Denmark's Government Is Spreading The Word About Its Country With Minecraft

Some countries will publish PSAs or release brochures when they want to teach people more about their country. Some governments will have school systems update their textbooks when they want to improve their education programs. Denmark's government created a map in Minecraft.

Looking for a means of improving the national school system (and making Denmark better-known on the global stage), the Ministry of Environment used public mapping software to map out the entire country in the popular sandbox construction title. The map - which is constructed on a 1:1 scale  - includes buildings, terrain, roads, and vegetation. It also consists of 4000 billion bricks, and takes up about a terabyte of space. 

Yeah, it's kind of huge. 

In order to help explorers better find their way around the mammoth of a map (and to ensure they don't end up hopelessly lost in the wilderness), the team behind the translation has also included a system that will allow users to warp to whichever co-ordinates they specify.

"We took the publicly available data on the country - from elevation models to information about roads and buildings - and "translated" it for Minecraft's characteristic blocks," explained creators Simon Kokkendorf and Thorbjørn Nielsen Geodatastyrelsen. "At the same time, we introduced a coordinate system, so you can easily find a specific point in the model. You could visit your childhood home, or maybe somewhere in the country you have never been before." 

Among other things, the team explained that they designed the project to give pupils a means of moving around a 3D model of the country. This model could be used in social studies, geography, and more, explained Karin Lyngby Kristensen from Ørestad College.

"You could also use it in mathematics," she said. "Where pupils could be, for example, given the task to build a new playground next to the school within Minecraft, with only a certain number of blocks available." 

Of course, education isn't all the map can be used for. Players can build and deconstruct to their heart's content. There's just one catch, though - although its creators have allowed full freedom to modify the Minecraft map, Geodatastyrelsen says dynamite has been disabled.

"We have removed the ability to use dynamite in the model, but you can certainly make a lot and move a lot about. So we appeal to users on how to change the Minecraft-Denmark with respect and show consideration for others."

I guess anyone who wants to load a whole city up with TNT and watch it get blown to smithereens is kind of out of luck. Makes mass terraforming a little more difficult, as well, to be honest. I guess I can see the reasoning behind it, though - TNT is one of the biggest tools for griefing (intentionally ruining another player's experience) in Minecraft.  

Some countries use updated textbooks or educational brochures when they want to teach people more about themselves. For Denmark - where the games industry is positively booming - that solution wasn't quite enough. Instead, they decided to go digital. I only wish I had enough space on my hard drive to download the map myself. There's gotta be all sorts of awesome secrets hidden in its depths.