TIL: Flight Simulatoops

Data Quality Strikes Again

Vincent Warmerdam koaning.io

I knew data quality issues are a thing, but this one kind of blew my mind.

See that tower all the way in the back there?

Figure 1: See that tower all the way in the back there?

Microsoft Flight tries to mimic the real world and it uses open data to construct the world. At some point gamers found a 212-storey tower of a house in “Australia” due to a data issue.

This is a close-up.

Figure 2: This is a close-up.

It’s explained in more detail in this guardian article and this tweet. To quote the guardian article of what went wrong here:

A user on Openstreetmap named nathanwright120 appears to have, accidentally, entered in the height of the Fawkner home as 212 storeys, rather than just two. The edit was fixed by another user but not before Flight Simulator’s developers had pulled the data from Openstreetmap in the construction of its world, leading to a home with more than double the number of floors of Melbourne’s Eureka tower. Given the sheer size of the game, mistakes of this kind are likely to occur, and will no doubt continue to be discovered by users in the coming weeks and months. Other hiccups include an unusual looking Sydney Harbour Bridge and a Buckingham Palace that more resembles an office block.

It’s a nice example of a datapoint that’s very easy to look for once you find it, but it’s not something that comes to mind as something to check.