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tonywob

Scenery and OpenStreetMap (OSM) FAQ

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 v1.4 - 2014.12.20
 
What is OpenStreetMap (OSM)?
 
OSM (http://www.openstreetmap.org) is a freely available map which is updated by users all over the world. It's similar to wikipedia, which is open and allows registered users to make changes and fix issues. Although occasionally some data is imported, e.g. An import was done in Chicago from government data to add buildings, it's mostly a community effort, where people using various sources such as bing maps, GPS devices and country specific sources update and create the maps.
 
What does OSM contain?
 
It contains whatever a specific user decided to map in the area they are editing. Some areas are so well-mapped, that it puts some commercial offerings to shame. Some people map individual trees, street lights, and others map individual buildings and footpaths. There are rules everyone should follow, e.g. how to tag things consistently, but generally the level of detail between different areas can vary considerably.
 
Which areas are best mapped in OSM?
 
Generally, OSM is best in Europe. Countries like France, Czech Republic, Germany and the Netherlands are extremely well mapped, and have very active communities. The US and Australia are somewhat behind, but everyday the database is growing. To see what is being changed and how quickly, have a look at this site http://live.openstreetmap.fr/ which shows live edits being made in the database. There are literally thousands of edits a day all over the world.
 
How/why should I contribute?
 
Since X-Plane, FlightGear and some FSX/P3D commercial products use parts of OSM to generate their scenery, anything you fix or add in OSM will not only appear in updates to X-Plane, but will also benefit OpenStreetMap. e.g. You could add or fix a stream or river in your local area, add a few buildings or a missing forest, or add points of interest such as telephone masts, churches, etc. It's incredibly easy to get started and is also fun and quite addictive. To make simple edits, no special software is required and edits can be made directly from the web browser. For larger edits or more advanced tools, an application called JOSM http://josm.openstreetmap.de/ is used.
 
How is OSM used in X-Plane?
  • As of X-Plane v10, Laminar Research (LR) make use of OSM to build scenery. The default scenery inside the simulator uses OSM (as verified by Andras, author of the HD Mesh) for roads, railroads, coastlines, powerlines, lakes and polygon rivers. Whenever LR updates their scenery, they will attempt to use a more current OSM database.

 

  • Alpilotx HD mesh v3 -- Andras aka. Alpilotx provides high-definition, updated scenery for X-Plane also based on OSM. The scenery is more up-to-date and uses OSM as LR does for roads, rivers and coastlines etc. The scenery is available here HD-Mesh v3 and is donationware but available for free. Be aware, it's pretty large, so start out with just your local area and go from there. The mesh also includes line rivers which are tagged as "waterway=river". Both the default scenery and HD Mesh do not include individual buildings, forests or wind farms from OSM, however these can be added using World2XPlane/Simheaven (see below).

 

  • World2XPlane http://www.world2xplane.com is a tool used to add buildings, forests and  points of interest to the existing scenery inside X-Plane. It uses a download of the OSM data to generate scenery which is simply dropped into the custom scenery folder. It is customisable, so that users can decide what to generate, how high buildings should be and what models to use for various building and forest types. It can also add street lights along roads, hedges along fields and place 3D objects such as telephone masts, wind farms, etc. Additionally, World2XPlane will add up-to-date roads, powerlines and train lines.

 

  • Simheaven http://www.simheaven.com is a site offering scenery for X-Plane. The site, as well as offering photo-scenery, uses World2XPlane to generate scenery for entire countries (buildings, forests, roads and POIs). They offer two versions, OSM Only and OSM+Autogen. OSM-only shows OSM objects only, however in areas which haven't been mapped, it can look quite empty. OSM+Autogen uses OSM in areas where the data is good, and the default X-Plane autogen where there is no OSM data. The scenery on this site is updated regularly and is recommended for most users.
 
Which scenery do I need/download?
 
  • If you are happy with the default roads and vector data inside X-Plane, then you don't need anything, OSM is already included, although it isn't updated regularly.

 

  • If you prefer an up-to-date, higher detailed mesh and vector data, i.e. roads, rivers and coastlines, then use the HD Mesh v3 from alpilotx. This replaces the default scenery, and is much more accurate and detailed. N.B. At present, not all of the world is available.

 

  • Buildings and forests from World2XPlane or Simheaven. These are an additional layer on top of the mesh or default data which adds individual buildings or forests from the OSM database. When used in conjunction with photoscenery and the HD Mesh, the effect in well mapped areas is very realistic. Additionally, this data is regularly updated, so any changes or updates you make in OSM will appear in the sim in the next update.

Using photoscenery together with OSM and/or HD Mesh

 

Photosceneries are generally available in two different formats: draped polygons, and mesh.

 

Draped polygon photosceneries, as the name implies, don't contain a mesh of their own, but overlay the images on top of existing scenery. Such photosceneries are slow to load and use more memory, as X-Plane needs to load the photoscenery and the original scenery, and overlay the images on top. To use such photosceneries with OSM and HD Mesh, you should place the photoscenery above the mesh and below your airports, OSM scenery and other custom sceneries in the Custom Scenery/scenery_packs.ini file. The utility gmaps (http://members.ferra...cavicchi/GMaps/) creates such scenery using google maps imagery (it can also create basic mesh scenery).

 

Mesh photosceneries contain their own complete mesh, and as such, load quicker and don't require an already existing mesh for the area being loaded. The sceneries on simheaven are complete mesh sceneriesHowever, because they have their own mesh, they won't work with other meshes. If you have downloaded HD Mesh v2 and you place a mesh photoscenery above the HD Mesh v2 scenery, then the mesh in the photoscenery will be used, and vice versa. Additionally the photo mesh scenery will also take priority over OSM and other scenery, so you need to carefully order them, so that the mesh photoscenery is below your OSM and other scenery such as airports. Presently simheaven is upgrading their photoscenery to use the new HD Mesh v2. However, they also offer patches to upgrade their older photoscenery to use the new mesh. Please see http://www.simheaven.com for details and instructions.

 

A forum user Blacky75 has posted a video and some more information about the scenery and options available for use in the scenery. http://youtu.be/kCnJR5QDyao.

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  • Alpilotx HD mesh v2 -- Andras aka. Alpilotx provides high-definition, updated scenery for X-Plane also based on OSM. The scenery is more up-to-date and uses OSM as LR does for roads, forests, rivers, coastlines etc. The scenery is available here http://www.alpilotx.net/downloads/x-plane-10-hd-scenery-mesh-v2 and is completely free. However, it's pretty large, so start out with just your local area and go from there.

 

PERFECT post Tony! :smile: Could you just add that Alpilotx HD mesh is actually "donationware"? He has often reminded us of this. :smile:

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Could you just add that Alpilotx HD mesh is actually "donationware"? He has often reminded us of this.

 

No problem, added it in :-)

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As of X-Plane v10, Laminar Research (LR) make use of OSM to build scenery. The default scenery inside the simulator uses OSM for roads, forests, railroads, coastlines, lakes, rivers, and powerlines, wind farms, etc. Whenever LR updates their base scenery or simulator, they will attempt to use a more current the latest OSM dataset.

 

Some adjustments. :)

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The default scenery inside the simulator uses OSM for roads, forests, railroads, coastlines, lakes, rivers, and powerlines, wind farms, etc

 

Thanks for the corrections. Out of curiousity, Is there some information anywhere about what exactly is included from OSM in the default X-Plane scenery. I was under the impression that wind farms and forests were also included, the wind farm local to me is definitely there, as are some of the forests. I know they use other sources as well, so it maybe the case these have come from a separate database.

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Out of curiousity, Is there some information anywhere about what exactly is included from OSM in the default X-Plane scenery. I was under the impression that wind farms and forests were also included, the wind farm local to me is definitely there, as are some of the forests.

 

There doesn't seem to be one single reference point, but I've gathered my knowledge of it over the years because the scenery in X-Plane has been a pet peeve passion of mine. :-)

 

Forests are considered landuse, and OSM wasn't used to collect that data. I don't think wind farms were included either, but in BOTH cases, if you're using OSM2XP, that product WILL add OSM forests and OSM wind turbines. Where have you found some "default" wind turbines that might be included in the base scenery? (I'm curious! Maybe I'm wrong about that!)

 

Cheers,

-Greg

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Where have you found some "default" wind turbines that might be included in the base scenery? (I'm curious! Maybe I'm wrong about that!)

 

It's just north of the WAL VOR between Liverpool and the Isle of Man in the UK. I removed the mesh v2 and it was still there, however after removing almost everything it disappeared. I pinned it down to a scenery package for UK obstacles that I installed and completely forgot about. So indeed you're right, I don't think these are included :-)

 

However, osm2xp definitely adds them back in. In fact, I had them in twice :-)

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I have the default xp 10.25 and added hd v2 from alpilotx.

my question is:could I install the simheaven photoscenery z17 over these?

I read somewhere that simheaven uses the alpilotx also, does it mean its double?

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I have the default xp 10.25 and added hd v2 from alpilotx.
my question is:could I install the simheaven photoscenery z17 over these?
I read somewhere that simheaven uses the alpilotx also, does it mean its double?

 

No, if you install the photoscenery zl17 over them, then it will use the mesh in the photoscenery. However luckily, simheaven have started to upgrade their photoscenery to the new mesh. Additionally, you can patch any existing photoscenery (from this site) using the mesh v2 download on their site and following the instructions.

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Hi guys, Tony!

 

This is a great little write up (sorry for not reacting earlier, but I was away on a "little" vacation) ...

 

About the question what is used from OSM in the default / HD Mesh scenery, I can answer this here:

  • Roads (there is some "complex" filtering going on inside, about what we include and what not ... but the "usual" stuff should be there)
  • Railroads (here again, some filtering going on)
  • Power lines
  • Coastlines
  • Lakes and Polygon rivers

Additionally, since HD Mesh Scenery v2 (and in any future DSF re-vut from Laminar):

  • Line rivers are included (vectors tagged "waterway=river") and transformed to thin polygons (as there is no more efficient way to represent them in XP10 until now ... which might change in the distant future). They are also used to slightly soften the terrain mesh along their river banks, so the don't run up and down and along the walls of narrower, deeper valleys.

What is NOT included from OSM (to answer above questions):

  • Buildings (those polygon building foot prints) ... all buildings in the defaul/HD Scenery are autogen, which means that "artificial" zones (polygon regions) are derived by combining the OSM road / railroad network data with landclass urban density informations (plus some more heuristic) and then are filled "on-the-fly" by X-Plane with building artwork. BUT, SimHeaven OSM add-on uses OSM buildings ...
  • Forests ... even though they are very detailed in some regions, in others, they are almost non existent. So, the coverage in OSM is by far not complete enough to be used on a scenery generated at global scale. Also, the tagging of the forest types (their classification, like coniferous, broadleaved, mixed, sparse/dense etc.)) is often not precise or just plain non existent). Thus, all forest information is derived from the landclass data I use (which in Canada, USA, Europe, Alaska, NZ is very precise and good / detailed enough in most cases). BUT, SimHeaven OSM add-on uses OSM forests ...
  • Wind farms ... no, they are currently not included by default from OSM (even if it was already planned, but somehow it didn't made it in the scenery generation process until now). Again, this you get with SimHeave OSM ...

If you have more questions about the OSM use inside X-Plane let me know.

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so what it precisely the answer?

can I install simheaven over it or not?

and what do i have to do more?

sometimes I got the feeling that we xpx lovers are more busy with the technick instead of flying in the sim.

On the other hand it costs me 6 years to find a disent way to run fsx.

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 my question is:could I install the simheaven photoscenery z17 over these?

Yes, BUT you will NOT install over it bur INSTEAD it ... As Tony descried very well above, SimHeaven is mesh based photoscenery and thus can only replace other mesh scenery (you can only have ONE mesh active at the same time, and if you have more than one installed in the same location, then the one with the higher priority is shown).

 

 

I read somewhere that simheaven uses the alpilotx also, does it mean its double?

In a way,yes, then you have double the data. The SimHeaven Mesh has all the same stuff in it as the original HD Mesh BUT with the big (and only) difference, that thetriangle mesh in it is not referencing default textures but instead it reference phototexture tiles ...

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ok thanks both for the explanation.

I will install over it and then take away the hd v 2 from alpilot (then i save some gb disc space)I understood.

But I will do that as soon as I know what I have installed via simheaven because it will probebly wont have the same size yet

as alpilot hdv2 area's.

 

last question Will there be a fast download system for simheaven scenery?

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I have done the following in the meantime

installed z17 and copied the folders and past it in the same area in nav data

i.e 20-10 z17 copy and past to 20-10 hd v2.

 

now i have a question:

 I also have the patch z17 with a number of detalis, do i have to put them seperately in nav data or is it not neccesary due to the latest z17 downloads.

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Sorry if this seems like a stupid question. Ive only had XP10 for a few days and only today i started downloading stuff from simheaven and HD Mesh to spice up the sim. I read a bunch of threads and info on the websites to wrap my brain around all the different components of scenery, but i am still a bit confused. If i understand correctly, HD Mesh is the elevation, roads, rivers, coastlines data correct? It does not include photoscenery? While the photo sceneries from simheaven are just that, photoscenery? I think im a little confused as to the OSM products offered from simheaven. The OSM sceneries provide buildings and forests only? And also, are HD Mesh and simheaven photo sceneries+osm sceneries mean to be used together? Or will they not work together? For instance, if i download the simheaven photo scenery for Wroclaw, Poland. And then i download the simheaven OSM Europe scenery, followed by the HD Mesh that encompasses Poland, will they all work together? And if so, would i just install them per the instructions and thats it? A few posts up Andras said that simheaven photoscenery is mesh based and hence will not work with other mesh since you can only have one mesh at a time? Sorry once again if these is a silly question

 

A little edit. After some more reading i think i stumbled on something, and just wanted to ask if i was right. It seems like simheaven photoscenery uses mesh data and hence cannot be used with HD Mesh from the alpilotx website? However, from the simheaven website you can download a special version of alpilotx HD Mesh that only contains the elevation data so that the simheaven scenery has more accurate elevation?

 

And 1 last question for now, do i need G2XPL?

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Don't feel bad about it... I've been using X-Plane 10 for quite a while and some of this concepts only got clearer just very recently...thanks to Tony's excellent post.

 

1) SimHeaven OSM or OSM+Autogen sceneries, as well as the suggested objects libraries to enhance buildings in Europe, etc..., are layed on top of whatever you have, being it the default X-Plane scenery with it's own Mesh, Alpilot's Mesh V2, or the Photosceneries that have their own Mesh!

 

2) From 1) you infer that in fact Photosceneries have a proper Mesh in them, and PilotBalu ( SimHeaven ) has just made available an update to all of his photosceneries that, based on Alpilot's Mesh V2, will enhance the Mesh base of his photosceneries.

 

So, Mesh is one thing and can be:

 

- X-plane's default,

- Alpilot's V2

- The Mesh that comes with a Photoscenery ( v1, or updated to V2 detail )

 

OSM+Autogen are objects that will be layed over whatever you have for a base.

 

When you use Photosceneries and Mesh V2 for a same area, the one that is declared first in the scenery-packs.ini file will take precedence .- just one of the meshes can be used, but, this only applies to those areas where Meshs might overlap.

 

In my case, there are parts of the World where I am using the default X.-Plane 10 Mesh, some others ( very limited ) where I use Alpilot's Mesh V2, and others ( growing from week to week) where I use SimHeaven's photosceneries ( with their own Mesh ).  At the same time I am using SimHeaven's OSM or OSM+Autogen sceneries for the whole World.

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And 1 last question for now, do i need G2XPL?

 

No you don't unless you want to generate your own photoscenery. Simheaven uses G2XPL to generate the photoscenery for you.

 

 

For instance, if i download the simheaven photo scenery for Wroclaw, Poland. And then i download the simheaven OSM Europe scenery, followed by the HD Mesh that encompasses Poland, will they all work together?

 

Yes, I have Wrocław as well, in fact I have most of Poland. I have the photoscenery (and mesh v2) from Simheaven, and I also have the OSM Europe which sits on top of it, which adds buildings and forests around Poland (when mapped in OSM). Just be aware that I don't think Simheaven has updated the photoscenery for Poland yet with the new mesh, but you can download the mesh v2 from his site and patch the scenery yourself, there are instructions included in the download.

 

Hope this helps

 

 

If you have more questions about the OSM use inside X-Plane let me know.

 

Thank you for the information and I'm sure I'll have more questions :-), I'll write an update to this ever-growing sticky later to include this info.

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I have a question regarding Z17 photoscenery and installed it.

the question is about the patch z17

do I have to move the whole folder to scenery ini or one by one in the specific area?

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I have a question regarding Z17 photoscenery and installed it.
the question is about the patch z17
do I have to move the whole folder to scenery ini or one by one in the specific area?

 

You are supposed to patch the scenery folder for each area, e.g. There will be a folder in each photo scenery called Earth Nav Data/XX-XXX/XX-XXX.dsf. You need to overwrite the DSF file with the file from the patch.

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I will look it up tomorrow as soon as my downloads are ready

I had to start all over with windows and xpx

this time i only download z17 photoscenery

with this last one i have a problem

as soon as the download is ready and click on open then I can make a choice.

I understood to click on z7 but it does not anything.

I have installed z7 from simheaven site and installed in programs

any idea what i can do?

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Tony,

 

Thanks very much for the detailed descriptions of the various scenery, mesh etc.  I found it very, very enlightening and informative.  It added greatly to my understanding of how all of this works.

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It added greatly to my understanding of how all of this works

 

You're welcome and I'm glad it helped you understand the confusion that is scenery for X-Plane :-). 

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I found the problem with 7z to install the z17 scenery.

it turned out that if the download is ready and says OPEN and click on it, then it will not work to extract but if I go to downloadsection where

the download has gone too there I could use 7z and extract.

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