GB geology with Minecraft world

Discovering Geology – maps and resources

Free download of the geology of mainland Great Britain as a Minecraft world. The world shows the Ordnance Survey map data on the surface and the rough position of the real geology beneath.

Once downloaded, save the BGS_GB_Geology world into your resources folder; detailed instructions below. Watch this animation for additional help.
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Once downloaded, save the BGS_GB_Geology world into your resources folder; detailed instructions below. Watch this animation for additional help. BGS ©UKRI. All rights reserved.

Requirements

  • A licenced copy of Minecraft
  • 6 GB free disk space: the world is approximately 5.4 GB uncompressed
  • More than 4 GB of RAM

Installation

  1. Download the BGS_GB_Geology_with_os.zip archive around 369 MB zip
  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
  10. Start Minecraft and select ‘Single player’. When prompted to select a world, choose BGS GB geology with OS

Navigation

You will start at the BGS office in Cardiff. Look around you for signposts with information to get you started. Once you’ve got your bearings you can fly around the landscape by double tapping and holding the spacebar or by teleporting to other parts of the Great Britain geological map.

Illustrating how the geology blocks (such as sand, cobblestone, redstone ore, glowstone, stained clay) are repeated from the bedrock layer up to the elevation model height and OS block (grass block).
Information icon

Illustrating how the geology blocks (such as sand, cobblestone, redstone ore, glowstone, stained clay) are repeated from the bedrock layer up to the elevation model height and OS block (grass block).

Illustrating how the geology blocks (such as sand, cobblestone, redstone ore, glowstone, stained clay) are repeated from the bedrock layer up to the elevation model height and OS block (grass block).

Using the methodology developed by the OS, we wrote computer software to programmatically generate the GB geology world in the Anvil file format.

For each 100 x 100 km grid square:

  • Load height data from an elevation map of Great Britain, using a modified and scaled version of NEXTMap Britain data
  • Load geology data from the BGS 1 km Soil Parent Material dataset
  • Load OS VectorMap® District raster files
  • Create chunks using the height data to add blocks repeatedly up to the desired height using the real world geology for that location
  • For the topmost block, decide the material which matches the OS VectorMap® District data
  • Compile groups of 32 x 32 chunks into regions
  • Compile all the files together into one ZIP file

To do this, we have used BGS’s Soil Parent Material dataset. A parent material is a soil science name for a weathered rock or deposit from, and within which, a soil has formed. In the UK, parent materials provide the basic foundations and building blocks of the soil, influencing their texture, structure, drainage and chemistry. By using the parent material dataset we can get a general understanding of the types of geology to be found across Great Britain.

Using the methodology developed by the Ordnance Survey, we took the data from the OS VectorMap® District raster to decide the material of each block.

Downloads

Real world OS map data to equivalent Minecraft block
Real world rock to equivalent Minecraft block

Acknowledgements

Minecraft is ©2009–2014 Mojang AB.

NEXTMap Britain elevation data from Intermap Technologies.

Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2014.

Ordnance Survey and Joseph Braybrook for the initial concept.

Get in touch

If you would like further information about any of our research, data products or services please contact our enquiries team

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