1860s Manhattan, Mapped in Minecraft

May 9, 2014 | Andy Cush

Recently, developers at the New York Public Library dipped into the institution’s vast archive of historical maps and converted a tract of uptown Manhattan land into a Minecraft world. The video above shows Fort Washington — near 160th Street and the Hudson River — as it looked in 1860, according to the vintage contour map the team worked from.

Writes Leonard Richardson of NYPL labs:

The world we created is faithful to the original map, but it doesn’t look like the real Fort Washington of 1860. Our world only shows what the map shows. Real buildings are three-dimensional structures made of varying materials, not the uniform two-dimensional outlines shown on the map. We could represent trees and vegetation in Minecraft if we knew where to put them, but they’re not shown on the original map, so we don’t have them in our world.

Download the world and read more about the group’s process here.