Minecraft map of Great Britain created by Ordnance Survey

It's the Ordnance Survey's job to map every inch of the country, to aid in the creation of elaborately folded maps. You have to assume that they've already done that. Great Britain's only so big, after all. Which might explain why they've had enough spare time to do this: recreate the entirety of country in Minecraft, using over 22 billion blocks to map terrain, roads and rivers.

Worry not, map fans. The project was undertaken by intern Joseph Braybrook, who, in collaboration with OS's Innovation Labs team, ported a 3D model of the country into the block-building sandbox. As a result, the rest of the agency were free to concentrate on their stated aim of making increasingly accurate top-down drawings of Daventry.

"We think we may have created the largest Minecraft world ever built based on real-world data," OS Innovation Lab manager Graham Dunlop told the BBC . "The resulting map shows the massive potential not just for using Minecraft for computer technology and geography purposes in schools, but also the huge scope of applications for OS OpenData too."

The OS OpenData project page describes the process of squishing Britain into a Minecraft map format:

"Each blocks represents a ground area of 50 square metres. The raw height data is stored in metres and must be scaled down to fit within the 256 block height limit in Minecraft. A maximum height of 2 500 metres was chosen, which means Ben Nevis, appears just over 128 blocks high. Although this exaggerates the real-world height, it preserves low-lying coastal features such as Bournemouth's cliffs, adding interest to the landscape."

Afterwards, specific blocks had to be chosen to represent the map's features. Built up areas are displayed as bricks, motorways are diamonds, A-roads made from gold, and B-roads are pumpkins. Just like in real life.

Download and install the 3.6GB map file, and you'll spawn at OS's HQ in Southampton. Alternatively, just wait: the map file is bound to become the basis of more than a few multiplayer servers, offering an easier way to mooch around the landmass, and fill it out with more detailed recreations of various landmarks. Or with nobs.

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.