Welcome to the GeoConvert tool tutorial. In this tutorial you will learn the steps to add your very own photo-real scenery to Aerofly FS2 so that you can fly over your own special areas of your choice. Please understand that this tutorial may change pending any changes to the tool and its processes. More will also be added to the tutorial (a part 2) as further features are added. We hope that you enjoy your newly realized freedom. Happy Flying!
The references made by this tutorial and any other reference to the application FS Earth Tiles (FSET) is in no direct affiliation to IPACS. IPACS and its affiliates are not responsible for which application is used to obtain aerial imagery. FSET is an independent application which may contain copyrighted imagery and/or data, therefore it is the users responsibility to adhere to the copyright of such data. IPACS does not condone nor disapprove the use of FSET for personal use. FSET shall not be used for scenery packages of personal gain or profit, and shall only be used for non transferable use for the purpose of creating scenery for Aerofly FS2 Flight Simulator.
This tool is not a simple plug and play application and may need some practice to be successful. Please post any issues that you may be having onto the forum where the community can assist you.
Once you know which scenery area that you wish to add to Aerofly FS2, visit the site: http://en.mygeoposition.com/
In our example we want to add the Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, USA.
FSET is a fantastic tool to extract aerial images. It is also possible to configure this tools with many different custom parameters. It is widely used in the flight sim community and tons of manuals, tutorials, YouTube videos are available on the internet. Therefore we will not go deeper into detail, please gather more information from the existing sources. We will just concentrate to our setup for Aerofly FS2.
Note-The aerial image shows up in FSET.
Before we go on, please modify some input fields:
As soon as we press the green Start button, the amazing process begins. FSET creates 6 different bmp files together with some information files, which we can read with our text editor later.
Depending on the size and resolution of the scenery that you are building, once you press the green start button, the process may take some time to finish. Once the project completes you will see done
Once the image and inf files are obtained from FSET the tfw files must be created from the inf files. This can be done either by using the inf2tfw application automatically or done manually.
If you wish to use the automatic TFW file option, go on with these steps:
The INF2TFW tool will read all .INF files in the specified directory and creates the necessary .TFW file for each image. It does the correct file naming too. Our new result looks now like this:
Note- See below some detail of the .INF file generated by FSET and the converted .TFW file result:
|Line 16||Line 1||Pixel resolution in X direction|
|Line 17||Line 4||Pixel resolution in Y direction, in TFW always negative|
|Line 12||Line 5||Longitude of top left corner|
|Line 13||Line 6||Latitude of top left corner|
If you choose to manually create each tfw file and not use the automatic option (for advanced users only), you will need to reference the above charts to be successful.
The SDK package contains a sample .TMC file for you to reference. We have to define the full area of our image set by entering the topmost left corner NW, and the bottommost right corner SE.
Note- the process shown above is the fastest and easiest way of converting the coordinates however, Another possibility is to find the values in the corresponding .INF file.
Note-You will do the same process for the SE corner as well.
In the below image, the parameter lonlat_min specifies the NW corner, the parameter lonlat_max specifies the SE corner.
At times, mostly around oceans, you will have aerial images that are missing tiles, alpha blending will make the selected areas transparent showing the default FS2 scenery underneath. The result is a smoothly transitioned scenery.
Aerofly FS2 Geoconvert supports alpha blending.
In general terms, alpha blending is the process of combining a translucent foreground color with a background color, thereby producing a new blended color. The degree of the foreground color's translucency may range from completely transparent to completely opaque. (wikipedia). The information is stored in the alpha channel.
This is an example of an aerial image, derived from FSET:
As you can see, the top left corner does not contain any useful data. To import this without changes into aerofly FS 2 would look totally ugly.
Note-There are other tools in Gimp that will also work for this process; framing areas, hand draw tool, etc. in combination with pressing with delete key.
Note-Geoconvert will process this .TIF file with the alpha layer to produce the alpha blending.
Below are some examples of where alpha blending can be useful
This is the last step and will take some time. Move all images and coordinate files into the directory input_aerial_images. The Geoconvert tool compresses the images and creates the correct file format for Aerofly FS2. You can run the program in a cmd window:
Note-The easier way is to create a batch file; a simple text file with just one line.
Verify the locations of all of the files that you need for the conversion:
Recommendation for GeoConvert levels
|Download Resolution||Size/Pixel||GeoConvert Level||Coverage|
|0||0.5m||14||Inner area of airport|
|1||1m||13/14||Inner area of airport|
|2||2m||12||Outer area of airport|
Recommendation for Ultra-High Detail/Long conversion Process
|Download Resolution||Size/Pixel||GeoConvert Level||Coverage|
|0||0.50m||13/14||15nm x 30nm scenery area|
If you convert a larger area remove the entry blocks higher than level 11 from the TMC file and run only level 9 and 11. This will result in a relatively fast process of conversion.
Variable levels within a single conversion process
Within a single conversion process you can input aerial images of different resolutions. Place them all into the input_aerial_images directory and edit the TMC for different coordinates per level.
Performance optimization and mosaicing for GeoConvert.
The frame shows the area coverage of FSET. If we reduce the size in the GeoConvert TMC definition, we can avoid masking and reduce calculation power. You can try to set straight coordinates of degrees and minutes.
Resulting frame in TMC file (red color):
39° 30’ and 39°20’ 118° 50’ and 118° 37’
With this method you can also precisely add adjacent areas, even from overlapping aerial images.