The British Landscape Club

Exploring Britain… in Minecraft

We all like to get out and about and explore the landscape and some of us use digital mapping products like RouteBuddy or OS Mapfinder to get to grip with areas that are new to us, but researchers at the Ordnance Survey have gone one better and developed a digital version of Britain in the wildly popular computer game Minecraft.

Intended as an educational aid and a demonstration of the power of OS OpenData products, the 224,000 square km, 22 billion block ‘world’ is something of an interesting aside; of the game’s 33 million players, there is an overwhelming contingent of boys aged 9-13 – a group that often require special tactics to garner their engagement and attention in the classroom.

Players, who need a registered copy of Minecraft to participate in the world, enter through a starting point at the Survey’s Southampton HQ, but can then make their way to any part of Great Britain using the standard Minecraft tools. Full details and installation instructions can be found at For more detail of how the Minecraft world was builtt see:

Geology can be beautiful

We’re straying from the British landscape for a moment to look at how beautiful geological maps can be. I’m indebted to the website of Pruned which has extracted these maps from enormous PDF archives of the original reports.

In 1944, Harold N Fisk prepared a report on his geological investigation of the lower Mississippi River valley. The Mississippi - the fourth longest river in the world - ends as a delta, where it dumps amazing quantities of sediments into the Gulf of Mexico. Before it gets there, however, it has a long and rather ornate meander along the border of the American state that bears its name. Slow meandering rivers alter their flood plains perhaps more rapidly than any other alluvial process - and this can be seen in Fisk’s rather rococo-looking maps. Baroque curves lend an almost art nouveau quality to these maps. Proof, if it were needed, that art really does reflect life.