We've heard some made-up stories but this is ridiculous: Microsoft Flight Simulator, Bing erect huge skyscraper out of bad data

Normally, Windows has plenty of bugs. This bug has plenty of windows

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Talk about software floors... The world's second tallest skyscraper can be found in Fawkner, Australia, according to Microsoft.

It can be seen on Bing Maps and, more vividly, in the latest version of Microsoft Flight Simulator, thanks to an errant entry in OpenStreetMap, which is based on community-edited data.

Towering over the otherwise low-lying Melbourne suburb, the structure stands 212 stories tall. If it were designed with a height per floor of 16.67 feet, the average of the 163-story, 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa in Dubai, it would be the world's tallest building.

Microsoft's imaginary tower

More tower to you ... The errant erection in Microsoft's Flight Simulator
Click to enlarge

But by Microsoft's measure, it's just over 2,300 feet, or about 10.8 feet per floor, short of Dubai's giant but ahead of Shanghai Tower. Given the software Windows giant's embrace of open office floor plans – sold as pro-collaborative but conveniently a real estate cost saving scheme – it's perhaps not surprising that Redmond imagines something less than the 14-foot per story average.

The awesome structure exists, internet sleuths have found, because about a year ago, OpenStreetMap user nathanwright120 made an edit that listed the building as having 212 stories rather than just two.

The incorrect figure has since been fixed, but evidently not before Microsoft, which uses OpenStreetMap data, incorporated the alteration into its latest Flight Simulator and into Bing Maps.

The fanciful tower has delighted virtual pilots and inspired attempts to land on its roof:

Youtube Video

The Register has attempted to contact nathanwright120 via OpenStreetMap's message system to learn whether the mismeasurement was the result of a typo or whether it was deliberate. We've not heard back.

We also asked Microsoft whether it intends to right-size the overly tall house in future updates to Bing and Flight Simulator. No word yet. ®

PS: Flight Simulator uses artificial intelligence to fill out its 3D world from flat maps by guessing the height of things and where road traffic flows and so on. In various places, it gets it very wrong – as this Twitter thread illustrates.

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