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BYU-Idaho student creating “custom map” of Madison County in Minecraft

A Minecraft build of the parking lot area where C-A-L Ranch in Rexburg is located. | Courtesy whiffdog.minecraft Instagram
REXBURG — A local man’s idea to build Rexburg in a popular video game is in the works.
Drew Whiffen, a 24-year-old student at Brigham Young University-Idaho, is the project lead for the Rexburg Map Project that encompasses all of Madison County. The project is being made to play on Minecraft, a virtual 3D video game where users can generate content. Whiffen is responsible to help with the planning, detailing and adding landscaping to places such as BYU-Idaho.
“I created a custom map in Minecraft. I took a picture of the topography of Madison County and replicated it into a map,” Whiffen explained. “The hill up by the temple even down to the Menan Butte, everything is topographically accurate. I painted where the roads would be. … As soon as we make the roads, then we start with the zoning and building.”
The map — which is roughly 25% complete — got underway last summer and so far, roughly 300 hours have been put into it. Their server has 800 community members from around the world and 80 builders. Of the 80 builders, six of them are assigned to the Rexburg project.
“(With) a server, you can have as many people as you want join and then you have these channels you can chat in. … On that Discord server, we coordinate our projects,” he said. “This server … is really immaculate. It’s not your typical Minecraft where you and your friends get on and do whatever you want. We have a specific way of doing things.”

Hemming Village in Rexburg that was built in Minecraft. | Courtesywhiffdog.minecraft Instagram
Whiffen, a Utah native, said he wanted to help create a map that reflects Rexburg since that is where he currently lives. He pointed out there are bigger city maps such as New York, Mexico and Montreal but not of a “small college town.”
“I purposed this to our server administrators and they said, ‘Yeah, it’s great,’” Whiffen recalled. “This map has actually been the most popular map on our server of 800 people because it’s new and different. Most people have been working on giant cities.”
Whiffen created the C-A-L Ranch parking lot and added “cracks in weathered areas” and potholes in the road. Not only is the exterior of buildings going to mimic the reality of them, but every building on campus will be furnished inside and also completely accurate with the details, he noted.
“We mainly use Google Maps and Google Maps has some interior 360 photos,” Whiffen explained about furnishing the interiors. “We’ve also googled images online and there’s been some architectural renders … or I’ll go inside myself and snap a few pictures for references.”
The end goal is to complete Madison County and make it available to download so people can “do whatever they want to it.” They are hoping to have it finished by summer 2024.
“(They) can blow up buildings or create a zombie world where they fight zombies in Rexburg like a post-apocalyptic Rexburg,” he mentioned.
Finding the motivation to continue working on the map has been a struggle at times for Whiffen because of how big the project is. But at the same time, he feels rewarded when he pushes through the challenges and reflects on what he’s built.
“Once you find that mental will and determination to get something done, you can do it,” Whiffen stated. “For me, the snow and dark clouds during the winter has made me depressed. How I cope with that and hardships in life has been finding something that I’m good at and something to accomplish.”
To follow along for updates on the project, click here.
Whiffen also said anyone interested in building on the map can apply here.

A Minecraft build of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Rexburg Temple. | Courtesywhiffdog.minecraft Instagram

A Minecraft build of the outside track at BYU-Idaho. | Courtesywhiffdog.minecraft Instagram
The post BYU-Idaho student creating “custom map” of Madison County in Minecraft appeared first on East Idaho News.

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