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Map item format

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Maps do not store their information in the item - instead, their data value corresponds to the map number (ID) of a saved file. Their information is placed in the "data" directory within the world's save directory. Each map has its own file associated with its ID, and there is one file that keeps track of the highest (= most recently created) map ID. This is limited to the size of a short (32,768).[1] When Notch was adding them the first time he did not use the NBT format.[2]

When used in the Nether, maps render as a kind of static, making them unreadable.

Data folder structure[edit | edit source]

The file idcounts.dat contains the latest ID for current map. Each map's file name uses the format map_<#>.dat, where <#> is the map's unique number.

map_<#>.dat format[edit | edit source]

map_<#>.dat files are GZip'd NBT files.

NBT structure[edit | edit source]


  • The root tag.

    •  data: The map data.

      •  scale: How zoomed in the map is (it is in 2scale blocks square per pixel, even for 0, where the map will be 1:1). Default 3, minimum 0 and maximum 4.

      •  dimension: 0 = The Overworld, -1 = The Nether, 1 = The End, any other value = map is a static image with no player pin.

      •  height: Height of map. Default (and only possible value) 128

      •  width: Width of map. Default (and only possible value) 128

      •  trackingPosition: 1 (default) indicates that a positional arrow should be shown when the map is near its center coords. 0 indicates that the position arrow should never be shown.

      •  unlimitedTracking: 1 (default) allows the player position indicator to show as a smaller dot on the map's edge when the player is farther than 320 * (scale+1) blocks from the map's center. 0 will make the dot instead disappear when the player is farther than this distance.

      •  xCenter: Center of map according to real world by X

      •  zCenter: Center of map according to real world by Z

      •  colors: Width * Height array of color values (16384 entries for a default 128x128 map). Color can be accessed via the following method: colorID = Colors[widthOffset + heightOffset * width], where (widthOffset==0, heightOffset==0) is left upper point.

When this structure is loaded, Colors array is transformed to standard dimension (if it's necessary) and then structure is saved with standard height and width.

idcounts.dat format[edit | edit source]

This file keeps track of the latest map added. It is stored as a raw (uncompressed) NBT file.

NBT structure[edit | edit source]


  • The root tag.

    •  map: Latest map ID.

Color table[edit | edit source]

Maps use a color table to store the colors efficiently by ID.

Base colors[edit | edit source]

Blocks are colored according to their material. Each material has a base color which is multiplied by 180, 220 or 255, and then divided by 255 to make the map color. Each base color below is associated with four map colors - to get the first map color ID for a base color, multiply the base color ID by 4.

Color Table
ID Color RGB Corresponding Blocks
Non-Transparent Transparent[note 1]
0 Transparent Glass, Glass Pane, Flower Pot, Ladder, Button, Lever, Redstone Repeater, Redstone Comparator, Redstone Dust, Torch, Redstone Torch, Redstone Lamp, Rail, Powered Rail, Detector Rail, Activator Rail, Tripwire, Tripwire Hook, Cake, Mob Head, Nether Portal, End Rod, all Shulker Boxes, Barrier, Structure Void, Air, unexplored areas
1 127, 178, 56 Grass Block Slime Block
2 247, 233, 163 Sand, Sandstone (plain, Smooth, Chiseled, Stairs, Slab), Birch Wood (vertical Log, Planks, Stairs, Slab), Mushroom Block with "pores" texture facing up, Bone Block, Glowstone, End Stone, End Stone Bricks Birch Wood (Door, Fence, Fence Gate)
3 199, 199, 199 Mushroom Block with "stem" texture facing up, Cobweb 1.12 Onwards: Bed head
Before 1.12: Bed head and foot
4 255, 0, 0 TNT, Block of Redstone, Lava Fire
5 160, 160, 255 Ice, Frosted Ice, Packed Ice
6 167, 167, 167 Block of Iron Iron Door, Iron Trapdoor, Iron Bars, Weighted Pressure Plate (Heavy), Anvil, Brewing Stand
7 0, 124, 0 Leaves Sapling, Tall Grass, Flower, Lily Pad, Wheat, Carrots, Potatoes, Beetroots, Sugar Canes, Pumpkin Stem, Melon Stem, Cactus, Vines, Cocoa, small red or brown Mushroom
8 255, 255, 255 White Wool, Snow Block Snow Layer, White Carpet, White Stained Glass, White Stained Glass Pane
1.12 Onwards: White Bed foot, White Glazed Terracotta, White Concrete, White Concrete Powder
Before 1.12: White Stained Hardened Clay
9 164, 168, 184 Clay, Silverfish/Monster Egg (Stone, Cobblestone, Stone Brick, Mossy Stone Brick, Cracked Stone Brick, Chiseled Stone Brick)
10 151, 109, 77 Jungle Wood (vertical Log, Planks, Stairs, Slab), Brown Mushroom Block with "cap" texture facing up, Dirt, Coarse Dirt, Jukebox, Granite (plain, Polished), Farmland, Grass Path Jungle Wood (Door, Fence, Fence Gate)
11 112, 112, 112 Cobblestone (block, Stairs, Slab), Stone (block, Slab), Stone Brick (plain, Cracked, Chiseled, Stairs, Slab), Moss Stone, Mossy Stone Bricks, Gravel, Andesite (plain, Polished), Ore (Coal, Iron, Gold, Redstone, Lapis Lazuli, Diamond, Emerald), Bedrock, Furnace, Dispenser, Dropper, Hopper, Observer, horizontal Acacia Log Cobblestone Wall, Mossy Cobblestone Wall, Stone Pressure Plate, Cauldron, Piston and Sticky Piston (base, Head, Extension), Ender Chest, Monster Spawner
12 64, 64, 255 Water
13 143, 119, 72 Oak Wood (vertical Log, Planks, Stairs, Slab), Crafting Table, Bookshelf, Note Block Oak Wood (Door, Fence, Fence Gate), Dead Bush, Wooden Pressure Plate, Wooden Trapdoor, Sign, Chest, Trapped Chest, Banner, Daylight Sensor
14 255, 252, 245 Horizontal Birch Log, Diorite (plain, Polished), Quartz (Block, Chiseled, Pillar, Stairs, Slab), Sea Lantern
15 216, 127, 51 Acacia Wood (vertical Log, Planks, Stairs, Slab), Orange Wool, Orange Carpet, Pumpkin, Jack o'Lantern, Red Sand, Red Sandstone (plain, Smooth, Chiseled, Stairs, Slab), Terracotta/Hardened Clay
1.12 Onwards: Orange Glazed Terracotta, Orange Concrete, Orange Concrete Powder
Before 1.12: Orange Stained Hardened Clay
Acacia Wood (Door, Fence, Fence Gate), Orange Stained Glass, Orange Stained Glass Pane
1.12 Onwards: Orange Bed foot
16 178, 76, 216 Purpur (Block, Pillar, Slab), Magenta Wool
1.12 Onwards: Magenta Glazed Terracotta, Magenta Concrete, Magenta Concrete Powder
Before 1.12: Magenta Stained Hardened Clay
Magenta Carpet, Magenta Stained Glass, Magenta Stained Glass Pane
1.12 Onwards: Magenta Bed foot
17 102, 153, 216 Light Blue Wool
1.12 Onwards: Light Blue Glazed Terracotta, Light Blue Concrete, Light Blue Concrete Powder
Before 1.12: Light Blue Stained Hardened Clay
Light Blue Carpet, Light Blue Stained Glass, Light Blue Stained Glass Pane
1.12 Onwards: Light Blue Bed foot
18 229, 229, 51 Hay Bale, Sponge, Wet Sponge, Yellow Wool
1.12 Onwards: Yellow Glazed Terracotta, Yellow Concrete, Yellow Concrete Powder
Before 1.12: Yellow Stained Hardened Clay
Yellow Carpet, Yellow Stained Glass, Yellow Stained Glass Pane
1.12 Onwards: Yellow Bed foot
19 127, 204, 25 Melon, Lime Wool
1.12 Onwards: Lime Glazed Terracotta, Lime Concrete, Lime Concrete Powder
Before 1.12: Lime Stained Hardened Clay
Lime Carpet, Lime Stained Glass, Lime Stained Glass Pane
1.12 Onwards: Lime Bed foot
20 242, 127, 165 Pink Wool
1.12 Onwards: Pink Glazed Terracotta, Pink Concrete, Pink Concrete Powder
Before 1.12: Pink Stained Hardened Clay
Pink Carpet, Pink Stained Glass, Pink Stained Glass Pane
1.12 Onwards: Pink Bed foot
21 76, 76, 76 Gray Wool
1.12 Onwards: Gray Glazed Terracotta, Gray Concrete, Gray Concrete Powder
Before 1.12: Gray Stained Hardened Clay
Gray Carpet, Gray Stained Glass, Gray Stained Glass Pane
1.12 Onwards: Gray Bed foot
22 153, 153, 153 Structure Block, Light Gray Wool
1.12 Onwards: Light Gray Glazed Terracotta, Light Gray Concrete, Light Gray Concrete Powder
Before 1.12: Light Gray Stained Hardened Clay
Light Gray Carpet, Light Gray Stained Glass, Light Gray Stained Glass Pane
1.12 Onwards: Light Gray Bed foot
23 76, 127, 153 Prismarine, Cyan Wool
1.12 Onwards: Cyan Glazed Terracotta, Cyan Concrete, Cyan Concrete Powder
Before 1.12: Cyan Stained Hardened Clay
Cyan Carpet, Cyan Stained Glass, Cyan Stained Glass Pane
1.12 Onwards: Cyan Bed foot
24 127, 63, 178 Repeating Command Block, Mycelium, Purple Wool
1.12 Onwards: Purple Glazed Terracotta, Purple Concrete, Purple Concrete Powder
Before 1.12: Purple Stained Hardened Clay
Chorus Flower, Chorus Plant, Purple Carpet, Purple Stained Glass, Purple Stained Glass Pane
1.12 Onwards: Purple Bed foot
25 51, 76, 178 Blue Wool
1.12 Onwards: Blue Glazed Terracotta, Blue Concrete, Blue Concrete Powder
Before 1.12: Blue Stained Hardened Clay
Blue Carpet, Blue Stained Glass, Blue Stained Glass Pane
1.12 Onwards: Blue Bed foot
26 102, 76, 51 Dark Oak Wood (vertical or horizontal Log, Planks, Stairs, Slab), horizontal Spruce Log, Impulse Command Block, Soul Sand, Brown Wool
1.12 Onwards: Brown Glazed Terracotta, Brown Concrete, Brown Concrete Powder
Before 1.12: Brown Stained Hardened Clay
Dark Oak Wood (Door, Fence, Fence Gate), Brown Carpet, Brown Stained Glass, Brown Stained Glass Pane
1.12 Onwards: Brown Bed foot
27 102, 127, 51 Chain Command Block, Green Wool
1.12 Onwards: Green Glazed Terracotta, Green Concrete, Green Concrete Powder
Before 1.12: Green Stained Hardened Clay
End Portal, Green Carpet, Green Stained Glass, Green Stained Glass Pane
1.12 Onwards: Green Bed foot
28 153, 51, 51 Bricks (block, Slab, Stairs), Nether Wart Block, Red Wool
1.12 Onwards: Red Glazed Terracotta, Red Concrete, Red Concrete Powder
Before 1.12: Red Stained Hardened Clay, Red Mushroom Block with "cap" texture facing up
Nether Wart, Enchantment Table, Red Carpet, Red Stained Glass, Red Stained Glass Pane
1.12 Onwards: Red Bed foot
29 25, 25, 25 Block of Coal, Obsidian, Black Wool
1.12 Onwards: Black Glazed Terracotta, Black Concrete, Black Concrete Powder
Before 1.12: Black Stained Hardened Clay
Dragon Egg, End Gateway, End Portal, Black Carpet, Black Stained Glass, Black Stained Glass Pane
1.12 Onwards: Black Bed foot
30 250, 238, 77 Block of Gold Weighted Pressure Plate (Light)
31 92, 219, 213 Block of Diamond, Prismarine Bricks, Dark Prismarine Beacon
32 74, 128, 255 Lapis Lazuli Block
33 0, 217, 58 Block of Emerald
34 129, 86, 49 Spruce Wood (vertical Log, Planks, Stairs, Slab), horizontal Oak Log, horizontal Jungle Log, Podzol Spruce Wood (Door, Fence, Fence Gate)
35 112, 2, 0 Netherrack, Nether Brick, Nether Brick Stairs, Red Nether Brick, Nether Quartz Ore, Magma Block Nether Brick Fence
36 209, 177, 161 1.12 Onwards: White Terracotta
37 159, 82, 36 1.12 Onwards: Orange Terracotta
38 149, 87, 108 1.12 Onwards: Magenta Terracotta
39 112, 108, 138 1.12 Onwards: Light Blue Terracotta
40 186, 133, 36 1.12 Onwards: Yellow Terracotta
41 103, 117, 53 1.12 Onwards: Lime Terracotta
42 160, 77, 78 1.12 Onwards: Pink Terracotta
43 57, 41, 35 1.12 Onwards: Gray Terracotta
44 135, 107, 98 1.12 Onwards: Light Gray Terracotta
45 87, 92, 92 1.12 Onwards: Cyan Terracotta
46 122, 73, 88 1.12 Onwards: Purple Terracotta
47 76, 62, 92 1.12 Onwards: Blue Terracotta
48 76, 50, 35 1.12 Onwards: Brown Terracotta
49 76, 82, 42 1.12 Onwards: Green Terracotta
50 142, 60, 46 1.12 Onwards: Red Terracotta
51 37, 22, 16 1.12 Onwards: Black Terracotta
  1. These blocks only appear on the map as the listed colour when a non-transparent block is directly underneath; otherwise, they appear as transparent. For the purposes of this table, "transparent" means with a light-opacity of 0, which excludes partially opaque blocks like cobwebs.

Map colors[edit | edit source]

Each base color above has 4 associated map colors below. The conversion works by multiplying each of the red, green, and blue values by a value and then dividing by 255, finally rounding down to a whole number. As of weekly snapshot 13w42b, the fourth base color variant is now multiplied by 135, providing a darker set of colors rather than just a clone of the second base color variant.

Map Color ID Multiply R,G,B By
Base Color ID*4 + 0 180
Base Color ID*4 + 1 220
Base Color ID*4 + 2 255 (same color)
Base Color ID*4 + 3 135

Map Pixel Art[edit | edit source]

Redstonehelper uses the staircase method in survival

People have used the map to create pixel art. The default map has an image size of 128x128 and will read each block as a specific color. By placing blocks in a specific arrangement, it is possible to create pixel art images.

Methods for creating map pixel art is either flat, or staircase. With the flat method, you have 36 colors to work with and is a lot easier to create an image. With the staircase, you have 108 colors and is a lot more difficult to work with. For the staircase method, blocks are placed at different elevations to obtain the extra 2/3 of the colors. By placing a block higher or lower than the block north of it, or topside of the map, you can create a brighter or darker shade than the normal flat color.

With the flat method, the 2nd shade of each color group on the lists below can be used. For the staircase method, the first 3 shades of the colors groups below can be used. The 4th shade can not be obtained in traditional gameplay, but with the use of an external tool.

1.8.1 Color Table[edit | edit source]

Note: The description may not list every possible block. Example: In 1.8.1, any block that uses colored wool can also use colored carpet or colored pane glass.

1.7.2 Color Table[edit | edit source]

Original Color Table[edit | edit source]

Code examples[edit | edit source]


This section is a stub. Please help us by expanding it.
Library name Language Link to Map-related code
MCModify Java Map.java
minecraftmap Python __init__.py
mcmapimg Python mcmapimg.py

References[edit | edit source]