A Learning and Operating System for Alternative Schools

Don't lose track - the map of Minetest

2021-03-06 Minetest

Use the Mapserver Mod.

If you play in Minetest, you will soon notice that the world is quite big. To be exact, 61839 * 61839 * 61839 nodes big. Thus, a discovery tour can become also sometimes an odyssey, if one does not find the way back any more.

The easiest way out is “to die”, because then you resurrect at the starting point of the game. This can be achieved, for example, by staying under water for a longer time or by crashing from a higher altitude while flying.

But what if you would like to revisit the place you discovered? Then this method fails. And in survival mode, dying isn’t so good either, because you lose your items.

To make it easier for you to find your way around and to see who else is in the game, we have set up an extra map server. Just like Google Maps, it shows you where you are and what the world around you looks like. And just like the map, you can zoom in and out.

Our world looks like in the next figure when the map is all zoomed out. You can only see the explored areas, so the rest is a white spot on the map (gray here, and of course, like everything in Minetest, the world is square).


If you zoom in further, you can see the landscape and also the players, as shown in the picture. About in the middle you can see my player figure. If you click on it, you can also see the name of the point.


You can access the server with a browser. You have to be in the same network as the Minetest server and then call the address http://minetestserveradresse:8080. Zooming can be done with the +- symbols in the upper left corner or with the mouse wheel.

The colored dots are “POIs”, i.e. “Points of Interest”. How do they appear? Quite simple - you search for a brick called “poi” in the game inventory and place it where the point of interest is in the landscape. Then right click and assign a name. For the symbol you have to assign a name: There is an overview here . You can enter the selected name into the icon field.

By the way, you can also search for them in the game: with search poi * you can find all buried blocks and teleport to them. This is a functional duplication of the mod acmgit/minetest_poi, which is why I don’t use that anymore.

Technical Things to Setup Yourself

If you have your own Minetest server, you can use the module as follows.


github repository: .

Since this uses an external component (the program that creates the map and displays it as a web page), there is a bit more to set up than usual.

Mapserver Setup

The installation is well described on Github, so here’s a quick run-through:

  1. download mapserver-
  2. unpack the program and put it into the directory with the world data.
  3. start the program (of course it has to be running all the time if you use the server, but it can be off in between). Let the browser point to the computer address port 8080, so http://localhost:8080 if it is the same computer. The program will run for a while the first time until the mapserver shows something.
  4. in the world directory there is now among other things a mapserver.json file. In this file there is an entry secretkey in the section webapi. We have to copy the value for this (without quotes), we need it right away to set up the mod

Mapserver Mod Setup

The mod package is the modification of the Minetest game to ensure the transfer of the player position and POIs.

  1. download mod from
  2. unpack mod and copy it to the mod directory.
  3. add to the modlist of the world with load_mod_mapserver=true.

In the minetest.conf file in the configuration directory we have to enter the web server:

``conf secure.http_mods = mapserver mapserver.url = http://localhost:8080 mapserver.enable_crafting = true mapserver.key = thekeywithoutquotes

4. now restart the Minetest server once again and the spier figures as well as the set POIs should be visible on the map. 

For a permanent use you have to set up the runtime environment so that the program runs stable, for example by `systemd` and that the URLs are set correctly.