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Minecraft is a very interesting program as regards the ability to build and model lo-res landscapes. There are many youtube videos showing people playing, for those unfamiliar with the game.
I propose that elevation / landform data from Google earth could be plugged into Minecraft to simulate landforms.
Google earth has elevation data and at its simplest that could be used to make a contour map. Another level of complexity could allow mapping of satellite colors to Minecraft blocks and so generation of forest, river, desert etc. Buildings and cities would be trickier although the streets would not be too tough. I imagine aerial views of shapes could be mapped to a selection of prebuilt structures which would at least approximate the footprint of built structures.
I could imagine this sort of thing being useful for planning developments - starting with a hillside and farms and roughing in a development there. The topo maps could be fun for playing with concepts like Lake Death Valley and other terraforming experiments. Cityscapes could be touched up by hand as regards actual buildings once the robot had done the heavy lifting and then used in the manner of simcity for civic planning - or give you practice in your city for the zombie apocalypse.
This is really a beauty - well made, mellow music. The author flies along over a randomly generated landscape for 3 minutes as the sun sets. [bungston, Dec 03 2013]
Ordnance Survey summer intern converts UK mapping data to Minecraft
22 billion blocks needed [hippo, Dec 03 2013]