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Who put that there? Flight Simulator users find the world’s strangest landmarks

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October 20, 2020 at 08:30AM

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Far from moaning about the glitches, players are experimenting with everything from community fly-ins to planes operated live by Twitch groups

The building stood 212 storeys high, piercing the skyline like some kind of alien monument. The pilots who discovered it while flying over a quiet Melbourne suburb quickly reported their findings on forums and social media, drawing other fascinated spectators. Soon, they were visiting in their thousands.

The building is not real – it exists only within Flight Simulator 2020, the latest in Microsoft’s 35-year-old series. And what players quickly realised was that it was the product of a slight mathematical error. Flight Simulator bases its reproduction of the entire surface of the planet on data from a range of sources including the OpenStreetMap, an open source mapping application maintained by volunteers. One such volunteer, Australian student Nathan Wright accidentally entered a particular building height as 212 storeys rather than 12. No one corrected it, so the Flight Simulator program used the data as it stood. Hence: super skyscraper.

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