DaveyDave

P3D Database Data (The new improved less controversial version)

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Hi All,

There's nothing like a warm welcome.

I'm trying to learn a bit about P3D. In particular, I'm interested in whether there are means through P3D or associated tools for creating or examining the visual database. For example, if I wanted to extract the exact location (ie. lat/lng/hgt) of a particular visual feature (like a tower or runway) from P3D, can I do that either by exporting the scene data somehow, or by using a scenery tool to do that?

Similarly, I'd be interested in the terrain elevation data that is used. Is it exportable?

I would also be interested in people's experience as to the geographic accuracy of the P3D visual scenery.

Thanks for any pointers.

Dave

 

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Okay.  Will give you the benefit of the doubt that you do not have an agenda here.  But the topic is being watched closely.

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1 hour ago, Jim Young said:

Okay.  Will give you the benefit of the doubt that you do not have an agenda here.  But the topic is being watched closely.

 

2 hours ago, DaveyDave said:

Hi All,

There's nothing like a warm welcome.

I'm trying to learn a bit about P3D. In particular, I'm interested in whether there are means through P3D or associated tools for creating or examining the visual database. For example, if I wanted to extract the exact location (ie. lat/lng/hgt) of a particular visual feature (like a tower or runway) from P3D, can I do that either by exporting the scene data somehow, or by using a scenery tool to do that?

Similarly, I'd be interested in the terrain elevation data that is used. Is it exportable?

I would also be interested in people's experience as to the geographic accuracy of the P3D visual scenery.

Thanks for any pointers.

Dave

 

Consult the P3d SDK and Learning Center. That's a pretty odd initial post, but I think that the best response is to have the OP  also take a look at www.FSDeveloper.com, since  the various people on that forum have developed a variety of  tools that can address the OP's question.

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If you just need the lat long and alt of somewhere in the sim, turn off collision detection and land a helicopter at that spot then press shift+z and that info will all be displayed in the top left corner of the sim. If you save the flight at that point, many programs can use the data from the saved situation file, for example FS Design Studio can import that saved flight data to aid with creating scenery at a specific location.

As far as I am aware, most of the data for the terrain elevation mesh in ESP-based sims is basically that derived from from the Space Shuttle Radar Topography Mission in 2000 (Mission number STS-99) which was an eleven day sortie carried out by the space shuttle orbiter Endeavour. The originally released data was to a resolution of 3 arc-seconds (which is approximately 90 meters resolution, or 295 feet if you don't do metric), however, NASA subsequently released more detailed elevation data in 2015, which is at a resolution of 1 arc-second (approximately 30 meters or 98 feet resolution). Since P3D is an ongoing development, it is likely it uses the more updated data (dunno whether FSX does). Note that tesselation settings in the sim, and in your GPU's software settings can/will affect the accuracy of that mesh elevation.

Since the NASA shuttle is the property of the US Government (and thus the property of its populace), the data gained from it is regarded as belonging to the people who funded it (i.e. US citizens) thus it is in the public domain. Other governments are not quite so philanthropic where that kind of thing is concerned, for example, in that same year as the Shuttle mission, the UK Government commissioned a high altitude radar mapping project for the UK, but they've not made that data free to the public although you can buy it (cheeky b*st*rds, considering me and other UK citizens funded it).

Of course Lockheed Martin's P3D also has sub surface oceanic floor data in it, which was not part of that Shuttle mission's data gathering, so the chances are that the data P3d uses for that at least, is not for use outside of the simulation itself (the EULA probably will state that). And since LM have access to all kinds of cool military stuff, it is possible P3D might use more complex terrain data too, but again, using the data outside the sim is probably contravening the EULA. Note that some payware companies do also offer add-on mesh data which increases the mesh resolution too, but again the data they use will be licensed for use only in that product, but that is not to say it might be available elsewhere for free.

You can get the Shuttle mission's terrain elevation data here:

https://eros.usgs.gov/

You want to be looking for DEM data (digital elevation models). And you can find out more about exactly what it does and does not contain here:

https://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/presskit/2000/STS-99.pdf

You can also do a Google search for DEM data, much of which is online and avalable to download although you will need suitable software to make use of it. A useful resource for that is stuff like Railworks and Trainz (train simulators), both of which have terrain creation capabilities which can use DEM data and there is a lot of info online about how to do that and what utilities you will need, much of which can be combined with info gained from Google Earth.

 

 

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Lockheed Martin (beyond it's simulator/training divisions) have probably more global accumulation of data than even Google.  LM are frequently launching and building geo sats http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/what-we-do/space/earth-observation-exploration.html.  I posted a few videos recently of 360 degree sat launches.  There certainly is military focus at LM, but it's by no means all that they do with over 126,000+ employees.  But to answer your question, LM have elevation/terrain data that is very current/accurate, that data hasn't made it into P3D yet, but it's "company" owned so there is no "actual" expense to using that data beyond converting it to P3D useable data (assuming it's not classified data) ... the benefits of P3D being under the wing of such a large company like LM.  LM is a great place to house a flight simulator development effort especially considering the relative (to A title games, COD, GTA V, etc.) market size of flight simulation user base.

With that said you can purchase other sources of data for P3D that improve geographic accuracy (PILOT's for example).

There are tools either in the SDK or via FSDeveloper and/or other sources that will accomplish what you seek.

Cheers, Rob.

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