Improved and More Realistic Minecraft Map of Great Britain

Caitlin Dempsey


Last year, UK Ordnance Survey (OS) intern Joseph Braybrook created a geographically accurate map of Great Britain for the virtual reality game Minecraft.  That map was created using 22 billion blocks.  

Now a full-time employee with the OS, Jopseph has built an improved map built using 83 billion blocks.

The Ordnance Survey explains:

To build this mammoth map, which enables gamers to easily find their town, street and own home, Joseph used the free-to-use open data products from OS OpenData, including OS VectorMap District and OS Terrain 50. 

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The terrain has been doubled in scale to provide more detail. It uses 1:25 000 scale OS VectorMap District to give a smoother, more expansive appearance that is closer to real life.

Amongst some of the new features are local roads, using our in-house colour classification system, so motorways appear as blue for instance.

The water features now appear in sharper detail; too, so you can see individual streams and tributaries coming off rivers. The forests and woodlands are now populated with generated trees, and the national rail network has been added.

London from above in GB Minecraft 2.0.  Source: Ordnance Survey.
London from above in GB Minecraft 2.0. Source: Ordnance Survey.

Graham Dunlop, Ordnance Survey’s Innovation Lab Manager, says: “Joseph’s Minecraft map of Great Britain really caught the imagination and each month since its release it has had tens of thousands of downloads. Although it has been excellent as a learning tool, Joseph recognised that his previous map was limited in terms of its gaming possibilities.

This new map he has created not only looks better, but it offers a much more interactive environment to play in. It is especially pleasing to know that the GB Minecraft 2 Map has been developed using free products from OS OpenData.

This is just one example of how freely available location data can support innovative projects. GB Minecraft 2 demonstrates what can happen when this data is put to use in innovative ways.”

Country of Denmark in Minecraft

Probably inspired by the OS Minecraft map, the Environment Ministry of Denmark also created a Minecraft map of the country earlier this year.  Developed at a scale of 1:1, the 1 TB dataset can be access from Ministry’s Geodata page.

Both country Minecraft sites have been used by schools to help educate students about geography, social studies, and mathematics.

Karin Lyngby Kristensen from Ørestad College explains (translated from Danish), You can also use it in mathematics, where students, for example, is given the task to build a new playground next to the school within Minecraft, with a certain number of blocks available.”

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.