An interactive environment lets users explore all 85,000 square miles of mainland Great Britain using the popular computer game Minecraft. The environment was created by the Ordnance Survey (OS), the UK’s national mapping agency, and consists of over 22 billion cube-shaped Minecraft blocks that specify roads, water, beaches, forest, plains and cities. The 3.6 GB environment was created using a program that converted OS map data into blocks, each representing a ground area of 50 square meters. In order to preserve low-lying coastal features, heights had to be distorted, making higher elevation areas such as the Scottish Highlands loom much larger than they actually are. As a fully-integrated Minecraft environment, players can experiment with building their own features into the landscape; one YouTube commenter noted, “Technically, you could build a house the size of London!”
Travis Korte is a research analyst at the Center for Data Innovation specializing in data science applications and open data. He has a background in journalism, computer science and statistics. Prior to joining the Center for Data Innovation, he launched the Science vertical of The Huffington Post and served as its Associate Editor, covering a wide range of science and technology topics. He has worked on data science projects with HuffPost and other organizations. Before this, he graduated with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley, having studied critical theory and completed coursework in computer science and economics. His research interests are in computational social science and using data to engage with complex social systems. You can follow him on Twitter @traviskorte.