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Propwash

FSX-MS
GE View: Google earth viewer for FSX and P3D

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Note:  I was not quite sure where to post this, so I asked Jim Young, Forums Director, who suggested that I post it here.

 

For an occasional and interesting diversion from usual Flight Sim VFR flights, take a look at GE View, a new FSX and P3D application written by Robbie McElrath. GE View produces an additional view of the external world using Google earth’s satellite imagery, displayed in a separate browser window as you fly.  It can be freely downloaded from the link attached below.

Screen shots below show side-by-side comparisons. For purposes of the comparison, the main cockpit panel has been closed in the FS window on the left. In the bottom picture, note the 3D views of buildings in Sion, Switzerland, that can be seen thanks to low altitude aerial stereo imagery now available in Google earth over many cities across the world.

 

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In my opinion, the Google earth view is often spectacular in mountainous areas, but cities that have the low altitude stereo imagery are impressive as well.

GE View consists of two files, HttpX.dll
that accesses pertinent A:Vars from Flight Sim and makes them readable to a web application, and earth.html
, the web app that opens Google earth and uses the A:Vars to control Google earth’s camera view. Those files, plus an installation guide, are attached to this posting.

 

In the works:

Oculus VR view: Robbie has completed a beta version of GE View that uses the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset (Development Kit 2 headset). It’s very cool to move your head around and see the Google earth 3D world around you as Flight Sim flies. Further work will await commercial release of the Oculus Rift VR headset and/or advancements in how the Google earth browser plug-in is implemented.

 

On the horizon:

Enhanced HttpX.dll: Expansion of functionality to read all types of Flight Sim variables and capability to write to L:Vars and fire events from html. This would facilitate development of a MFD on a tablet, for example. For a related product, please also check out http://websimconnect.webs.com/. Many will find that interesting as well. HttpX.dll does not use any websimconnect code, but I believe the underlying idea of joining Flight Sim with a web application is the same.

 

Admittedly, none of these are mainstream Flight Simulator applications, just additional interesting things that can be done. But if you’ve never been to the Alps, let GE View give you an aerial tour!

 

GE View link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bzp20cxkeu7iRVhTYmxpYS1uNXM&authuser=0

 

Regards,

 

Bob McElrath

 

FS9: If anyone wants GE View for FS9, please respond and an FS9 http.dll will be posted (FS9 requires a different http.dll than FSX / P3D).

 

Security Note: HttpX opens a TCP port (54321) on the machine running Flight Simulator. While every effort was made to ensure there are no vulnerabilities, as best practice you should restrict access to this port to your local machine or local network (for those behind home routers, most will allow external access only to whitelisted ports by default anyway). As such, use this software at your own risk.

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Rich, try TileProxy with their new TileProxy R.

 

Thanks Gerard - I have tried it but if I remember correctly you had to download a ton of files which I did not like :)

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Well, I just posted a link to this thread at the Aerowinx PSX forum.

 

PSX has PSX-Earth, a plugin that also allows for the use of GE for some external visuals ( using a browser with Java ) but it doesn't model the 6DOF positioning of the aircraft ( bank for instance isn't represented ) which poses some limitations to it's use... I wonder if this approach could allow for an even better visualizer ?

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Thanks Gerard - I have tried it but if I remember correctly you had to download a ton of files which I did not like :)

True, but it is done automatically and how many space does photo scenery take on your drive.

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GE View attached above fully captures bank, pitch, and yaw.  Take a look at the Grand Tetons screen shot above where the aircraft is banking to the left.  Its the same view as the FSX/P3D external view except that it is in a web browser and uses Google earth satellite and aerial stereo photography imagery.  GE View can be used in aerobatic flight if wanted.  When FS is run in windowed (not Full Screen) mode, then both the Flight Sim cockpit view plus the Google earth view can be seen simultaneously.

 

Downsides include satellite images not uniformly outstanding everywhere on earth, you cant do weather or night (night - not very well anyway) and you need good internet speed ... but where I live (Bangkok), it's not so fast and GE View still looks good.  Upside is that GE View is just two small, simple files and its completely aircraft independent.  Just launch earth.html anytime you want to see the Google earth view.

 

Once again, this is not mainstream Flight Sim nor a replacement for add on scenery.  But I admit to being a bit mesmerized and spending hours flying around mountainous terrain even though I rarely flew VFR in Flight Sim before.

 

Here are two recorded examples of what Google earth looks like when flying is done in Flight Sim:  Go to the Google Drive folder using this link:

 

Google Drive link:  https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bzp20cxkeu7ibTRLbXRDTndOUzA&authuser=0

 

Highlight AEROBATICS FLIGHT and click Download.  Save to disk or better yet, just open with Google Earth.  Click the play button in the lower left corner.  Same for the TETONS FLIGHT file.

 

The Tetons flight was flown out of Jackson Hole Airport, Wyoming, USA.  The aerobatics flight was flown out of Hutchinson Airport, Kansas, USA.  Note that both files were recorded at 2X speed using LOGGER

 

Regards,

 

Bob

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Great idea!

 

It would be nicer by replacing the main window of scenery visualisation in FSX/P3D with this Google Maps visualization, maintaining the 3D cockpit visible and functional ;)

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It would be nicer by replacing the main window of scenery visualisation in FSX/P3D with this Google Maps visualization, maintaining the 3D cockpit visible and functional ;)

 

 

+1

 

John

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Many many thanks Propwash for posting this, and of course, to the creator, Robbie MacElrath!! For us, who just fly VFR  it is a tremendous turning point. What some haven´t seen it is not the same of aerial imagery, it has ALL THE 3D scenery of the major cities, the real thing, not general buildings spread everywhere or a flat real image.... its a HUGE difference!!

 

Thank you again, i tried gevision (didn't work) and all sort of other programs, none compares this! One thing I could really be amazed was if it somehow could follow the changing in the first person view in fsx

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Any way to get rid of the shimmering scenery in GE View?

 

Hello Jim.  Maybe.  If you look at the Google Earth playback of the Tetons flight as an example, there is no shimmering of the distant scenery images.  I'm sure it has to do with the rate of Google earth rendering.  Will look into it.

 

Bob

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Many many thanks Propwash for posting this, and of course, to the creator, Robbie MacElrath!! For us, who just fly VFR  it is a tremendous turning point. What some haven´t seen it is not the same of aerial imagery, it has ALL THE 3D scenery of the major cities, the real thing, not general buildings spread everywhere or a flat real image.... its a HUGE difference!!

 

Thank you again, i tried gevision (didn't work) and all sort of other programs, none compares this! One thing I could really be amazed was if it somehow could follow the changing in the first person view in fsx

 

Thanks for the kind words.

 

I'm not quite sure what you mean by following the changing of the first person view in FSX, but with a little work, it would be possible to look left or right or behind (or any direction) instead of always looking forward.  I worked through all the camera view transforms needed for panning around when I wrote the Google Earth Tour and Track app that's bundled with LOGGER.  You can get an idea if you play the recorded Teton flight (see response #7 above) and use the direction rose in the upper right corner (click and hold the "N" and move it around) to see in any direction.

 

Also, Robbie completed a beta version of GE View for use with the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset.  Wearing that headset while flying Flight Simulator, all I need to do is move my head in any direction to see the Google Earth 3D view.  Very cool.

 

Bob

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