Minecraft – Berlin in block form with Open Data
The TSB Technology Foundation Berlin and con terra GmbH have jointly compiled a map of Berlin Mitte for Minecraft. Proof that by employing appropriate bridge technology, official spatial data can be incorporated effectively into complex new applications.
With sales of the classic building-block game now topping 100 million, Minecraft, one of the best known and most loved computer games in the world, is reinventing Berlin Mitte.
Minecraft is a so-called open-world game, and is even used by schools and independent educational establishments in a wide variety of areas. The idea of the game is to design your own virtual world, block by block, either individually or together with others, with fascinating buildings, or entire cities and landscapes.
The TSB Technology Foundation Berlin and con terra GmbH have jointly compiled a map of Berlin Mitte for Minecraft, which can be downloaded and used freely – fully in line with the precepts of Open Data. Players can now redesign the area between Potsdamer Platz and Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz with all of its historical sites and buildings, such as the Alex transmitter mast – in any way they wish. It is now possible to reinvent Berlin, block by block, and anyone can incorporate their ideas.
A video of 30-plus seconds provides an insight into its realisation:
What is special about this map is that it is generated automatically from open spatial data taken from the Berlin data portal and OpenStreetMap. To do this, the spatial data experts from con terra have employed FME, a technology that permits extensive transformation and modification of spatial data. The official data is provided by Berlin Partner for Business and Technology and the Senate Department of Urban Development and the Environment in Berlin through the Berlin Open Data Portal. The 3D model of Berlin – Berlin's most popular open dataset – was also used; thanks to the intelligent dissemination of metadata, this can also be found in GOVDATA and the European Data Portal – to design the city above and even below the ground.
Minecraft is thus a good example of how, by employing appropriate bridge technology, official spatial data can be incorporated effectively into complex new applications, thus tapping into their enormous scientific, economic and social potential in a way that is fully in line with the precepts of Open Government. Fascinating uses can be found in urban planning processes, citizens' participation activities, and urban marketing, as well as school classes wishing to rebuild and redesign their school environment. In this way, official spatial data and Minecraft can make a new and playful contribution to urban planning and digital education.
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