WHO WE ARE
From the beginning, ProjectDSM has been an expansive group of all types of individuals. Some of our
members’ interests include urban design, architecture, computer science, interior design, and even
podcasting. No matter our differences, everyone here shares one uniting similarity; our appreciation
of the great city of Des Moines. ProjectDSM is an effort to capture the essence of downtown Des
Moines for all to see; a comprehensive model of everything that makes our city center so iconic. We
invite you to explore Des Moines to its fullest, just as we intended. We guarantee a visit to
ProjectDSM will be worth your time.
While the official beginning of ProjectDSM as a public server began in May of 2017, the project has
its roots in 2015 when Sean Eddy started building his middle school of Stilwell Junior High in
Minecraft. Over the next year, he perfected his model of the school, finding a passion for
recreating real-life structures in the creative expanse of Minecraft. The following year he built
the popular skyscraper of downtown Des Moines 801 Grand, and soon expanded his model to include
adjacent buildings. As aforementioned, in May of 2017, Eddy made the world public for all to see.
The community aspect of the project this decision brought with it changed the nature of his work and
further drove him to keep expanding and perfecting the city. Only a few months later, the entire
project was scrapped and redesigned from the ground-up to a higher standard. Some buildings have
been redesigned 3 or even 4 times, all in an effort to make this model of Des Moines the most
accurate and awe-inspiring it could be. Media coverage of the project in August 2019 attracted
hundreds of new visitors and marked the beginning of a greater community of builders and
contributors. As of fall 2020, the project covers a quarter square mile of the city, with additional
city blocks added more than once a month.
Building realistically in a world of cubes is no small feat. While the techniques used to create
these structures are too varied and obscure to cover here, the rudimentary process is the same for
every block. First, an elevation chart is used to determine the terrain of the ground a block sits
on. This data is taken from Google Earth Pro, and is the literal foundation of every new structure.
Next, through a combination of Street View imagery from Google Maps and measurements taken from
Google Earth Pro, structures are built. While every block is different, some things are standard
between blocks to keep things consistent across the city. Google Earth/Maps provide nearly all the
data that is needed for each project, if an interior is added then further information is pulled
from the internet through public photos.