While flying the virtual skies of Melbourne, Microsoft Flight Simulator (opens in new tab) players have discovered a narrow, absurdly high skyscraper that definitely seems out of place in a regular suburb.
As it turns out, this bizarrely towering building is the result of a typo. To generate its maps, developer Asobo used data from Bing Maps, which in turn uses user-submitted data from free wiki world map OpenStreetMap. An OpenStreetMap user accidentally put down the number of building stories as 212 instead of 2, as Twitter user Liam O found out after someone spotted the ridiculously tall building.
A year ago, "nathanwright120" made an edit to @openstreetmap , adding a tag that indicates that a building in the suburb of Fawkner in Melbourne, Australia, had 212 floors instead of 2. All his other edits of openstreetmap seem legit, so it appears to have been a typo... (1/2) pic.twitter.com/Mwh1LBu3apAugust 20, 2020
While the error was eventually fixed, Asobo grabbed the data for its Flight Simulator Melbourne map in the meantime, creating the suburban spire of doom you now find in the game. Players have since then flocked to the monolith, with one brave soul even landing on it.
Microsoft Flight Simulator gives you the entire world to explore by plane, thanks to an AI that maps the world from satellite images. While this is not what happened in the case of the amazing Melbourne skyscraper, the AI has wrongly interpreted some images with fun results—in a video by BBC News you can see that some bridges in London ended up underwater, and that Buckingham palace was turned into a block of flats because of the automatically chosen textures.
Either way, the world looks stunning from way up high, and you’re only likely to find small details like this if you’re taking a really close look at ground level.
You can find the towering Melbourne citadel yourself by starting at Essendon Airport and flying northeast.
While you're looking at strange settings and spooky objects in Microsoft Flight Simulator, give our new series Fright Stimulator a shot. It's a show where we tell 'true' stories in surreal, virtual world.