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Crowdfunding for orthoimagery - anyone in?

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I wonder if fellow simmers would be interested in starting a crowd funding project for orthoimagery. The intention would be to gather the necessary funds to buy orthophotos for the most popular regions which could then be turned into scenery with ortho4xp. I didn't think about details yet. It's my personal opinion that orthoimages and XP 11 are the perfect couple and that we need to start building up an official repository of such photos which can be shared by the community. Maybe with some luck and the restriction to not commercialize the pictures one could negotiate an acceptable price with the providers.

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Thanks Jay, it's great to see some fair and free providers. It's an interesting market.

 

Problem with free offerings is that they come in a multitude of formats which makes it more difficult to convert into scenery tiles, IMO.

 

The idea behind organizing the sources on a paid basis is to get data which would be easier to convert.

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I'm definitely in. What is an additional cost I guess is the server bandwith to host/download such huge files. For US I think this would be the only cost, in Europe you would have to add the purchase of textures from Bing or Google, I know company like Aerosoft or 29Palm buy orthos for their mega sceneries.

 

To be honest some providers made available orthos for Europe without any copiright issue from the two mega corps, they eventually closed the more detailed LOD17 due to the massive cost for managing the download traffic.

 

I still believe sharing orthos is the key, for example I managed to do the Cyclades islands at good L17/L18/L19 resolution, spent lot of hours fixing differences, merging tiles, changing colours...but then I don't know how and if I'm allowed to share my work. I guess many others have done the same work on other parts.

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I think you will be shocked when you find out how much the providers will want to charge. 

 

Also, USGS is good source, but it is a lot of effort to download the files.  For example, a single 1x1 degree area has something like 400 image files to download and each one is 100 megabytes.  That's 40 gigabytes for a single 1x1 degree area.

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I think you will be shocked when you find out how much the providers will want to charge. 

 

Also, USGS is good source, but it is a lot of effort to download the files.  For example, a single 1x1 degree area has something like 400 image files to download and each one is 100 megabytes.  That's 40 gigabytes for a single 1x1 degree area.

 

That depends on the ZL.

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That's 40 gigabytes for a single 1x1 degree area.

 

That's basically what one will find with most of the high quality orthoimagery. The tiles can be very small. Downloading large numbers of tiles is impractical. The NY orthoimagery is UTM zone 18 and jpg.  I doubt that it's any different than the recent USGS imagery. NY paid for the aerial overflights under some USGS sponsored program.

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That depends on the ZL.

Probably going to want a range of ZL 16-ZL18.

 

Actually I found a source that provides 0.6 meter orthoimagery for US that can be downloaded by entire county at a time.  Downloading one right now to try it out.  That could be an option.

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0.6 meter is like ZL18? Based on my calculation for the entire US on ZL18 the images will total to sth like 20TB  Just curious how could you manage to download that much data. 

 

It's great though that you can have them for the whole US. I'm jealous. 

 

I'm wiling to put in some money so we can have a more or less permanent and guaranteed source for orhtoimages or even sharing tiles. Bit-torrent should help on the bandwidth problem I guess. 

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I can't think of a lot of solutions, but I can sure think of a lot of obstacles. Not the least of which is bandwidth costs.

 

Just using Amazon S3 as a very quick guideline, 20 TB (United States at ZL18) with 5 TB data transfer out a month is close to $1000 per month.

 

Peer-to-peer such as bittorrent would help with initial or perhaps ongoing demand of popular areas, but long term over huge data sets it would never work

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I'm downloading the entire state of CA (2016 data) at 0.6 m/p right now.  It's 10 GB for entire state of CA.  It's compressed Mr. Sid format so size is reasonable, although quality slightly degraded.  Even though source is ZL18, it would probably be good for ZL16 or 17 due to compression degradation. Also, not sure yet how well the colors are balanced from region to region or if 0.6 m/p is available for entire US.

 

Distribution would have to be through bit torrent.  Or maybe bit torrent for popular areas, and donated servers for unpopular areas.

 

I'm stuck at figuring out how to get Orth4XP to use the downloaded imagery though.  I have the capability of exporting to local files in TMS tiles or even Bing tiles.  But not sure Orth4XP can read local files.  Or I can export to GeoTIFF, etc., but again not sure what to do from there.  ANy ideas?

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I'm downloading the entire state of CA (2016 data) at 0.6 m/p right now.  It's 10 GB for entire state of CA.  It's compressed Mr. Sid format so size is reasonable, although quality slightly degraded.  Even though source is ZL18, it would probably be good for ZL16 or 17 due to compression degradation. Also, not sure yet how well the colors are balanced from region to region or if 0.6 m/p is available for entire US.

 

Distribution would have to be through bit torrent.  Or maybe bit torrent for popular areas, and donated servers for unpopular areas.

 

I'm stuck at figuring out how to get Orth4XP to use the downloaded imagery though.  I have the capability of exporting to local files in TMS tiles or even Bing tiles.  But not sure Orth4XP can read local files.  Or I can export to GeoTIFF, etc., but again not sure what to do from there.  ANy ideas?

 

 

Post in the Ortho4XP thread on the org.

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Post in the Ortho4XP thread on the org.

 

I posted over there.  No answer yet, but hopefully will get an answer.  I actually found an even better source. 2016 imagery, ZL18, excellent color correction, and no noticeable compression artifacts.  Looks like the source imagery will end up being about 100 GB for the entire state of CA.  Best of all free and public domain. Still not sure how practical it will be to process the imagery.

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Well, ZL18 is just overkill, it's unrealistic to try and cover an entire country in that zoomlevel. Realistically, you should mix the zoomlevels, ZL18 for airport zone, ZL17 for cities or interesting areas and the rest ZL16. This has worked for me very well, and most of the ZL16 tiles I only see from 2000ft or above. The average 1x1 tile is about 3GB, and will compress down to about 1GB.

 

Apart for USGS, there are other free sources, e.g. LINZ in New Zealand and some others in Europe. However, to actually try and license or purchase from some providers is going to come as a very nasty shock, and the only way to gain this imagery would be to license it in a single product and not provide them in raw form.

 

There have already been many attempts to set up a shared repository of legal imagery in torrent form which has been edited, but it always fails. You can read about 2 or 3 such efforts over on the X-Plane.org thread. So, maybe try going for free sources first and see how it goes (I'll gladly help if someone sets it up)


 

 


But not sure Orth4XP can read local files.  Or I can export to GeoTIFF, etc., but again not sure what to do from there.  ANy ideas?

 

Ortho4XP will download the tiles for you in jpeg, you can then use the mosaic util to join all the jpegs together, colour blend them, and then split them out again (You will need a lot of RAM, I easily use 10GB in photoshop).

 

An alternative without modifying Ortho4XP is to overwrite the jpegs Ortho4XP downloads with your own images (but you'll need some code to do this), but since there are several USGS WMS imagery sources, this seems unnecessary

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Well, ZL18 is just overkill, it's unrealistic to try and cover an entire country in that zoomlevel. Realistically, you should mix the zoomlevels, ZL18 for airport zone, ZL17 for cities or interesting areas and the rest ZL16. This has worked for me very well, and most of the ZL16 tiles I only see from 2000ft or above. The average 1x1 tile is about 3GB, and will compress down to about 1GB.

 

Came to the same solution: best compromise unless you're a GA exclusive pilot who loves low trip over country side. Still L17 with L18/19 for town airports is manageable with usually 2 to 3 GB of HD space (jpg not dds).

Sharing only the jpg at this setting coupled with the Ortho4Xp tile.cfg is quite doable, I'd go with this solution for a public repository.

For example Italy+France+Suisse+Austria is roughly 200 tiles X 2.5 Gb = 500 Gb which on a public cloud service means more or less 60 $ a year

 

Of course uploading the full dds converted packages means 2Tb and costs and time explodes exponentially that was prolly the reason wht SimHeaven gave up with their L17 tiles.

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