I'm a developer trying to procedurally generate a Minecraft map based on the real Earth. I've recently spent a few days looking for Earth data for my generator to use, but I've found very few good results.

Here's a list of data sets I could use for generating such a map:

  • Elevation
  • Bathymetric (undersea depth)
  • Vegetation(coverage percentage, type of vegetation, etc.)
  • Soil type
  • Crust composition data
  • Water salinity

I'm extremely new to global data collection, so there's probably a host of other properties which could improve the map. However, I've not been able to find a consistent source for getting such data. I've found a few sources, but each of them has problems.

For example, this land-cover dataset has decent vegetation and soil maps, but their resolution is 1 degree² per pixel and there are a large amount of holes. Ideally, I'm looking for something at least with a resolution of 0.01² degrees (36 arcseconds). For this project, I'm looking for maps in/convertible to the Miller or equirectangular projection.

If there are absolutely no other options, I can just use a vector tracing algorithm to roughly upscale the vegetation maps and then fill in the holes, but that should be a last resort.

  • I think it is unlikely that you will find any global data sets with that data, you will have to stitch together datasets from different regions, and gathered at different resolutions. Once you have your global Minecraft map, you could perhaps ground truth it against the United Kingdom (for Geology and Topology) see GB geology with Minecraft
    – nmtoken
    Jan 7, 2017 at 9:22
  • I'm curious if this question was resolved and what the progress has been on this type of activity. Aug 19, 2017 at 1:30

2 Answers 2


There are many resources listed in This previous post.

Notice in particular NaturalEarth has many useful maps.


You'd have to combine many sources. And your target resolution is very high!

  • For elevation, I would suggest the well-known SRTM, available at 30 m resolution globally, availble through this: https://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/

  • For vegetation data, you might use the landuse, landcover and natural tags of OpenStreetMap (OSM). See http://osmlanduse.org for a specific version of the OSM database focused on landuse. You can have information about how downloading OSM data on this page and that one (the latter link being about the specific tool "overpass API" that is widely used to query the OSM database). OSM has different degree of completeness/resolution worlwide but some areas are mapped at a very high scale.

  • Some global sources of soil type data usually used in environnemental research, but their resolution might be too coarse or your application:


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