Thoughts on using GPL licensed airport data from a different flight sim?

  • I recently noticed that all 36.5 thousand airports on an AFS2 competitor's scenery gateway are GPL licensed. If you download one, there's a file named "copying" that includes the full GPL licence.


    There's no legal ambiguity about this, it means you can use, modify and redistribute it as long as you include the GPL licence and stick to its terms.

    It's also not revocable. That version of the file has been released under the GPL so can't now be restricted.


    The airports usually have taxiways hand drawn and many other features hand positioned. It's pretty rich data. The file format is open and well documented.


    There's nothing to stop someone downloading all 36k airports and writing something to convert them to AFS2 format. :/

    Thoughts, opinions, concerns? :thumbup: or :thumbdown:

  • As long as we cannot size objects this does not lead far, I guess.

    Wish for Aerofly FS 2:

    - Flightpath recording on hard drive and replay in sim from different view points

    - Smoke for aerobatic planes

    - Multiplayer or at least watching other people flying sitting on ground or inside tower

  • As long as we cannot size objects this does not lead far, I guess.

    Well, there are two parts to a "competitor" airport:


    The base airport data: location, tower, runways, papi, lighting, taxi ways, ATC, view points etc.

    The xref object positions


    The base airport data is definitely useful I believe.


    The xref stuff is trickier because you don't know if their "generic_office_block" is the same size as an AFS one. Having said that, planes, cars, trucks and trees should be the same-ish, so there's still some value there.


    It's something I might play around with when I'm having an ADHD moment anyway.

  • Makes me think back to the days when X-plane only had the worlds runways etc, and Austin saw no reason to add buildings. It was only later that he grudgingly acknowledged that buildings would be nice, as well.


    As far as Aerofly, just having all the world's runways, tarmacs etc would be a plus. Buildings a bonus!

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  • Update


    I spent a few hours doing a proof of concept of this. I wrote parsers for the two file types so I now have all the airport data in a usable format.

    I could then write a very simple TSC of the airport (no graphics runway etc). Not much but it's a start.


    The data is fantastically detailed btw; even down to what signs by the side of the runways should say and where exact lights are.


    Where X-P is rendering the runways, taxiways, decals, sign and light geometry on-the-fly, AFS expects pre-made models of everything.


    The solution (and the hard part) is therefore to dynamically output the TGI files as part of a convert process.

    It's definitely complex, but think it's worth exploring further. It's only maths after all. :)


    Will keep spending a few hours on it here and there and see what I can come up with.


    There must be hundreds of thousands of man hours of work in that data. It's a shame not to tap into it somehow.

  • I know that IPACS give a C++ .dll library to Arno in order to handle the binary .TGI format ... It seems to me that Arno because the ASCII format was enough for him ? or for lack of knowledge about wrapper ? or for lack of time ? has not yet written wrapper for this dll but it could be interresting to look at that side? If you have the skill to write a C # wrapper it would be great ;)...

  • I know that IPACS give a C++ .dll library to Arno in order to handle the binary .TGI format ... It seems to me that Arno because the ASCII format was enough for him ? or for lack of knowledge about wrapper ? or for lack of time ? has not yet written wrapper for this dll but it could be interresting to look at that side? If you have the skill to write a C # wrapper it would be great ;)...

    Yeah, I asked them for the DLL directly. I'm not sure what the acceptance criteria is. :/ If it's been shared with one developer it should just be in the SDK, but there you go. I could definitely write a C# wrapper, which would be useful.


    Dynamic TGI would be a good fit for creating small things: simple buildings and signs, but I came to the conclusion that plotting vertex data of the airport ground poly purely in code is too complex. You'd end up writing part of a 3D engine to do it. Single runways are easy, but you have to deal with multiple overlapping runways, adjoined taxiways, then sub-object materials in that combined poly.


    My next attempt is for my C# to output a Blender or Max script that draws the ground poly. This seems much more achievable and a proof of concept of that checked out, I could draw a simple rectangle of the correct size representing the runway.


    If there was a full Blender export plugin for TGI I'd go with that as Blender's scripting interface is much nicer. (And anyone can download and use it).

    I need sub-object material export though, and I don't know how to do that in ASCII TGI (and nor does Anro's code).


    That probably leaves outputting a Max script to draw the airport ground.


    Anyway, plenty to tinker with and test.

    When I have something worthy of viewing I'll post it here.

  • Nickhod,

    you are REAL resourse for this tiny community, 8|^^^^:thumbup:Really Glad to have you with us, Also there are other people in this forum , that drive the community effort forwards...

    Thanks to all of those also, theres at least 10guys or more..^^

    Does your Aero-scenery program work ?(are you only working with a select group of people right now ?"ie un-realeased to the masses")?

    Could you please explain what it can do right now?

    And what is "planned" vision for 85% finished capabilititys (please don't announse a realease date..it sounds like you have buzzy life..)

    And what can it NOT do at all, and "what program/programs would we need" to do those tasks... ?

    Would your program have anything to do with making a base mesh scenery for sloped runways ? :)


    Btw just a thought, with all the Outsourcing possible today can't we "chip in together" for a skilled programmer?(they're everywere today) for some programming of the features we as a community can't make ? I mean like if there are some tools that we would need, we can "hire" this person for a short while.. ?


    Thanks in advance

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