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SteveRosenow

Coming soon to FSX: Time Capsule - Mount St. Helens Pre-1980

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It has been years in the making and finally, I am getting close to release. 

It has long been a goal of mine, to be able to fly around Mount St. Helens and experience what that sight was like, before the cataclysmic eruption on May 18, 1980. That eruption tore 1,400 feet off the top of the volcano and changed the landscape around it forever.

Through some intrepid search and working in GIS software, I was able to come across a pre-eruption DEM of the peak gathered from topographic data in the late 1970s. After tedious conversion to Flight Simulator's required file format, I was able to compile that DEM into a usable terrain mesh file.

In addition, I sourced a 1-meter-per-pixel aerial photograph of Mount St. Helens taken in late summer 1979.

These screenshots show early development. It's designed to be compatible with ORBX FTN PNW mesh, however it will come with its own mesh as well. I am also realigning Spirit Lake's shoreline to pre-1980 contours as well as eliminating dozens of ponds in the debris flow. I will also eliminate Coldwater and Castle Lake as these lakes did not exist prior to 1980, and reroute Highway 504 to its original valley floor alignment.

I hope to have it ready for release within a few months. In addition, I am coming out with an enhanced and updated scenery pack for Mount St. Helens as it currently stands. Updated visitor center models, updated scenery libraries and an enhanced user experience for the helicopter simulation enthusiast! 

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Edited by SteveRosenow
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That looks very nice.  As a native Washingtonian, I miss the beautiful symmetrical look of the mountain of yesteryear.  Just one question,  I do virtually all of my flying using Megascenery Earth.  By applying the mesh alone to the scenery would I be able to recapture the basic size and shape of the mountain?

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4 hours ago, blkbart said:

That looks very nice.  As a native Washingtonian, I miss the beautiful symmetrical look of the mountain of yesteryear.  Just one question,  I do virtually all of my flying using Megascenery Earth.  By applying the mesh alone to the scenery would I be able to recapture the basic size and shape of the mountain?

Yes. There are terrain anomalies because the pre-1980 DEM region directly north cause a fairly small cliff to appear. It's due to the depth of the blast deposits and height of the current DEM over the pre-1980 DEM data. Otherwise, everything will mesh up 

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A job well done, sir. Looks great.

 

JimE

 


Banner_MJC5.png

James D. Edwards

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23 hours ago, jime59 said:

A job well done, sir. Looks great.

 

JimE

Thank you! 

Here's a video of the latest testing. :)

Enjoy!
 

 

 

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Things are coming along quite nicely!

I've managed to realign Highway 504 to its pre-1980 alignment as well as realign Spirit Lake to its pre-1980 shoreline.

 

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In addition, I've begun testing prototype seasonal variations. So far, this is looking fantastic!

Winter:
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Spring:
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Summer:
47290861502_44ebca9fa6_b.jpg


Fall:
47290861422_d7547eb789_b.jpg

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Much progress has been made since the last post! 

Since I last updated, I've been hard at work pushing towards completion by modeling all the landmarks at Spirit Lake, most notably the Mount St. Helens Lodge at Spirit Lake, owned by 84-year-old Harry Truman. Harry Truman became a folk hero and overnight media sensation, with his steadfast refusal to leave his beloved lodge and mountain, saying "That mountain is a part of Truman and I'm a part of it!"

I have several more buildings to compile and complete. Also, I am still trying to source a wider DEM terrain mesh pre-1980 for the area, but so far things are looking fantastic!

 



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And one more video!

Harry Truman's Mount St. Helens Lodge is now complete in FSX. For a quick showcase, I loaded up a flight at Bear Meadow approximately 8 miles NE of Mount St. Helens. The flight begins by flying over a nearby ridge with Mount St. Helens in view, then transiting through Norway Pass for a skim of Spirit Lake's surface at 130 knots.

After, I bring the helicopter back around and land it in front of Harry Truman's lodge, for a shutdown.

 

 

 

 

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Steve this looks fantastic! I’ve been searching all afternoon for pre-eruption data and have not found but one source and the quality isn’t great but worse yet it’s only the mountain. No surrounding elevation data making it’s use very limited. Would you do a fellow St. Helen lover a favor and point me in the right direction? I would be internally grateful to you. 
Jay

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34 minutes ago, JayYount731 said:

Steve this looks fantastic! I’ve been searching all afternoon for pre-eruption data and have not found but one source and the quality isn’t great but worse yet it’s only the mountain. No surrounding elevation data making it’s use very limited. Would you do a fellow St. Helen lover a favor and point me in the right direction? I would be internally grateful to you. 
Jay

His last visit to this site was in 2019.  Don't count on a response from him!


Charlie Aron

Awaiting the new Microsoft Flight Sim and the purchase of a new system.  Running a Chromebook for now! :cool:

                                     

 

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On 10/30/2021 at 6:09 PM, charliearon said:

His last visit to this site was in 2019.  Don't count on a response from him!

Hold on tight.... I have a lengthy reply coming up. Suffice to say, I'm working on this yet again. 

Please read my reply when done. :)

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On 10/30/2021 at 5:34 PM, JayYount731 said:

Steve this looks fantastic! I’ve been searching all afternoon for pre-eruption data and have not found but one source and the quality isn’t great but worse yet it’s only the mountain. No surrounding elevation data making it’s use very limited. Would you do a fellow St. Helen lover a favor and point me in the right direction? I would be internally grateful to you. 
Jay

Hi, Jay. 

Sorry that I didn't respond in time to your question. A lot has happened in life since I was last here, and I ended up taking a break from both this project, Flight Sim in general, and a lot of other things. 

Suffice it to say, sadly, to answer your question: The DEM of the area outside of the peak itself just doesn't exist. I too, have been looking for it.

In the last few months, I have been hard at work on this project. I picked it back up because someone on a local Mount St. Helens group reached out to me via Facebook and asked if I was the author of the few YouTube videos I have up regarding it. It was as if I was a celebrity when I told him I was. 

In the process of restarting the project, I have since learned that the USGS has either lost or destroyed the old, pre-eruption DEM of the area around Mount St. Helens that was authored in 1983, for a study both that year and for one authored in 1986.

The hillshade/DEM grayscale images of that DEM appear on the MSSS (Malin Space Science Systems) website as the founder of the company is one of the aforementioned latter study's authors. I reached out to both he, and his co-author both a month ago and those emails have gone unanswered. Additionally, I've reached out to several USGS geologists at the Cascades Volcano Observatory and they cannot locate it, either (and some haven't even answered my emails at all). They continue to tell me that they can't locate it because the data retrieval systems to which USGS uses were outmoded years ago. 

I also tried reaching out to the author of a study done in 2009 (then a student at Oregon's Portland State University) who partnered with the US Army Corps of Engineers, who used five 15-minute USGS quadrangle topographic maps to create a DEM of the pre- and post-eruption landslide deposit areas, and the elevation changes in the Toutle Valley down to Hoffstadt Bluffs. Attempts to reach out failed, because while his study is freely available to download and read on Portland State University's website, the contact info. of the author is hidden. 

Consequent to those findings and the circumstances to which I am dealt with, I am in the process of trying to create that DEM myself. I have downloaded those same five USGS 15-minute quadrangle topographic maps of Mount St. Helens, which were done in the 1950s. To date, they remain the highest quality, pre-1980 eruption topographic elevation maps of Mount St. Helens ever created by the USGS. They were also the source of the pre-1980 cone DEM to which you speak (and which I also have, and it forms the basis of the pre-1980 cone in the sim).

Work also restarted on the project because I was contacted by an individual on Facebook who subsequently put me in contact with Harry Truman's living granddaughter. She provided me with great reference material with which to work on refining his lodge and cabins in the sim. Suffice it to say, I was way off in some aspects, and Harry Truman's Mount St. Helens Lodge ended up being overhauled. That same individual put me in contact with the very individual who operated the Spirit Lake Lodge, a mile and a half downstream from Harry Truman's lodge. An entire day's worth of work went into modeling that lodge as well, plus a cabin that was nearby (modeled from photos sourced by a family member of the former cabin owner itself).

Additionally, I reached out and contacted the curator of a local Facebook page that focuses on pre-1980 Mount St. Helens. This was after I'd discovered the page and the fact it had a few high-res photos of one of the YMCA camps and Harmony Falls Lodge. After contacting him, he then subsequently provided me with over 60 photographs of the pre-eruption cabins, lodges, and other structures that dotted the pre-1980 Spirit Lake shoreline. These photos also included photos and a map of the United States Forest Service campground at Spirit Lake. Over 100 photos were sent as reference.

One other contributor to the project, an individual whose father worked for Weyerhaeuser at the time the eruption occurred and who worked on recovering the downed timber post-eruption, sent me over sixty photos from his family's private collection and the private collection of another individual (a friend of his), showing the areas that were destroyed, only the photos were taken in the previous two days before the eruption. These photos included the only known photographs taken one day before the eruption, of the now-destroyed logging equipment on Coldwater Ridge that visitors can see when they hike the ridge. In two of the photos that were sent, taken on May 16, 1980, show a grayish-green Chevrolet pickup with a canopy, seen on a logging scale crossing just west of the Highway 504 closure gate. The owners of that truck, William and Jean Parker, are seen standing next to it talking with a few other individuals. The Parker's truck, and their bodies, were discovered by rescue crews near Hanaford Lake the day after.

So, suffice it to say, I am hard at work on continuing the project yet again.

Here is what has changed since my last post in this thread:

1.) Newer, higher resolution source aerial image of the peak for the terrain overlay was sourced from a USGS server. It is the same image used in early screenshots and videos. However, the resolution is sourced from the master file. The details of the peak are now crystal clear, much sharper than before. 

51629540997_3bf55a6a39_o.jpgMount St. Helens Pre-1980 for Microsoft Flight Simulator X - Updated Terrain (improved color accuracy) by Steven Rosenow, on Flickr

51629540657_f49d71afac_o.jpgMount St. Helens Pre-1980 for Microsoft Flight Simulator X - Updated Terrain (improved color accuracy) by Steven Rosenow, on Flickr

51631122495_0ee3227060_o.jpgMount St. Helens Pre-1980 for Microsoft Flight Simulator X - Updated Terrain (improved color accuracy) by Steven Rosenow, on Flickr

51629448357_c4007ec631_o.jpgMount St. Helens Pre-1980 for Microsoft Flight Simulator X - Updated Terrain (improved color accuracy) by Steven Rosenow, on Flickr

2.) I have significantly overhauled the 3D sim objects in the sim, as well as added several others. Not shown in this series of photos is the Boy Scouts of America camp, aptly named Camp Spirit Lake, which was on the northwest corner of the northeast arm of Spirit Lake. As you'll see here in these screen captures, Harry Truman's lodge has received the largest makeover, due to the large and rather high quality reference material to which I received (which also included brochures of his lodge and cabins, dated in the 1950s and 1960s).

You'll see here, too, that I've added the United States Forest Service ranger station at Spirit Lake, as well as the nine bathroom buildings that resided at the USFS Spirit Lake Campground. (next up, simulating campfires at night. Still working on that! :) )

51630587303_646f9802dd_o.jpgMount St. Helens Pre-1980 for Microsoft Flight Simulator X - Spirit Lake Lodge Updates by Steven Rosenow, on Flickr

51629542032_8af65e09d9_o.jpgMount St. Helens Pre-1980 for Microsoft Flight Simulator X - US Forest Service Spirit Lake Campground and Ranger Station by Steven Rosenow, on Flickr

51642857203_4eebf2d707_o.jpgMount St. Helens Pre-1980 for Microsoft Flight Simulator X - Updated Mount St. Helens Lodge (better modeling, texture mapping and accuracy) by Steven Rosenow, on Flickr

And lastly, an updated video tour. This video, simulating a late August 1979 mid-morning flight, takes off from the edge of a clearcut on what was then known as South Coldwater Ridge. Eighteen years into the future, this would be the north edge of the Johnston Ridge Observatory's parking lot, at a helipad just off the lot. The flight begins by taking off over the ridge, turning south over a quarry where nine months later, USGS Geologist David A. Johnston would be stationed. It continues by circling over the mountain, then descending to Spirit Lake where it flies up the lake to the BSA camp, then turns back south for a pass over Harry's lodge, then onto the Spirit Lake Lodge before flying back to end at Harry Truman's Mount St. Helens lodge. It is 24 minutes long, flown in the Dodosim Bell 206. No music in the video, just the sound of a 250-C20B.
 

 

Edited by SteveRosenow

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