designs on the playa that could be seen from space.

    Given that, I wonder why he didn’t just orient using a good compass, and get much truer, more accurate lines.

    I’m guessing that once the means to the end was chosen, it ended up becoming an end into itself. Which I guess is not a bad thing in art.

  8. kiergsmith says:

    This is more of a GPS use fail than a GPS system fail. GPS is really, really good at telling you where you are, and determines your heading by where you just were.
    The problem with navigating to a target waypoint like this is that as you get off of track, the GPS will just calculate the shortest path to the target, not correct you back to the track between start and finish. Small deviations can be amplified, and the track will curve to the target, as seen on the North side of the square.
    I’d suggest generating a series of waypoints between each corner point, maybe 10 or so, to keep the errors small, and to ensure that at 10 locations the line is correct. :)
    Or try putting GPS at the front and back, and see if they’re accurate enough to determine the bearing of your vehicle.

  9. Michael Ryzewic says:

    I’ve driven airplanes down the taxiway to see if it could be done (with a safety pilot) using a GPS that would now be over 10 years old and was non-WAAS. It worked pretty well; granted it was not a giant excavator with an El Camino on top (where the antenna is mounted and at what orientation could be a factor). Also, we did this over a relatively short and flat distance in FL. But with the proper modern receiver it should be easy to achieve ~2m in practice.

  10. robcat2075 says:

    Does “the google satellite” really update a location often enough to make such a thing feasible? My neighborhood goes years without being updated. I know that because obvious details like the car i sold persisted in my driveway for six years.

    • Sam Ley says:

      Burning Man gets more regular updates than most cities because the founders of Google, among many other famous technologists, are avid burners.

  11. Sam Ley says:

    We were camped across the street from you at Pandora’s Fixit Shoppe! Maria del Camino is one of my favorite mutants out there, and I was jazzed to be camping right across the road from you all.

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