Help Creating AeroScenery (aka Ortho4FS2)

  • Hi Everyone,


    I'm a software engineer and I'd thought put together a Windows GUI app that works like Ortho4XP, but hopefully with an easier to use interface. The current FS Earth Tiles process seems overly labour intensive for something that should be a few clicks.


    I decided to call the app "AeroScenery" and I picked up the domain aeroscenery.com


    I'm ignoring the way FS Earth Tiles and Ortho4XP do things and instead going back to the basics of what is actually required.


    My plan for the app is to allow the user to:


    1) Search for a place by entering into a text box or navigate with the map

    2) Click to select a tile to download (same size as Ortho4XP tiles)

    3) Select a orthophoto source to download from (only Bing for now)

    4) Select a zoom level to download

    5) Multithreaded download the images

    6) Generate AID / TFW / TMC files

    7) Run Geoconvert as a background task


    I intend to save info on which tiles you've downloaded at which resolutions so you can slowly build up a collection.


    As the SDK documentation is 'sparse', I need some help to fill in gaps in my knowledge. Maybe some of you can help me out:


    - What file format are the TMC / AID files? It's kind of XML but not valid. Wondering if I can get a prebuilt parser.


    - The readme in Geoconvert mentions that each downloaded image needs an AID file. The tutorial says it needs a TFW file. Which is correct? Does it need both?


    - Do the downloaded files need any special names, or will each just be handed in filename order by Geoconvert


    - In the AID file, [steps_per_pixel] refers to the increment in latitude and longitude for each pixel from the [top_left] lon / lat value?


    - I assume that Geoconvert is handling everything regarding topography data, or that's already in the simulator?


    - Anyone know what size tiles Ortho4XP uses? What size should I use? (Not the image tiles it downloads, the whole region you click on to download in one hit).


    I'll no doubt have many other questions to get this done.

  • Hi, such an app would be great, currently a group of users are doing a (apparently) similar workflow manually and the AID files are generated by a script I've made based on Rodeo's specification.


    I'll give them a heads up that you're working on this.


    I would be interested in following your work (being an embedded SW engineer). Of course if you don't mind. :)

    I'm still learning this all so taking a look how it can be automated is also a way to learn how it works.


    Best Regards

    Best Regards

    Balazs


    Ryzen 2700X, HyperX 32GB, Aorus RX580 8GB, win10/ubuntu18

    Saitek X52 HOTAS, Logitech G920 pedals

    freetrack/opentrack
    X-Plane 11, DCS modules: A-10C, Ka-50, FC3, Mirage 2000C, Persian Gulf

  • Hi Nickhod !


    Great news, great idea ;-)


    I will try to give some answer:


    - What file format are the TMC / AID files? It's kind of XML but not valid. Wondering if I can get a prebuilt parser.

    ... no really sure but I think a parser would be better.


    - The readme in Geoconvert mentions that each downloaded image needs an AID file. The tutorial says it needs a TFW file. Which is correct? Does it need both?

    ... Geoconvert create automatocaly AID file from tfw, but finaly just AID file is necessary for geoconvert


    - Do the downloaded files need any special names, or will each just be handed in filename order by Geoconvert

    ... any name, any number of files but may be better to respect AFS2 special GRID --> look information here: Image tile coordinates


    - In the AID file, [steps_per_pixel] refers to the increment in latitude and longitude for each pixel from the [top_left] lon / lat value?

    ... ?


    - I assume that Geoconvert is handling everything regarding topography data, or that's already in the simulator?

    ... you find already the answer...


    - Anyone know what size tiles Ortho4XP uses? What size should I use? (Not the image tiles it downloads, the whole region you click on to download in one hit).

    ... look at here: Image tile coordinates

  • No problem, thanks for putting it on github!

    I'm still pretty new here and I'm also trying to add something that I would like to see in AFS2.


    Take a look in the script (My vision for the aerofly community) I made, which is generated the AID file directly from the image XML file.


    That version still contains some constants (see comments), I'll show you the updated one once I'm home and done the change.

    Best Regards

    Balazs


    Ryzen 2700X, HyperX 32GB, Aorus RX580 8GB, win10/ubuntu18

    Saitek X52 HOTAS, Logitech G920 pedals

    freetrack/opentrack
    X-Plane 11, DCS modules: A-10C, Ka-50, FC3, Mirage 2000C, Persian Gulf

  • - Anyone know what size tiles Ortho4XP uses? What size should I use? (Not the image tiles it downloads, the whole region you click on to download in one hit).

    ... look at here: Image tile coordinates


    Thanks for the input, that helps a lot. I see how the grid system works now.


    Seems like allowing users to select a square from the AeroFly FS2 Level 9 grid would be a good compromise between number of clicks and time to download.

  • my AFS2 class... not a tmc file parser sorry (not needed at that time)... if it could helps you, it's a little (or a lot) rough but maybe things to help... ;-)

    That really helps thanks. (I'm working in C# too).


    I don't think I need a parser thinking about it. I don't need to read these files, just write them, so StringBuilder will do the job.

  • Today's progress.


    The UI is done, clicking on the map lets you select a tile from the AFS2 grid. I'm currently using the level 9 grid, but I'll make it configurable.


    Bing downloader next, then TMC / AID generation. A rough version shouldn't take too long.



  • Hi Nickhod,

    That looks great, thank you so much for helping out the AFS2 community with your skills.

    Cheers,

    Paul

    Windows 10 64bit | iCore7-7770K| ASUS STRIX Z270E |KHX2400C15D4 - 32GB | Gigabyte Ge-Force GTX 1080Ti| SSD Intel 520 Series | 40" Philips BDM4065UC/75 4K - Oculus Rift

  • I can't believe it. Will we finally approach something EASILY usable for making photoscenery? This would also boost usage of all those nice FSCloudPort airports sitting in the midst of pixel soup right now.


    The GUI looks superb. Clean, easy, nice.


    If you proceed, would it be possible to include freely available imagery source like USGS (where available)? This would even allow making redistributable scenery. Or, add this later, at least.


    Thanks, thanks, thanks. I hope IPACS will spend you a "thanks" as well.


    Kind regards, Michael

  • If you proceed, would it be possible to include freely available imagery source like USGS (where available)? This would even allow making redistributable scenery. Or, add this later, at least.

    Thanks.


    I'm going to support Bing first then USGS after that as those are the easiest. Other image sources can be "plugged in" later.

  • That layout looks pretty simple yet effecitve, it might cut the learning curve for anyone doing sceneries.


    Do you plan to push the work-in-progress state to github so we could see how it works? :)

    Best Regards

    Balazs


    Ryzen 2700X, HyperX 32GB, Aorus RX580 8GB, win10/ubuntu18

    Saitek X52 HOTAS, Logitech G920 pedals

    freetrack/opentrack
    X-Plane 11, DCS modules: A-10C, Ka-50, FC3, Mirage 2000C, Persian Gulf

  • Best AFS2 news in ages !

  • Thanks.


    I'm going to support Bing first then USGS after that as those are the easiest. Other image sources can be "plugged in" later.

    Excellent news, nickhod. Thanks for your efforts.


    Regards,

    Ray

  • Today's progress ... finished up the multi-threaded image tile downloader.


    Still to do:

    • Algorithm to figure out a list of image provider tiles to download and their coordinates (the hard bit)
    • Convert jpegs to png on save
    • Generate valid AID and TMC files


  • Today's progress ... finished up the multi-threaded image tile downloader.


    Still to do:

    • Algorithm to figure out a list of image provider tiles to download and their coordinates (the hard bit)
    • Convert jpegs to png on save
    • Generate valid AID and TMC files


    Looks great mate.

    Any chance of adding estimated time for download?

    cheers,

    Paul

    Windows 10 64bit | iCore7-7770K| ASUS STRIX Z270E |KHX2400C15D4 - 32GB | Gigabyte Ge-Force GTX 1080Ti| SSD Intel 520 Series | 40" Philips BDM4065UC/75 4K - Oculus Rift

  • Why are you converting JPEG to PNG ??


    Just Curious.


    Regards,

    Ray