Question

Tips for Converting a City to Minecraft - GIS Data Cleanup

  • 11 December 2020
  • 2 replies
  • 4 views

I am working on a project to get my home city into Minecraft (Harrisburg, PA - pop. 50,000). I have a QGIS file of about 40 layers consisting of:

  • 2D shapefiles (polylines & polygons - to describe materials or edges)
  • 2D shapefile of buildings (heights based on a BLDGHEIGHT value in the attribute table)
  • 3D DEM (using this for the Ground Level of the Minecraft World)

 

I have seen what could be done in converting GIS to Minecraft from some of the how-to links. I have two concerns, what data cleanup should I be concerned with and would there be anyone out there who might be able to help guide me through the process this next month?

 

This project started in 2013 as an idea to take a 2D image and "loft" a Minecraft world from the pixels (World Painter). This worked well and created a flat creative world. Unfortunately the area was only one neighborhood in the city, approximately an 1/8 of the city. The image allowed some changes in elevation from the Susquehanna River with an approximate 30' change in elevation from the river - water, grass, roads, curbs, and building footprints. Unfortunately everything was flat and buildings were only represented by 2D footprints and not the true heights of buildings. View Screenshots of Harrisburg Midtown Minecraft

 

Two years ago I started the process using GIS data to cleanup buildings and curbs and add a DEM because I saw what could be done with FME. I had hoped that this would be a K-12 educational process to help students get into Geospatial Technologies as well as Architecture, Engineering and Construction. Now for 2021 I am working with a Young Professionals of Color group and we're looking to use this Minecraft World to link up with Harrisburg's Comprehensive Planning process for continued public engagement. I have shapefiles considing of Acad Blocks of Trees & Shrubs, Streetlights, Storm Drains and Maintenance Hole Covers. I am not sure that this data would convert correctly so that Minecraft objects could represent them - trees and possible glowstone for streetlights. I also have underground Storm Water Main and I am not sure if that could be added below the surface. This way students could work with future projects to discuss green infrastructure, flooding, mobility, updating Minecraft as projects happen this next decade.

 

I am including an image of what is in QGIS and I recognize that I am outside my limit of knowledge in trying to convert DEM and shape files to Minecraft. I know there is a lot of work to do yet, but I finally see the end. At the very least I know that I could default to 2D using World Painter getting things to the correct scale.


2 replies

Wow what a great idea to help kids with spatial reasoning! I've done a project like this before where I've taken the Texas A&M University campus and made a 1:1 scale in ​Minecraft. Few notes for you:

  • Start small! 1 building and a buffer of land around it is good enough for testing. Only scale up when you've refined your workflow because the processing is going to be BEEFY.
  • ​The FME writer needs point clouds to work. You'll have to convert your 3D buildings into point clouds ... it should use the PointCloudCombiner tool . Your use of a DEM is a great idea, but you'll also need it to be pushed into a point cloud using a similar method. Check the link for more detail on this.
  • I'd also recommend looking into LIDAR. If there is any LIDAR available, you could skip over the process of converting DEMs into point clouds.

 

Last tip is have fun! I enjoyed loading into a world where my entire university was, and I got to see and decorate some of my favorite buildings and campus monuments. Let me know if you have any more questions!

 

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Wow what a great idea to help kids with spatial reasoning! I've done a project like this before where I've taken the Texas A&M University campus and made a 1:1 scale in ​Minecraft. Few notes for you:

  • Start small! 1 building and a buffer of land around it is good enough for testing. Only scale up when you've refined your workflow because the processing is going to be BEEFY.
  • ​The FME writer needs point clouds to work. You'll have to convert your 3D buildings into point clouds ... it should use the PointCloudCombiner tool . Your use of a DEM is a great idea, but you'll also need it to be pushed into a point cloud using a similar method. Check the link for more detail on this.
  • I'd also recommend looking into LIDAR. If there is any LIDAR available, you could skip over the process of converting DEMs into point clouds.

 

Last tip is have fun! I enjoyed loading into a world where my entire university was, and I got to see and decorate some of my favorite buildings and campus monuments. Let me know if you have any more questions!

 

Not that you'll see this but its kinda funny. I found this post specifically because I was trying to recreate sbisa dining hall and wanted to make an accurate floor plan with GIS.

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