Creating terrain heightmaps

  • Hi Ian,


    Of course, I also like to use the same source material for compiling all levels, that's the ideal case when you can handle the necessary amount of data.

    This is especially true with orthophotos : Geoconverting low levels from source A orthophotos and high levels from source B orthophotos would result in source B textures popping up in front of the aircraft while flying, with associated radical colour/quality changes.


    Your heightmap case is slightly different though. I provide again my AFS2 LOD resolutions table.



    AFS2 LOD level 7 corresponds to a mesh resolution of approx. 150m, thus even if you have differences between 2 sources the transition has good chances to be smoothed.


    I don't know what source dem resolutions you can get, but I would use a wide area source to compile at least a level 7 and maybe level 9 base, and see if compiling a local high resolution mesh in upper levels causes interface troubles or not.

    Trial and error, as usual, to find the best compromise.


    Cheers

    Antoine

    Config : i7 6900K - 20MB currently set at 4.00GHz, Cooling Noctua NH-U14S, Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme U3.1, RAM HyperX Savage Black Edition 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz, Graphic Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, Power supply Corsair RM Series 850W, Windows 10 64 bit.

  • Thanks Antoine - that's a very useful table.


    It looks as though I may be able to get 10 m and 50 m resolution data from the Norwegian site - but I haven't tried yet. The 10 m data would certainly be good enough for both levels 7 & 9. The 50 m data may not be quite good enough for level 9, though good enough for level 7. Having said that, the default Aerofly resolution is worse than 50 m (not sure?) so maybe it wouldn't be any worse than default?


    I have noticed that there is a fearsomely deep crevasse in the sea just off the west coast of Norway where my current data ends. It is about 100 m wide at the top and appears to extend hundreds of metres below sea level. It is genuinely scary in VR, especially if you lower the helicopter into it! I'll have to have a play around and see what I can do about it.


    Cheers


    Ian

  • Thanks Antoine - that's a very useful table.


    It looks as though I may be able to get 10 m and 50 m resolution data from the Norwegian site - but I haven't tried yet. The 10 m data would certainly be good enough for both levels 7 & 9. The 50 m data may not be quite good enough for level 9, though good enough for level 7. Having said that, the default Aerofly resolution is worse than 50 m (not sure?) so maybe it wouldn't be any worse than default?

    As far as I understood, there's no more mesh north of N60? If that's the case, then a 50m mesh (Level 8 may also be compiled) is definitely an improvement.

    I don't know how far north the AFS2 World can be modelled.


    And a good 10m mesh already may provide very satisfaying results.


    Cheers

    Antoine

    Config : i7 6900K - 20MB currently set at 4.00GHz, Cooling Noctua NH-U14S, Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme U3.1, RAM HyperX Savage Black Edition 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz, Graphic Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, Power supply Corsair RM Series 850W, Windows 10 64 bit.

  • Last year I tried to add airports in Norway above the 60th parallel and was able to add a few but as I went further North I got a series of weird and distracting vertical lines from the surface to infinity.


    Regards,

    Ray

  • And a good 10m mesh already may provide very satisfaying results.

    Yes of course - I was forgetting - 10 m is actually a very good mesh. It produces excellent results in the USA.


    And yes as far as I'm aware there is no Aerofly mesh north of 60 deg. I certainly can't see any mountains to the north in the distance. I can see them to south because Bergen is only a little north of 60 deg.


    Cheers


    Ian

  • if you used your own data to convert level 7 too instead of using the AeroFly mesh

    Be VERY careful duplicating Aerofly mesh levels.


    I recently experienced a nasty problem that took quite a while to sort out.

    I encountered major "rendering disruptions" that appeared to be repeatable at a specific location (with some variation with altitude and speed). In the ASG29 there was significant warping/rippling of the display for several seconds. In the R22 it was fatal. There were the display ripples plus the cyclic started oscilating wildly ignoring joystick input, resulting in eventual death spiral.


    At first I thought it was some cultivation issue since I was experimenting with dense forest generation.


    Eventually I tracked it down to custom elevation mesh. It turns out there was a tile that for some reason (I blame my evil twin) had level 9,10 and 11 TTH as well as 12, 13 and 14


    Removing the duplicate TTH files eliminated the disruption. It may be that the revised scenery load algorithm worked harder to resolve and render the duplicate mesh. The R22 flight model is more sensitive than the ASG29 so the negative side effects may be amplified.


    In any case duplicating TTH files seems to be a bad idea


    /Stu

    i7-6700K CPU @ 4.00GHz | ASUS Z170-A | 16Gb DDR4 | Samsung SSD 950 PRO NVME M.2 256GB | Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB | GeForce GTX 1080 Ti on GP102-A GPU | Oculus CV1 | Windows 10

  • Are you sure it wasn't this issue I warned about on the first page of this thread? Creating terrain heightmaps


    AFAIK any tiles with the same name in your custom folders replace the ones that are part of the default install at load-time, the same way the orthophoto tiles do. I don't think a duplicate mesh is possible for that reason.


    It's also possible there was some bad value or spikes or something in your data you used to make the mesh. Not really sure, but I can say I have many areas converted from levels 9 and higher and I've only ever encountered issues at the outside boundaries where my custom mesh meets the default mesh.

  • This was well inside the area with custom mesh. The TIFF data looks clean (no spikes or walls).

    It was quite reproducible .


    Duplicate 9-11 mesh => problem.

    No duplicate mesh => no problem.


    If nobody else encounters this problem then good.


    I just did not want anyone else to spend a day or two chasing down the same issue.


    /Stu

    i7-6700K CPU @ 4.00GHz | ASUS Z170-A | 16Gb DDR4 | Samsung SSD 950 PRO NVME M.2 256GB | Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB | GeForce GTX 1080 Ti on GP102-A GPU | Oculus CV1 | Windows 10

  • Currently I am putting my elevation (TTH) tiles here .....


    C:\Users\ian\Documents\Aerofly FS 2\scenery\elevation


    Is there any reason why I shouldn't put them here .....


    D:\SteamLibrary\steamapps\common\Aerofly FS 2 Flight Simulator\scenery\elevation ?


    Obviously I would put them in a separate folder so that I could move them if necessary. The reason I ask is that my C-drive is rather small in capacity. The D-drive would be a much better place for them.


    Another question ..... I created a base layer of level 7-9 TTH tiles for a level 7 area north of 60 deg in Norway using 10 m data from Høydedata. Initially I put them in the C-drive location above and found that they didn't show at all in Aerofly. The terrain was completely flat - i.e. it was the default terrain at that latitude. It was only when I transferred them to the D-drive location that I saw the terrain as it should be. I noticed that the default terrain tiles on the D-drive are levels 7-10 only. I assume therefore that levels 7-10 have to be on the D-drive anyway to show up. Obviously it would make sense for me to put all levels (7-14) on the D-drive.

  • i want to try and do a 5m dem of anchorage but i discovered it is not in .img format do you know how to do it ?

    It needs to be a geotiff file, which is a specially encoded tiff, if you're following the youtube tutorial I made. Depending on the format, it might be possible to convert it, but I haven't attempted anything like that. Others may have, but in order to help you they'll need to know what format your files are.

    You can specify an additional path for custom scenery, aircraft, terrain etc. in your main.mcf file located in C:\Users\<username>\Documents\Aerofly FS 2\. There is a placeholder for it in the .mcf file already. You just need to put your folder path there. For example, in mine I have this line:


    <[string8][extra_user_folder][V:\aerofly_aux_folder]>


    I have subfolders in that extra user folder which match the structure of the default user folder (C:\Users\<username>\Documents\Aerofly FS 2\). Almost all of my custom stuff is stored there, but the main AeroFly install is on my C drive.


    I'm not sure what the issue with tiles 7-9 would be... I have some converted at that level up through level 14, but maybe it's not actually loading the 7-9 tiles. Given the coarse terrain resolution at that scale, it might not be noticeable whether or not it loads them, unless it's an area that doesn't already have any terrain mesh at all. If I get some time soon I'll see if I can reproduce your issue with mine.

  • Thanks for your reply qwerty42 . I was aware that I could specify an additional folder for scenery - I wasn't sure that I could do the same for mesh tiles. However since I would probably put them on the D-drive anyway I was thinking that I might as well put them with the default ones that come with the Aerofly installation.


    Like you I have levels 7-14 in the USA and, as you say, there's no easy way of telling whether the lower ones are showing up in that case. However in Norway (> 60 deg) it's very obvious because the default terrain is flat and at sea level.

  • I've beeen experimenting with different locations for my elevation (TTH) tiles, and I've found that if I put my level 7-10 tiles here .....


    D:\SteamLibrary\steamapps\common\Aerofly FS 2 Flight Simulator\scenery\elevation


    or here .....


    D:\aerofly_aux_folder\scenery\elevation


    ..... Aerofly takes ages to load and eventually crashes. (Actually, to be more precise, I can put a few level 7-10 tlies in those locations but when I add more I get a crash.)


    If I put the level 7-10 tiles here .....


    C:\Users\ian\Documents\Aerofly FS 2\scenery\elevation


    everything seems OK (almost), The problem I reported in a previous post seems to be just for one one particular set of level 7-10 files that don't show up in Aerofly when I place them on the C-drive. Those particular tiles only show up on the D-drive. Another set do show up on the C-drive. I can't explain that.


    As for the level 11-14 tiles .... they don't cause a crash in any location and do always show up.


    In summary: I've partially solved my storage problem because I can keep my level 11-14 tiles on my D-drive, but it seems I have to have my level 7-10 tiles on my C-drive.

  • Weeeeird... I have no clue why it would behave that way. Have you tried having steam do an integrity check on your base AeroFly install? I wonder if something is corrupted with one of the default tiles... :/


    Edit: Just had a thought... do you have any extra 3rd party DLC? Like ORBX stuff? I wonder if the load priorities on those are dealt with in a different way and could be conflicting?

  • Weeeeird... I have no clue why it would behave that way. Have you tried having steam do an integrity check on your base AeroFly install? I wonder if something is corrupted with one of the default tiles... :/


    Edit: Just had a thought... do you have any extra 3rd party DLC? Like ORBX stuff? I wonder if the load priorities on those are dealt with in a different way and could be conflicting?

    I'll try the integrity check thing - thanks for the tip.


    I do have ORBX True Earth Netherlands - so I guess that could be causing the problem. Also I moved the Netherlands scenery tiles - I don't know whether that's of any significance. I never touched the Netherlands TTH files however.


    What does deleting the "main.mcf" do? I have it at the back of my mind that it's a cure for some types of problem - but I can't remember which!


    Cheers


    Ian

  • It stores certain preferences and configuration settings, and if it's gone I think AeroFly generates a new one when it starts. I can't remember if joystick mappings are stored in there, so if you try it you might want to back up your old one. Also you'll have to manually re-enter your auxiliary folder location back into it if you regenerate it. I doubt it will make a difference to what you're seeing, but it's so fast to check it's worth a try.

  • It stores certain preferences and configuration settings, and if it's gone I think AeroFly generates a new one when it starts. I can't remember if joystick mappings are stored in there, so if you try it you might want to back up your old one. Also you'll have to manually re-enter your auxiliary folder location back into it if you regenerate it. I doubt it will make a difference to what you're seeing, but it's so fast to check it's worth a try.

    OK thanks - I might give it a go.

  • i have forgotten how to do height maps for Australia con someone please link me to the instructions?

    thank you

    coxo2436

    As per Kloot's post on page 2 the site for Australian height map downloads is http://elevation.fsdf.org.au


    Using this site, I draw a box around the area I need better height maps for and then select the box next to the "1 Second Digital Elevation Model" to then download it*. It emails you a ZIP file that contains the ready-made GeoTiff file and also contains the co-ordinates that you need to use when editing the .TFW and .TMC files. Refer Qwerty42's good video instructions contained in his post for how best to edit and then relocate these files ready for processing into heightmaps by the Aerofly FS2 Geoconvert tool.


    *I found that while 1 metre Digital Elevations Models available on the http://elevation.fsdf.org.au site are higher quality and much larger files, the resulting GeoTIFF file often has missing large sections of data in your selected area. Missing data results in big visual corruptions in the converted tiles within Aerofly FS2 so you need consistent coverage. I find 1 Second files generally cover the entire drawn area selected and work a lot better within Aerofly FS2 as the height map tiles are complete and consistent. So give 1 Metre models a go to obtain best quality, but if the TIFF file you load is only partially complete, go with the 1 Second models, which are less detailed but generally deliver a more consistent result.


    As suggestions, these new user-generated height maps really improve mountainous areas like the Glass House Mountains in Queensland, Blue Mountains in Katoomba, Uluru, and the whole Illawarra escarpment. I've now posted some screenshots using my user-made Australian height maps in Aerofly FS2 in the gallery.