Navigate Southampton in Minecraft

This activity forms part of the University of Southampton's annual Science and Engineering festival which is online this year due to the virus crisis.

Quick Start

If you just want to get started, read the rules below, then use Java/PC Minecraft v1.16 to connect to multiplayer server


A few years back we created a tool that takes open data from Open Streetmap and DEFRA to create Minecraft maps of English cities. Normally we let you explore these models at the science and engineering festival (and build on them and blow them up!). As we can't do that in person this year, we're going to have to take this online.

So what we've done is add forty thousand sign posts to our map of Southampton naming most roads.


To try this activity you will require:

Connecting to our server

First of all the Rules...


Make sure you are on version 1.16 of Minecraft. Select [Multiplayer] and connect to server and if everything goes as planned you should find yourself on University Road outside the Library. [View on Open Streetmap].


Get around as you would as normal in Minecraft WASD to move, space to jump. You can't fly as that would be cheating and you can't break or build things or else we'd end up with bases and TNT holes everywhere!


If you don't have a paper map then a mapping up on a phone or a map website will work too.

Special features

A couple of things that we've added to help you get around.


Our special "skyhook" (an arrow in your inventory bar). If you "use" this it'll fling you up into the sky. As you fall you can drift a little , so this helps you if you get stuck in a hole. It also lets you have a cheeky look around. We've turned off damaging from falling, so you won't get splatted.


The point of this server is to learn and practice navigation so we are only providing two teleport locations for when you are lost, want to start over. You can teleport to the University of Southampton Highfield Campus /warp uni and to the Bargate /warp bargate


Solo Challenge 1

Use a map to navigate from Highfield Campus to Bitterne Triangle. Or follow the sat nav:

  • Head South on University Road
  • Continue on Church Lane
  • Turn left into Highfield Lane
  • Continue on St Denys Road
  • Continue over Cobden Bridge
  • You have reached your destination!
Solo Challenge 2

Starting from Highfield Campus, use a map to find and travel to:

  • The boating lake on the Common
  • The Dell (old Southampton Football stadium)
  • Southampton Central Station
  • Guildhall Square
  • The bandstand in Palmerston Park
  • The Bargate
  • The Town Quay
  • The University of Southampton Waterfront Campus
Solo Challenge 3

How quickly can you get all they way from the Bargate to the Airport?

Solo Challenge 4

If you live in Southampton, can you find your house and school? Can you find your way If so be smart, and don't tell anybody online where you live.


One person is at the computer and the other person has the map. The person with the computer isn't allowed to look at the map. The person with the map isn't allowed to look at the computer ... can you complete the solo challenges by working as a well oiled team? This probably works best in one household but maybe you could do it via a phonecall or video chat?


o or more players agree a race. It should start at either Bargate or Highfield Campus so you can make sure everyone can easily get their using /warp bargate or /warp uni. You should all agree a finish line. Suggested race routes:

  • From Highfield campus to the North end of Southampton Airport runway.
  • From the Bargate to the pitch of the St Mary's football stadium.

Or pick your own.

Questions and Answers

Can I have my own copy which I can build on.

Sure you can. But it is BIG. Maybe you can polish an area of Southampton to make it look more realistic. Maybe realistic is boring and you can make Southampton better or more futuristic. We'd love to see some screen shots-- contact Chris Gutteridge at

Download this file and unzip it into your Minecraft "saves" directory.

The data used to build this file is copyright DEFRA and Openstreetmap contributors. Used under open licenses. You may use and share our model under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license (CC BY-SA).

How big is the map?
Well, there's a few ways to measure it...
On your computer it takes up 1.7 Gigabytes.
But to download it (as a ZIP) is only 213 Megabytes (0.2 Gigabytes).
In the real world the area covered is just over ten by eleven km, so 110kmĀ².
In Minecraft that's just over 10,000 by 11,000 blocks or 110 MILLION blocks in area!
Or, in human terms, it goes all the way from the very edge of Fairoak to Nursling to Marchwood to Hamble.
How come some stuff is just grey wool blocks?
We use free 3D data from DEFRA to get the height of the ground and height of the thing on top of the ground (if any). Normally we make the ground stone and the thing on top grey blocks, but then we look on open streetmap and spot if this location is a building, water, a road or grass and adjust the blocks if it is. Sometimes the data does not match up because the shapes are from a few years back and the map is up to date. But hey, it's good enough for us to have some fun.
How come there's weird 3 block high rectangles on some roads?
Funny story. On most of the map we use a "noise filter" which removes features that are only one or two blocks high as they are people, cars, stuff like that. We leave them on grass as it looks nice there. But our filter doesn't catch busses and trains so you can sometimes spot those. Well, we thought it was funny when we worked out what on Earth they were.
Er, some of this map has holes in with a nearly flat map in the hole!?
Yeah, so the 3D data is gathered by planes now and then. It's not got perfect coverage so there's bits where we just don't have data for so that's just flat, although it makes buildings 3 blocks high. If you need to travel over this bit, just fall down (falling is safe) then use the skyhook to get back up on the other side.

Get in Touch

If you have any questions or ideas we'd love to hear from you at