When geospatial data are released as worlds in Minecraft, the game turns into a geosocial media, where users interact; not only with the other users but also with the geography itself.
How to use Minecraft with true geography
Minecraft is a digital game about breaking and placing blocks. It can be played alone and offline or online together with other users. You can play in survival mode, where you have to fight monsters, or in creative mode, the peaceful mode that allows you to build and move around without being attacked by creepers and monsters.
The greatest benefit when using spatial data in Minecraft is the enormous user community, which can be involved and engaged with no or little introduction and training.
User-involvement, co-creation, Smart Cities
User-involvement and -engagement in urban or rural planning is often difficult to handle, especially when it needs to address and engage children and young people. This challenge can be solved with Minecraft. Due to Minecraft’s huge user base, users with local knowledge and interest will join in as soon a new server is opened with a version of the real world. As an example, when building a new school, local children are enabled to build their version of the surroundings, the playground or the sports field in the Minecraft-copy of their city.
Plans for a new school in Odder, Denmark. Children were invited to participate in the indoor decorations. 3D architectural data from: CEBRA Architects.
The city of Stavanger as it is planned. Planned buildings are shown in white between existing buildings.
All around the globe Minecraft is being used for game-based learning in geography, history, mathematics, democracy and cultural exchange. With the release of Minecraft: Education Edition Microsoft as the owner of Minecraft is dedicated to bring game into schools all around the globe.
In GeoBoxers, we also see increasing interest among students, teachers and publishers for game-based learning. Minecraft is key to the realization because of its common creative platform, its enormous crowd of users, its flexibility and ease of use. Real geodata in Minecraft further enables the use of game-based learning in geography, for virtual excursions, lessons in urban planning etc.
While using models of the real world as the in-game basic world is still fairly new, Denmark has seen two good examples showing the potential:
In “Jagten på fællesskabet” (poorly translated into “The hunt for community”) 6th graders are taught the concepts of social solutions, occupant democracy and -community in an area with social housing. In Danish: http://www.bl.dk/nyheder-presse/pressemeddelelser/2014/5/boern-laerer-om-boliger-og-demokrati-i-minecraft/
In the project “Alcraft” 5th graders are taught about urban planning in the municipality Albertslund just outside Copenhagen. A video in English is available on GeoBoxers’ website: https://www.geoboxers.com/urban-planning-in-education-using-geodata-in-minecraft/
Geodata in Minecraft can be further enhanced for tourism purposes by setting up signs in Minecraft to tell the story of sights and landmarks. You can initiate competitions that reward the best looking and most lifelike arrangement of museums and other cultural institutions. Or, perform cyber-real treasure hunts, where tips and hints are found in Minecraft, and treasures are found in the real world.
In Vibcraft (the city of Viborg in Minecraft) the tourist office is used as a “hub” connecting sites and places. From VisitViborg every user can warp around in Vibcraft.
Media and marketing
When Viborg, a Danish municipality of 94.000 citizens, launched “Vibcraft” to be used for citizen involvement in urban planning, education and tourism in the autumn of 2014. The interest has been overwhelming: After the first two weeks Vibcraft had 1400 unique users, over 100,000 visits of Vibcraft postings on Facebook and the Vibcraft website became the most visited website in a single month in Viborg municipality. Ever.
From 4000 billion 1 meter Minecraft blocks covering the whole of Denmark to one single building measured by drones and modelled in 30 cm blocks, GeoBoxers have solid experience with all kinds of geospatial data sets in all scales. We regularly post articles about our work in the News section – subscribe to get the latest updates.
News and articles by GeoBoxers
We publish news and articles on a regular basis, all found in our News section. A few are highlighted here:
“Minecraft is a game about breaking and placing blocks. At first, people built structures to protect against nocturnal monsters, but as the game grew, players worked together to create wonderful, imaginative things.” This is how Mojang, the creators of Minecraft introduce the game, https://minecraft.net/.
Since the game was first introduced in 2010 it has gathered over 100 million registered users worldwide on different platforms: computers, XBOX, Playstation and tablets. So far over 22 million people bought the PC and Mac versions of the game.
As a player in Minecraft, you can choose to play alone or online with other users. You can play in survival mode, where you need to fight monsters, or in creative mode, where you can build and move around without creepers and monsters. To use Minecraft you have to buy a license.
You can also choose to open your own server and invite others to join you in your Minecraft-world. The server is highly configurable to meet almost any demand or restriction; depending of the purpose of a specific server. The server software is free of charge and can be hosted at almost any web service provider.
GeoBoxers are experts in geospatial data and situated in Copenhagen, Denmark. We excel in bringing large and complex geographical datasets into easy use as boxes and blocks in Minecraft. Read more about us here.