how would i create images like these two in blender?

this: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-21t1f10oJe4/TdwoaMZUoKI/AAAAAAAAC4w/9CL39aUMdaU/s1600/Minecraft+globe+wallpaper+HD+epic+world+round+sphere.jpg

and this: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-cUp2oxGT3wI/Tdwn67IUmeI/AAAAAAAAC4Y/rDWctr7ddk8/s1600/Minecraft+birds+eye+view+terrain+art+wallpaper+HD.png

Subdivide it, select it, and extrude it!

http://i1135.photobucket.com/albums/m626/cabby24/Blender%20Pics%202011/mine_hdway.png

Man this seems THE HARDWAY.

ridix sample is ok for a first try.

There was a ?tutorial about a world-town-like setup using hexagons,
instead of cubes. And the creation was made with parent-instancing
for every vertices of the subdivided plane with the cube.
For the subdivided plane was used a displacement texture (modifier
displacement) to give every vertices a different height and with
a scaled cube as a rectangular solid it was a field of different heights.
One could paint the texture to get special looking heights, like streets…