Diamond Roads: The UK Remade In Minecraft

Land's End!
I think I’m hovering over Nempnett Thrubwell, a village near Bath that I went on a road trip to after discovering there was a place called Nempnett Thrubwell. I know it’s there, because I’m on a Minecraft map that was created by the Ordnance Survey people, and if your job is to make maps then you probably know where all places are. But all I can really see are blocks. Lots and lots of blocks. That is until I start to pull my character into the air. The higher I go, the more sense I can make of the world they’ve made: a Minecraft map of Great Britain, built from their mapping data. It’s yours to download below.

It’s a simplification of Britain, made by intern Joseph Braybrook. He fed the data into two of the map maker’s programs—OS Terrain and OS VectorMap District—and the result is a 4.3 GB representation of the island.

When you start, it’s initially underwhelming and just a splodge of blocks that’s supposed to be Southampton. To get the most out of the map, take to the skies and look down. What was once indistinct becomes clearer. Because of the compression, it’s not going to be a one-to-one recreation (it’s 1-50: I just ran across Lundy Island, a three-mile long island off the coast, in 10 seconds), but with enough distance you can make out the lay of the land.

Click me to see a giant comparison image

Want to play with it? The map’s here, and you can even use their location tools and a minecraft convertor to find specific places.



  1. Gap Gen says:

    I too have been on a pilgrimage to Nempnet Thrubwell for more or less the same reasons (also we used to live about 10 miles away when I was a kid, so we cycled there). We were also very disappointed to find that the pub at Butcombe near the brewery was shut.

    • DrScuttles says:

      How very strange for I too lived not but 8 miles away in the bland, if hilariously named, village of Wookey Hole for a time.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Ha, I lived in the other direction, in Queen Charlton (the village where the author of the Sheep Pig lived). My only memory of Wookey Hole is someone shining a torch shaped like a witch over cave walls to scare kids.

      • James G says:

        Aww, used to love Wookey Hole as a kid (well the caverns anyway). Didn’t occur to me until just now that it does sound a bit like a dubious brothel in the Star Wars universe.

    • Craig Pearson says:

      We all hopped in the car, drove the 40 minutes it took to get there, then managed to go through it without realising. So small.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Yeah, growing up in a village like that is “fun”. At least I was a walk across the fields away from the bright lights and heady sights of Keynsham (where I hear they tore down the clock tower recently, in an act that resembles the USMC tearing down the statue of Saddam: link to keynshampeople.co.uk)

  2. LionsPhil says:

    Finally, we can dig a moat around London and fill it with magma.

    • identiti_crisis says:

      Aye, keep the buggers in! :D
      Although, it’s such a wonderful place, or so I’ve heard, that I don’t understand why anyone would want to leave in the first place.
      (Some of my best friends are Londoners)

      In seriousness, a nice little project might be to re-create landmarks in a kind-of model-village sort-of way. Cathedrals, towers, statues, landfill sites, Skegness Pier etc.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      That’s essentially what the M25 is. Needn’t bother though, nobody ever escapes London.

      • EPICTHEFAIL says:

        Would it be too redundant if one were to fill what is already a demonic sigil with molten rock?

      • trjp says:

        I believe RPS’s own LewieP may recently have managed this – clearly built a bridge over the lava?

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Surely building a wall around London and filling it with Magma would be more satisfying.

    • Lemming says:

      That’s to stop the scum getting out, right?

      • LionsPhil says:

        This is the beauty of the arrangement—you can tell them it’s to keep the scum from getting in, too.

  3. Anthile says:

    Maybe I can finally witness this glorious city of Stoke I keep hearing about.

  4. Jams O'Donnell says:

    I just want to go up into the mountains. Maybe I can then wall off the rest of the world and live in happy solitude. And in the game.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Best not try the UK if you want “mountains” ;)

      • Inglourious Badger says:

        Memories of Snowden:

        (Taking a deep breath of mountain air) “Ah, solitude. At last.”

        “Excuse me!”.

        “Err, yes?”.

        “Do you mind hurrying up a bit, there’s a queue to enjoy that there mountain top.”

        “Oh! My. Yes. Sorry about that old chap, here you go, all yours.” (trudges back to car)

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          That spoils Snowden for me a bit. Ben Nevis is still somewhat appreciable because as there’s no cable car, not everybody who sets out actually makes it to the top. Especially if you don’t only go when it’s sunny in the valley, like most people do.

      • Jams O'Donnell says:

        Oh now I don’t know about that.

  5. Njordsk says:

    That’s instructive, I actually thought UK was the 52nd state of USA.

    • Dozer says:

      Technically the UK was part of the USA before any of the American states, so it’s the 1st state. Oklahoma is the 52nd.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        Nope, I give up. I can’t find any technical way in which this works.

      • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        According to a strict interpretation of the Act of Union between Scotland and England, the 48 contiguous States are technically considered to be counties in the United Kingdom, and the other two (Alaska and Hawaii) are protectorates. Washington DC is a peculiar case, and falls somewhere between the nebulous status of Berwick Upon Tweed and the Isle of Man. The territories claimed but not incorporated by the US are obviously not recognised, so someone should go and put a Union Flag on them.

        • Dominus_Anulorum says:

          Where does Australia fit in with this fabulous piece of legislature?

  6. edwardoka says:

    I played around with this very same dataset a couple of years ago, while the elevation data is very cool (particularly the northwest of Scotland), it’s too low-res to do something amazing with on its own.

    I don’t want to seem harsh because it was something made by an intern in 2 weeks, but I can’t help but feel that all they’ve done is turned the heightmap data and the roads/waterways vector data into a big undetailed voxel map.

    If they’d used procedural generation, data interpolation and biome mapping to make it more to-scale and detailed then it could perhaps have been much more interesting. I hope this is the first iteration of many!

  7. jingies says:

    If only they could do a more detailed version of a smaller area.

    I’d love to wander around a Minecraft Lake District, but couldn’t really care about a big pile of bricks representing the flat boring majority of the country.

    Still, I’ll be downloading it for a look.

    • Gap Gen says:

      “but couldn’t really care about a big pile of bricks representing the flat boring majority of the country.”

      And in the game!

  8. DantronLesotho says:

    This is great for sure, but call me when it’s a 1:1 ratio.

  9. MajorManiac says:

    Good grief! Can you imagine if Google Earth and Minecraft made a 1:1 scale model of the Earth.

    I would never need to go on holiday again. Well, apart from keeping the MRS and kids happy.

  10. sinister agent says:

    Can’t wait for someone to upload a video of a creeper horde decimating London (yay!), then the resulting Daily Mail *ahem* “article” about internet game trrrrsms.

  11. karmafarm says:

    And there was me thinking that Nempnett Thrubwell was simply the feeling of driving off for the first time on a brand-new motorbike.

  12. Dave Tosser says:

    I can now bring to life my fantasies of punching Portsmouth, London and North Ormesby in the face. Thanks, Minecraft!

  13. Tams80 says:

    Well, the coordinates for Lake Windermere are given by the OS, so I don’t even have to try finding where I live.

    Now if people actually played this map, there would only be B roads left and even they would be patchy.