Minecraft is an uber-popular video game with millions of estimated players every day. And now, those players have a chance to explore Baltimore, Annapolis and other parts of Central Maryland within the game.

For those who don’t know, Minecraft is an open-world sandbox game, meaning there’s no specific plot to follow or characters to interact with. Players get plopped into a randomly generated world and have to figure out how to harvest and combine different digital resources to fight monsters, survive and build structures. Everything in Minecraft is represented by a block, giving the game a retro-yet-timeless feel that’s held strong appeal since its launch in 2011.

Emanuele Maiorana, a software developer who lives in Italy, said he’s not actually familiar with the region. He created the map in Minecraft on commission from someone who lives locally. This, too, is part of the culture around Minecraft. In addition to creating fantasy worlds or recreating settings from TV shows, people use the game to explore real-world places and historic sites for educational purposes.

“This particular map was the first to integrate buildings and roads, a milestone that I have been working hard towards for the past few months and that allowed me to appreciate the variety of buildings that the city has,” Maiorana said in an interview over Reddit, where he goes by the username AtmosphericBeats.

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The project began in February this year, he said, and was published in early May. It was his first map made on a 1-to-1 scale, meaning that every in-game Minecraft block is equal to one meter in the real world.

He said he developed software that downloads data from open sources, like the U.S. Geological Survey for elevation data and OpenStreetMap for things like building heights and road shapes. Maiorana’s software takes that data, and over a number of hours, converts it into a Minecraft world.

The Central Maryland region created in Minecraft stretches from Annapolis to the Loch Raven Reservoir, and includes all points in between. (Courtesy photo/AtmosphericBeats)

“In the future I plan to also include the individual trees present in urban environments, the details of the roofs and the specific material of some buildings, fountains, bridges and tunnels,” AtmosphericBeats wrote on Reddit. “The data is there, it’s just a matter of managing it the best way possible.”

He said he works for a private Italian company that’s focused on meteorology, so he works with weather forecasting models every day. Because of that, he’s constantly analyzing geographical data — a skill set that’s been easily transferable into creating real-world maps in Minecraft.

Players who download the Minecraft map, which for now is only available for PC players, would be able to travel from the State House in Annapolis to the Port of Baltimore, to Druid Hill Park, to the Loch Raven Reservoir and everywhere in between.

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The Blocky Baltimore features buildings rendered in white blocks with empty interiors, so players could easily customize any location in the city into their dream Minecraft home. The streets are empty, devoid of cars, pedestrians or bikes, so you could build out your urban transit fantasy dream.

You could build an in-game boat and paddle down the tributaries of the Patapsco River, run around the field at Camden Yards, or create your own, block-styled renovated Harborplace.

The map uses nine of the in-game biome types, including meadow, beach, river, ocean and swamp. Other details include walking paths in Patterson Park and Federal Hill Park, winding suburban roads and a swimmable Inner Harbor.

You can download the map for free from the AtmosphericBeats Patreon.

Cody Boteler is a reporter on The Banner’s Express Desk, reporting on breaking news, trending stories and interesting things in and around Baltimore. His work has appeared in The Baltimore Sun, USA TODAY, Baltimore magazine and others.

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