From Pixels to Points: The Common Ground of Geospatial Mapping and Video Games

There are some households who will still be able to remember when their parents might have considered video games something of a waste of time, though everyone’s parents might have used different wording. Today, we live in a future where video games and online tournaments bring in more money than manufacturing – and who’s laughing now? The geospatial mapping technology used in our industry, including land surveying, 3D scanning, and ground-penetrating radar, shares some similarities with video games in terms of their use of advanced digital visualization and data processing. Here are a few ways they are similar.

From Pixels to Points: The Common Ground of Geospatial Mapping and Video Games

Gaming has crossed over into several industries, and geospatial mapping is just one of the blends that have taken gaming into a more realistic future. Geospatial mapping was reserved for geologists, engineers, and architects, but these days the same technology can be used by gamers, programmers, and modders.

Here’s how geospatial mapping has influenced the world of video game programming.

What is Geospatial Mapping?

Geospatial mapping refers to a technique that creates a layered, often three-dimensional representation of an area. Usually, this is used to create topographical maps – but that’s not all it’s used for, and these days it’s become a powerful technique used in gaming, too.

People want their games to be a certain amount of realistic. If a game is set in Colorado, then you want a local to be able to recognize their area in it – at least, that depends on the game you’re making!

Geospatial mapping is a way to add realism to video games.

In the 8-bit days, it was a little harder to get the hills right. Sure, you could have a well-drawn landscape to look at, but it often lacked two things: accuracy and depth.

Geospatial Mapping and Video Games

Geospatial mapping has made a huge difference to video games everywhere. Environments are more realistic, and games have gone from nineties-realism to holy-hell-what-am-I-looking-at? levels of realism.

Geospatial mapping creates accurate representations, using real-life data. This adds realism to the game for gamers, but also makes it easier for programmers to put the scenes together.

One of the first games that people may remember making use of geospatial mapping would be Flight Simulator. Microsoft did well enough that this is a game most people will remember – and if you still remember the older versions from the early-2000s, what the game can achieve today will absolutely blow your mind.

It’s About the Realism

We enjoy games when they give us a sense of realism that goes beyond the game: we want our in-game guns to act and sound like real ones, even if we might not visit the shooting range every week.

For some games, realism is especially important when it comes to the environment, and the game wouldn’t quite be the same without it. Can you imagine playing Flight Simulator – but in an environment that made no sense to the real airports?

It just wouldn’t be as much fun. Without geospatial mapping, games can easily lose that special element that makes them great.

Advanced 3d Visualization

Video games render 3D graphics in real time to create immersive virtual worlds. Geospatial mapping uses 3D scanning to create highly detailed 3D models of physical spaces or objects, allowing for in-depth analysis and visualization.

Data Collection and Processing

Both require extensive data collection and processing. In video games, data is collected about the game world, characters, and player interactions. In geospatial mapping, data is collected through surveys, scans, or radar, which is then processed to create accurate representations of the environment.

Precision and Accuracy

Both domains demand precision and accuracy. In video games, precision is essential for smooth gameplay and realistic graphics. In geospatial mapping, accuracy is crucial for ensuring that surveying and scanning data reflects real-world conditions precisely.

Technology Advancements

Both fields benefit from technological advancements. Video games rely on the latest graphics hardware and software to push the boundaries of realism. Geospatial mapping leverages cutting-edge technologies such as LiDAR for highly accurate scans and GPS for precise location data.


Both require problem-solving skills. In video games, players solve challenges and puzzles. In geospatial mapping, professionals analyze complex spatial data to address real-world issues like urban planning, construction, or environmental management.

While geospatial mapping and video games have different primary purposes, they share common ground in their utilization of advanced technology for data visualization, interaction, and problem-solving.

Precision Surveying & Consulting

3D Laser Scanning | Land Surveying | Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)

Established in 1999, we operate nationwide with vast experience in a diverse range of services. Our products and services are suitable for Industrial, Medical, Data Centers, and Commercial Sites. We employ highly skilled and experienced professionals and a licensed surveyor, licensed in the state of Nebraska, allowing us to process and certify all our data in-house. The security and confidentiality of our client’s data are paramount to our working practices. We bring extensive experience and professionalism to every project and customize our support to your individual needs and concerns.

Contact Precision Surveying & Consulting to learn more!