Britain Built By Billions of Blocks
September 24, 2013 5:32 AM   Subscribe

The Ordnance Survey (the national mapping authority for Great Britain) has a large amount of its mapping data available online for free use. Over the past few weeks, one of its summer interns has been using a few of its datasets to recreate the whole of mainland GB at 50:1 scale in Minecraft.
posted by ZsigE (22 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign chunk
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer block concealed;
A block whom England mined, placed, made aware,
Gave, once, her creepers to dodge, her caves to roam,
A block of England's, breathing English air,
Chased by the zombies, blest by suns of home.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:50 AM on September 24, 2013 [28 favorites]


The world is approximately 3.6 GB uncompressed.

Brits are always oppressing and compressing the world...and now it's only 3.6GB.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:51 AM on September 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Incredible. Who knew the OS had an Exactitude In Science Department?

Is there an upper bound on the workable size of a Minecraft world? Is it possible, given sufficient interns, to do a similar thing for e.g. continental Europe?
posted by inire at 5:54 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm going to ignore the part of my brain that is annoyed they "only" used 50:1 and bounce around like a little girl who just discovered her birthday is being held in a genuine princess castle complete with pink bunting, unicorns, and creepers.
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 5:55 AM on September 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


I wonder if he also also made use of their geological data to put coal in interesting places...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 6:04 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Fun on several counts!
My grandson is way into Minecraft. He borrowed his f engineer father's vintage lunch bucket, already has a little hard hat, some little boots and such.
This was so awesome!
His father hates unions...
I educated him all about child coal miners in Appalachia, now I have the UK to add to the list!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 6:12 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Brits are always oppressing and compressing the world...and now it's only 3.6GB.

They used to think the rest of the world wasn't even one Great Britain so this is actually progress.
posted by srboisvert at 6:39 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Huh, I was expecting the Ordnance Survey would be something dealing with munitions auditing or whatever and it turns out the origins aren't too far off.
posted by kmz at 6:46 AM on September 24, 2013


The Intern doesn't get a shout out by name? I hope they got the extra doughnut the day they launched.
posted by shothotbot at 6:52 AM on September 24, 2013


Is it possible, given sufficient interns

"Give me sufficient interns, and a large enough Starbucks, and I can get coffee for the world."
--Archimedes
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:19 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Paging mapcratic. Mapcratic to the white courtesy phone.
posted by joecacti at 7:25 AM on September 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Intern doesn't get a shout out by name? I hope they got the extra doughnut the day they launched.

He's called Joseph Braybrook - he got a mention in the OS press release, which was picked up by this BBC article (which is, incidentally, where I found out about it).
posted by ZsigE at 7:29 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


robocop is bleeding: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE submit this to the Great Song Request Raffle. Please?
posted by honest knave at 7:35 AM on September 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


If he was hardcore he would have built it by hand in adventure mode.
posted by Mister_A at 7:45 AM on September 24, 2013


Also how did he do Wales? I thought Minecraft only had giant squids in terms of charismatic aquatic megafauna.
posted by Mister_A at 7:46 AM on September 24, 2013


Seeing use of the Ordnance Survey always reminds me of this offhand comment in Dracula:
I was not able to light on any map or work giving the exact locality of the Castle Dracula, as there are no maps of this country as yet to compare with our own Ordnance Survey Maps...
posted by doctornemo at 7:47 AM on September 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


If he was hardcore he would have built it by hand in adventure mode.

Not every server can be as awesome as the Aporkalypse.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:58 AM on September 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


How does the "National Grid" work on the curved surface of the Earth? You can't tile a sphere with squares. And as far north as Britain is I'd expect latitude/longitude based grids to be noticeably trapezoidal.
posted by roystgnr at 8:40 AM on September 24, 2013


Also how did he do Wales? I thought Minecraft only had giant squids in terms of charismatic aquatic megafauna.

[cetacean needed]

Or: Jimmy Wales held an appeal.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:41 AM on September 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


British National Grid is a locally conformal mercator projection, flat enough in and around Great Britain to work as a grid of squares. Ireland is just far enough away that a different grid system is used there.

The US is large enough that we use a county-based system of conformal projections called state planes to cover the country, with as many as 5-6 different projections in larger states. For the world as a whole, UTM divides the world into 60 zones like an orange, each flat enough to be used as a paper map.
posted by migurski at 8:50 AM on September 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


for those wondering, robocop is bleeding's poem is a rewrite of the famous WWI British poet Rupert Brooke's "The Soldier"
posted by Bwithh at 11:06 AM on September 24, 2013


They had to exaggerate the height of Britain's tallest 'mountain' to keep interesting coastal features, heh.

The cool thing about this map if you could play it in Adventure mode is that there's gold, emeralds and diamonds right on the surface...
posted by subdee at 6:42 PM on September 24, 2013


« Older 0. Don't have children. Or pets.   |   What, Exactly, Constitutes a Constitution? Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments