Ordnance Survey creates real map of Britain in Minecraft

Ordnance Survey creates real map of Britain in Minecraft
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

September 24th 2013 at 9:55AM

Real-world terrain data used to create accurate in-game landscape consisting of 22 billion blocks

The national mapping authority for Great Britain has developed a special map representing 224,000 square kilometres of the country using Ordnance Survey terrain data.

Consisting of 22 billion blocks, the map was created using Ordnance Survey terrain data in two weeks by an intern at the organisation, Joseph Braybook.

The accurate map of the country's landscape was made using OS Terrain 50, which measures the height of the landscape to visualise the terrain, and the OS VectorMap District software, which was used to extract surface features such as water and woodlands, with information from this used to modify the material of each block.

The map includes mainland Great Britain and the surrounding islands, but it does not include Northern Ireland, Ireland, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

In a post explaining the Minecraft map, the organisation suggested using the map as a geography source in schools.

A download of the map and a guide on how the world was built is available on the Ordnance Survey website.

Tools from the Ordnance Survey Developer Centre can also be found here.

Minecraft has previously been used to create real-world landscapes in the past through schemes such as the UN Block by Block initiative.

The project looks to involve young people in the planning process for urban areas to help inform decision makers how they would like to see their local area.

It is hoped Minecraft will be used to support the UN-Habitat's Sustainable Urban Development Network to improve and upgrade 300 public spaces by 2016.