Last year I sent this to a friend who works in the cloud storage business as an idea for a good way to show off that product.

On Wed, Apr 17, 2019 at 11:13:26AM -0400, Chris X Edwards wrote:

My hasty calculations show that a Minecraft world (32meter X 32meter chunk at ~5MB each) would require about 2.5PB for a 1:1 server of the entire earth. A 1:1000 server has just started but I’m thinking ahead. :-)

That was just a very rough idea of what would be required but other people were apparently thinking of this more seriously. Check out this video describing a project that has successfully built a 1 to 1 scale model of the entire earth in Minecraft!

The special thing about MC is that it is actually quite coarse. That is why such a massive project is feasible. A map of this scale in some other kind of engine would have to be very sparse and even then it would be uncomfortably rough (like MC, but not in a pleasant structured way) and empty.

In ancient times (the early 1990s) AutoCAD shipped with a neat demo file containing a full scale 1:1 model of the entire solar system. They had a 1km object on the moon (ours) and all the other objects of our solar system were roughed in to scale. That demo was quite interesting to get a sense of what the capabilities and scale of computer floating point numbers were (2 to the 32 power is around 4.3 billion and that is about how many km Pluto is from the sun at perihelion).

In games like Space Engineers which have some minimal terraforming capabilities, you’re deforming a sparse shell. In MC, it’s real volume. This means that this Minecraft model of the earth is ready to incorporate bathymetric surveys of the ocean depths and subterranean geotechnical data (from petroleum exploration, for example).

Here is a wonderful project from the British Geological Survey that has modeled the real geology of Britain in Minecraft.

To jump an order of magnitude linearly from 1m resolution to 10cm is harder than a 10x increase in resources — it’s 1000x because of this volumetric quality. But a decimeter model of the earth in real scale would be pretty amazing and useful. And probably in our future!

At least the kids now have something as useful as school to work on!

UPDATE 2020-04-01

Check out the wave of projects that students are working on to recreate their closed schools in Minecraft.

Frankly this is the best use of practical shared virtual reality I have seen.