In my role as Creative Lead for Global City Futures I was asked to explore the possibility of developing a project using Minecraft that would support the goals of Exeter City Futures.
As the idea was initially inspired by a Minecraft map of the UK generated from Open Data, and given my familiarity with the work the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM) had been doing with historic maps of Exeter in Minecraft, I proposed developing a Minecraft map of Exeter generated from Open Data that would build on this work. The map would be used to engage young people in urban planning by encouraging them to redesign their city in a sustainable way.
After researching various methods of generating the map I settled on Geocraft, created by Christopher Gutteridge from the University of Southampton. With the support of Christopher I was able to generate a 4km2 map of the city centre, encompassing key landmarks such as Exeter Cathedral, RAMM, and Exeter College.
Initially the project ran from May 2018 until February 2019, with regular meetups to engage with young people around the project and discuss ideas, culminating with the Exeter 2025 Minecraft Challenge Day at RAMM.
A month before the Exeter 2025 Minecraft Challenge Day at RAMM the Minecraft Education team filmed a workshop at Exeter College to demonstrate an innovative use of the game, effectively turning the event into a relaunch of the project.