High Definition Mesh courtesy of the USGS

  • I saw mention of a high resolution usa mesh from the usgs, and remembered reading here a while ago that Ipacs was considering releasing a higher resolution mesh for Aerofly. Just curious if Ipacs was aware of the usgs data, and whether it would better or worse than what they were discussing releasing.


    https://forums.x-plane.org/ind…sh-courtesy-of-the-usgs/&

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  • Higher resolution mesh would be great. 99% of the time the current mesh is perfectly adequate, but it fails badly on vertical sea-cliffs. Unfortunately there are a lot of sea-cliffs around the British Isles so it disproportionately affects my home-made scenery. It has one data point on the sea surface and another, maybe 100 metres (?) further inland, on the cliff-top. The software draws a 45 degree (ish) slope between the two. So you get a band of sloping sea followed by a narrow band of sloping rock, followed by a band of sloping cliff-top green. This must often happen inland too - in mountainous areas - but the eye is more forgiving there since few people will know exactly what a mountain is meant to look like. Everybody knows that the sea isn't meant to slope, and that sea-cliffs are vertical!

  • The scenery folder in the main program (under Steam) includes a subfolder folder called "elevation". There are a lot of files in there. However, there's an empty "elevation" subfolder within the scenery folder in the documents area. Just as we create our own images and places, and place them in those documents folders, (in a sense mirroring the structure of the main program) I wonder if that documents elevation folder is just waiting for some bright spark to figure out the format of the files needed, and the source of the data. Might be wrong, but.....


    - Kenneth

  • Hi Kenneth,


    you are hot on this topic. We even have the converter for the elevation data.

    See this line in geoconvert:

    <[bool] [do_heightmaps][false]>


    I just downloaded (terrain.party) a height map from NE Iceland, where I've been last year.

    The black areas are at sealevel, the bright ones are the mountain ridges.

    The resolution is 30 meters.


    The task is:

    1. Find a good source with high resolution.

    2. Do a mass download.


    Rodeo




  • Great news. I can get UK data to this spec "Post spacing of 50m (DTM grid); Vertical interval of 10m (Contours)" from


    https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.…/products/terrain-50.html


    What file format does geoconvert need? These are the options



  • Hi Phil,


    your options are vector or ASCII files.

    This means, we have to add a GIS software to create a height map out of contour data. This is not a simple task and will be limiting our chances for mass editing.


    I'm rather sure, aerofly uses it's naming convention of tiles also for the height maps.

    What I don't know yet, is the range of grey scales. Is it relative or absolute?

    Is full white let's say 9.000 meters like the Mount Everest?

    We will find out...


    Rodeo

  • Here's an example of what you get. Its the first few lines of the OS grid square "SD" which is a 100km x 100km square in the north west of england.


    ncols 200

    nrows 200

    xllcorner 300000

    yllcorner 910000

    cellsize 50

    262.6 262.4 260.8 257.1 249 238.9 222.1 209.9 199.2 191.8 184.5 180.9 177.8 178.1 180 182.9 188.1 198 207.6 214.7 228.2 237.3 245.2 251.3 255.8 260.3 262.1 260.2 257.1 252.1 244.9 238.3 230.9 225.3 217.6 209.6 210.3 205.7 201.7 199.7 193.2 176.1 172 196.8 218.5 233 243.8 252.9 262 269.5 274.9 278.9 281.5 284.3 286.4 286.2


    The download also comes with projection data holding the co-ordinates of the grid square and the projection mode allowing that to be converted to GPS.


    ...so not entirely straightforward:(

  • Yes,


    I know this kind of data. I can import them into my GIS and run some grid functions on them.

    For certain areas in South Germany I have these elevation values as a 1m grid. This means to calculate 1 million points for a single square km. But I additionally have to deal with coordinates, projections and data cells to accomplish it.


    As you said... not entirely straightforward...

  • So do you envisage this as something IPACS will do internally after getting access to better data or as a geoconvert type tool and process that will be available to us at some point? You said hot topic which made me think there was good progress towards one of these.

  • IPACS considers the refinement of the elevation mesh.

    But I suppose this depends on the availability and quality of the data, and I have no insight into this status.


    On the other hand we may be able to do local adjustments, at least in a manual way. I had this already on my own agenda after completing all the stuff with geoconvert, cultivation, libraries, ac3d. I talked recently with Marc (IPACS) about it.


    If you have an airport close to a cliff in the UK, we may give it a try.

  • ~5 miles close enough or do you mean at the foot of one? EGNL


    The interesting thing about the UK is that the rich OS Data is free for non commercial but Orbx say licencing for commercial is prohibitive so it lends itself very well to DIY

  • If the rich OS date is free for non-commercial use, then there should be nothing stopping you guys who are using OS to cultivate the UK, from freely sharing the resultant .toc files for us all to use, without us having to learn how to adapt Scenproc to get the original source data. Your thoughts?


    - Kenneth

  • I hope Ipacs can maintain some overall control over this. Right now, in the interests of better mesh, users are beginning to create their own, and I eventually see a situation arising where there is a crazy-quilt of mutually incompatible user meshes all over the Aerofly world partially because Ipacs never made its own move and headed the proliferation off at the pass a little bit.


    It would be a shame (to me) if the Aerofly world splintered into a confusing kaleidoscope of random user and vendor solutions on this like X-plane.

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  • I hope Ipacs can maintain some overall control over this. Right now, in the interests of better mesh, users are beginning to create their own, and I eventually see a situation arising where there is a crazy-quilt of mutually incompatible user meshes all over the Aerofly world partially because Ipacs never made its own move and headed the proliferation off at the pass a little bit.


    It would be a shame (to me) if the Aerofly world splintered into a confusing kaleidoscope of random user and vendor solutions on this like X-plane.

    I definitely see your point, but I disagree somewhat. I'd like to see it remain as-is with the option for those of us who want to do these things still be able to do them. It's very unlikely that they will give us an ultra-high-res topo mesh that covers the whole globe, or even the remote areas I particularly care about. Just the file sizes on that alone would be enormous. So, being able to improve those areas for my own purposes is very important to me, even if I'm not sharing them with anyone else.

    The way they've implemented custom add-ons is very smart and very easily undone. If you want to restore the original sim as-installed, you just remove the files you've added to the folder in Documents.

    For commercial companies selling expansion areas, then I think they should definitely coordinate with IPACS to ensure compatibility and not create 'kaleidoscopes.' But to take away our individual ability to customize things on our own would take away one of the things I like most about AeroFly (and at this point would break 90% of the areas I fly now because it's all custom stuff I've made). I think the method of letting people customize if they want is great (and obviously those people will know they might make things worse instead of better), while those who want everything to be by-the-book via IPACS can stick to the commercial products and add-ons.

    FWIW, I think in a way it already is this 'kaleidoscope' you describe. The whole sim is built around having varying detail levels, and even with the default installation it changes quite a bit all over the map, including the existing topo mesh. In some areas the mesh is converted up to level 10 right now but for most larger areas it only goes to level 7. The same is true of the scenery. The cool thing about it is that you can add files to refine the 'stock' sim, which (for the most part) seamlessly integrates with everything else.

    IMO, all they really need to do regarding the mesh is fine-tune the algorithm that merges edges of refined levels to ensure it doesn't create any invisible wall artifacts at the boundaries. That's the only thing I've seen so far that risks creating broken behavior in the sim.