Kelowna Minecraft world a gateway to explore open data

November 18, 2020

To mark GIS Day (Geographic Information Systems), the City of Kelowna has released a Minecraft world that digitally recreates Kelowna’s landscape using a variety of data sets.

The Minecraft game allows players to explore a 3D world and create a built environment by extracting raw materials, crafting tools and building structures or earthworks. It’s a game enjoyed by more than 120 million people worldwide.

“Cities collect geospatial data on lots of things – from public facilities to the terrain that makes our city unique,” said Jazz Pabla, Information Services Director at the City of Kelowna. “We are hoping our younger residents will enjoy discovering and creating a world of possibilities through the data in this new accessible format.”

The City has approximately 150 data sets available to the public for transparency, insight and experimentation through its Open Data portal. The Minecraft world gives people interested in technology, information and planning an accessible way into open data sets.

“We are constantly looking to use data to tell a story about our City and we saw this as an opportunity to introduce more people to our open data offerings,” said Pabla. “Who knows, maybe a young person who starts off with the Kelowna Minecraft world gets more interested in GIS and goes on to a profession in information technology or planning.”

The first formal GIS Day took place in 1999 with the goal of inviting people to learn about geography and the use of GIS to create understanding of the world we live in. Today, communities around the world participate in GIS Day in a variety of events, programs and talks that showcase the characteristics of our community while sharing the many uses of GIS.