Launceston council release open source Minecraft map to encourage future planners

VIRTUAL: A view of Launceston gasworks in the new Minecraft map. Picture: Supplied
VIRTUAL: A view of Launceston gasworks in the new Minecraft map. Picture: Supplied

Launceston's cityscape has been transformed into a virtual Minecraft world for avid gamers and future planners to explore.

The City of Launceston council used 3D models of the city, traditionally reserved for planning processes, to create a Minecraft map for anybody to explore.

Minecraft is a sandbox video game which can be played on almost all gaming platforms. It allows players to build, destroy and create whatever they can imagine.

Mayor Albert van Zetten said he hopes the virtual map of Launceston will encourage a new generation to engage with planning.

"The great 3D modelling that we have is absolutely fantastic for us as councillors - especially when we go to planning and we look at a new building," he said.

"This just gives an opportunity for younger people and, not so young, people who love games to be able to use the same techniques."

Council analytics team leader Jarred Ranson said the map was quite simple to put together.

He said the Light Detection and Ranging models could easier be uploaded to create a java script Minecraft map.

"The way Launceston is replicated within the game world is interesting, because we're bringing two imperfect visualisation techniques together," Mr Ranson said.

Launceston council analytics team leader Jarred Ranson and Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten. Picture: Craig George

Launceston council analytics team leader Jarred Ranson and Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten. Picture: Craig George

"For example, LiDAR is very good for the purposes we use it for within council, but it isn't perfect.

"And people familiar with Minecraft will also know a Minecraft map consists entirely of uniformly sized 'blocks'. So there are some quite interesting replications of small objects like street signs, rubbish bins and traffic lights, as well as larger objects like trees or vehicles."

Mr Ranson said the map would be a good introduction to 3D modelling and planning.

"I think it is a good introduction for people into how skills like 3D modelling and playing video games can turn into careers that you can make money or find a professional interest [through] that passion you have for video games," he said.

You can download the map of Launceston here.

This story Launceston landmarks go virtual in Minecraft world first appeared on The Examiner.