Maps and the Internet

National Mapping On Demand

4101.2 - Minecraft on Demand : The new IGN service which combines game and 3D cartography

Tuesday, July 4
8:50 AM - 9:10 AM
Location: Delaware A

With more 121 million copies in February2017, Minecraft is the video Game the most sold in the world. Launched in 2011 by Mojang Company and bought by Microsoft in 2014, Minecraft is selected by a large public of young people (10- 30 years) and provides an important interest for education and training in many countries. This “virtual Lego” which allows building, on line and with many players, worlds or maps had to awake attention of National Mapping Agency as KMS in Denmark and Ordnance Survey in Great Britain. In France, the NMA IGN tested in 2013 a map in Minecraft on the Island La Réunion with altimetric data. In October 2015, IGN wished to go further and to experiment the delivery of Minecraft maps which will be playable and use a lot of IGN geographic data, available on whole France.
Due to technical constraints of Minecraft (restricting-heights at 255 cubes, limitations on size of maps,…) and after examination the KMS and OS experiences, IGNfab decided quickly to develop un Minecraft service on demand - similar to his very popular service Map on demand - which allows the user to select the center of the map and to obtain a map of 5 km long and 5 km wide playable in Minecraft. Once decided, the web service development was realized with Agile approach, with un product owner, experimented in Minecraft and IGN data, who was able to adapt the product specification in using the maps in Minecraft and in testing with many players.
Engine development :
The first step of development in Java focused on a process of 3D Minecraft map redaction from IGN data sources. The data are available with IGN Geoportail data flows (WFS). This map redaction, with Minecraft cubes of 1 m3 is very similar to 2D maps redaction, with problem to fill areas, to define layers orders,…The different data used to produce the maps as realistically as possible comes from IGN geographic database :
• RGE ALTI® at 1m (DTM): to symbolize the relief with a non linear scale);
• BD CARTO®: to symbolize the landscape;
• Référentiel parcellaire graphique (RPG): to distinguish different cultures in fields;
• BD ORTHO®: to extract some colorimetric information (for example the roof colors);
• BD TOPO®: to symbolize topographic information (hydrography, roads, buildings,…).
The full paper will detail some specific element of this 3D redaction.

Web interface development :
After the engine development, the service interface was developed on the web with html, javascript, css, The javascript library for cartographic visualization Leaflet is used with the Geoportail data flows. Due to computation time (2 or 3 hours), an asynchronous service solution was chosen: the user selects his area and provides his email, where he will receive a message with a link to download his Minecraft map.
The web service was opened in June 2017, during the Festival Future en Seine on new technology without any important communication. A lot of visitors discovered this new service, free of charge, and could experiment it. During two weeks, the limit of Minecraft maps that we fixed at the beginning (150) for each day was reached in less than 2 hours. To date (in October), 6 000 Minecraft maps were provided for players. A lot of players send emails at IGN to thank for this service. The full paper will detail different using of these Minecraft maps.
With the service, you are able to discover or to rediscover the geography of France while having fun !

François Lecordix

Project Manager
Institut national de l'information géographique et forestière

After research on cartographic generalisation and label placmeent at the COGIT laboratory and the introduction of this research in production for IGN France with 2 projects (Carto2001 and New Base Map Project), François Lecordix has now in charge the new incubator unit IGNfab, to speed up the innovation and the development of numerical services with startups.


Send Email for François Lecordix

Calvin L. Meyer

U.S. Geological Survey

Calvin Meyer joined the U.S. Geological Survey as a cartographer in the National Geospatial Technical Operations Center at Rolla, Missouri in 1984. Calvin has over 32 years of mapping applications experience. He began support of The National Map services in 2009 with cartographic review of base maps. His current role is to provide delivery and service desk support for The National Map users, where he answers questions and resolve problems. He also serves as chairperson of a Cartographic Governance Board, which defines and enforces rules for cartographic representation within The National Map services and US Topo products.


Send Email for Calvin Meyer


4101.2 - Minecraft on Demand : The new IGN service which combines game and 3D cartography


Attendees who have favorited this

Please enter your access key

The asset you are trying to access is locked. Please enter your access key to unlock.

Send Email for Minecraft on Demand : The new IGN service which combines game and 3D cartography