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Minecrafting with OS OpenData

We have created a Minecraft® world made with digital map products - freely available as OS OpenData™.

The world consists of more than 22 billion blocks representing over 220,000 square kilometres of mainland Great Britain and surrounding islands. We don't include Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, because they are mapped by other organisations.

Take a look at our Developer Centre for lots more information on the data, tools and other resources we offer.

Requirements

  1. A licensed copy of Minecraft.
  2. 5GB free disk space. The world is approximately 3.6 GB uncompressed.
  3. Minimum 4 GB of memory.

Installation

  1. Download the Minecraft-GB.zip archive (this is a large file – around 345 MB)
  2. Unzip the archive to a temporary location.
  3. Open the readme.html file in a Web browser and follow the installation instructions.

Getting around

The initial starting point is next to the our head office. Take a moment to read the signposts, then fly up in the air for a birds-eye view of the landscape (double-tap and hold the space key to fly up).

Since Minecraft GB represents the real world, you may want to navigate to some familiar places. Our online OS getamap service (works in most desktop browsers – Microsoft Silverlight required) enables you to search for a location, place name or postcode. The grid reference is displayed in the top left corner of the map view.

Once you know the grid reference, this conversion tool can be used to generate the Minecraft teleport command with the correct world coordinates.

Here are some locations to get you started:

Southampton Water --- X = 9000 Y = 100 Z = 26000
London -------------- X = 10632 Y = 100 Z = 24422
Mt Snowdon ---------- X = 5218 Y = 200 Z = 20913
Outer Hebrides ------ X = 2110 Y = 100 Z = 10000
Shetland Islands ---- X = 8900 Y = 100 Z = 4969
Poole Harbour ------- X = 8020 Y = 100 Z = 26235
Weymouth ------------ X = 7300 Y = 100 Z = 26440
Foulness Essex------- X = 12000 Y = 100 Z = 24174
Lake Windermere------ X = 6800 Y = 100 Z = 18080
Ordnance Survey ----- X = 8745 Y = 100 Z = 25695 

Use the values above with the teleport command, for example /tp 6800 100 18080.

The image below may help you find your bearings:

Minecraft coordinates for Great Britain

It shows the coverage of Minecraft GB expressed in world coordinates and the relationship with National Grid 100 km squares.

How we built it

We wrote a computer program to create the Minecraft GB world in the Anvil file format using the methodology described below.

For each 100 x 100 km grid square:

  • Load height data from OS Terrain® 50 files.
  • Load image data from OS VectorMap® District raster files.
  • Analyse each 20 x 20 pixel region of the raster image data to decide the material of each block.
  • Create chunks using the height data to add blocks repeatedly up to the desired height and change the top block to the desired material.

Following this, groups of 32 x 32 chunks called regions are created and the complete set of files is assembled. This includes the level.dat file specifying start position and weather. The entire generation process took around seven hours on a modest desktop PC.

Each blocks represents a ground area of 50 square metres. The raw height data is stored in metres and must be scaled down to fit within the 256 block height limit in Minecraft. A maximum height of 2 500 metres was chosen, which means Ben Nevis, appears just over 128 blocks high. Although this exaggerates the real-world height, it preserves low-lying coastal features such as Bournemouth's cliffs, adding interest to the landscape.

Block materials

As described above, the image data from OS VectorMap District raster is analysed to decide the material of each block. The table below lists the materials used for each map feature:

MotorwaysDiamond
A roadsEmerald
B roadsPumpkin
Minor roadsGold
WaterWater
ForeshoreSand
ForestLeaves
PlainsGrass
Built-up areasBrick

Acknowledgements

Minecraft is ©2009-2013 Mojang AB.

More from Ordnance Survey

Find out how you can get creative with Ordnance Survey maps.

Custom Made maps - create your own personalised paper map
OS getamap - record and print your walks

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