3D geological models in Minecraft

Following on from the scale model of Great Britain, BGS has taken another step into the world of Minecraft by creating three-dimensional representations of geology at several locations across the country. These models show how the geology rises and falls, and overlaps and folds, at different depths.

These models allow the Minecraft player to explore the geology of:

Requirements

  • a licenced copy of Minecraft
  • 50 MB free disk space per model
  • more than 4 GB of RAM

Installation

  1. Download the 3D model as a zip file archive (between 1 and 10 MB)
  2. Unzip the archive to a temporary location
  3. Start Minecraft
  4. On the home screen click 'Options'
  5. Click 'Resource Packs'
  6. Click 'Open resource pack folder'. This will open a new window showing the contents of your Minecraft 'Resource Packs' folder.
  7. Navigate to the folder above (called .minecraft on Windows)
  8. Open the 'saves' folder
  9. Move the unzipped archive to this 'saves' folder

3D models

BGS have developed Minecraft models for four sites across Great Britain, which show a range of environments both above and below the ground.

How was it made?

When building the map of Great Britain we used blocks which best resembled the 'real' geology, based on colour, texture and hardness. For the three dimensional models we decided to use glass blocks that were coloured by their traditional geology map colours.

Why did we use glass blocks?

When exploring under the ground in Minecraft most blocks are solid and don't allow you to see through them. When experimenting with these 3D Minecraft worlds we discovered that by using glass blocks the player could see the true extent of the geology straight away.

What data did we use?

To build each of these models we used a number of different datasets, including:

What have we done with the topography?

We have developed models that include the key map features above ground, such as roads and buildings, which helps the player to explore the world and orient themselves.

We have released two versions of each model: one with a topographic map above ground and the other with no topography attached. This allows the player to explore the true three dimensional models and learn more about the geology beneath their feet.

Get in touch

If you have any feedback about the Minecraft worlds BGS is experimenting with, or have an interest in collaborating with BGS on the use of Minecraft in the educational sector, please contact BGS enquiries.

Acknowledgements

Minecraft is ©2009 – 2015 Mojang AB.

Models built using Safe Software's FME 2015.

Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2015.