fta2017

Number of 3D cities in MS2020? - use Earth View 3D to see them!

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Posted (edited)

If you want to see the tech being used in MS2020 it is based on Bing and Azure, the exact same technology used to drive the Windows 10 Store App called Earth View - Map 3D. When visiting the locations shown the trailer in this app, they are pixel-for-pixel identical.

The app streams data to your PC in the exact same way as Google Earth 3D does. I expect that the simulator will likely allow users to set a local disk cache size so when revisiting a city the data does not have to be re-streamed. /end_speculation 😉 

To download this free app:

1. Windows 10 - Microsoft Store

2. Search for "Earth View"

3. Install the app

 

Run the app, click on the (3D) icon at the top to the right of the plus symbol (which shows all 3D locations worldwide) and visit Houston, TX.

Now use your mouse to move to Minute Maid Park baseball stadium. You can rotate using Right-Mouse hold and drag. Position to view to recreate the image in the trailer. 

Earth-View-3-D-Houston.jpg

You can see that everything is pixel identical, including the parked cars!

The closer you zoom in, the more detail is loaded. Notice though, how many objects have skewed shapes and textures, especially the trees.

Now if you want to see how many cities around the world have this in 3D, you can use the (3D) menu to see the full list. What is surprising is the omissions like London, Manchester in the UK and Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne in Oz etc.

So while those quick city flyovers in the trailer looked pretty, the reality is that it won't be the same as fully modelled cities like we have in other sims, and certainly won't include effects like PBR etc. /end_speculation

Edited by fta2017
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Interesting.  I'd rather not mess with the app.  Can you give us an estimate of how many cities are there?  Thanks.

Hook

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I wonder how those cities will look if you land and take a stroll down a street?

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1 hour ago, LHookins said:

Interesting.  I'd rather not mess with the app.  Can you give us an estimate of how many cities are there?  Thanks.

Hook

65 international (non-USA)

165 USA

These are not all large cities, there are regional towns in the list also.

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If comparing the computing power needed to show a conventionally modeled city like Dzewicky New York (which has to omit a lot of small details) with 30 fps to a textured 3D mesh of a photogrammetrically generated city (which shows every details as it was seen by the camera) then you will realize that this is the future way to go for densely populated areas (provided you have access to the geodata whis MS clearly has). There are many advantages: no more ground textures with roads cutting through buildings, no need to turn down autogen building density in large cities, no repeating autogen textures, no need to model most of the landmarks, even shader based animations like road traffice are working inside this textured mesh. You only need fast internet and a graphics card capable of fast tesselation and good antialiasing. The streamed data surely will be cached on your PC so you don't have to wait for downloading them each time if your every day starting airport is, say, NY La Guardia. One big drawback is, that "holes" in the geometry (like in the Arc de Triomphe) and transparent elements are not always shown satisfyingly (at least until now and what I have seen on my PC). Also, if you get very close, the resolution will likely be insufficient. In an airplane you normally don't come too close, but landing a helicopter on a skyscraper might be problematic. Also, airport buildings are better modeled as 3D objects. But, I could imagine that this can also be done (semi)automatically using HD photogrammetry and some clever algorithms. The LA airport in the video is a good example: it is modeled with HD textures, buth the trees in the background seem to be 3D mesh.

Contrary to FSX, P3D etc., the amount of data and the workload for your PC will be nearly the same in a city or in a mountainous forest area when using this 3D mesh technique. Admittedly, the latter case will be a waste of bandwidth if it can be done convincingly with an improved conventional landclass tech. Also, for huge areas of the world (tropical forests, polar regions, ..) there are no HD textured mesh data - thus they'll have to use landclass tech if the whole globe is to be rendered (which I believe).

I see this video (apart from the absolutely stunning lighting an weather) as a showcase of new scenery technologies that might (or will) make it into the product, but surely not completely replace the old tech. It's a way for MS to generate profit from the data (satellite and aerial imagery) they own. In Bing you can view them for free, but in FS it's value added and probably will cost a subscription fee. I could even imagine that you can use the product without such subscription - you simply will see some default scenery then. Not worse than what we have now.

So I really don't understand all the panic and negative comments. I'm looking forward what they will achieve during the next months.

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Just now, fta2017 said:

65 international (non-USA)

165 USA

These are not all large cities, there are regional towns in the list also.

Not even close to FS2002 3D coverage.

MS Flight scenery was very good too at the time, but that did not help it.

The new MSFS appears to have an autogen solution for at least some 2D areas (from what we can see in the trailer). But if much of the new virtual planet is Mega Scenery Earth 2D style, to be done 3D "later" and/or as DLC, it will utterly fail. We've had a full 3D planet for about 2 decades! Perhaps the new MSFS will indeed have autogen planet wide; the more accurate the better.

We flight simmers do not go backwards under any circumstances. Hopefully MS knows and understands this or this new project will be a foolish waste of time, money, and effort. 

Disclaimer: I'm not making any conclusions about the new MSFS. I want MS to succeed, and I will give MS a chance to produce their product before I make any conclusions about the new MSFS.🙂

 

 

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It's almost like there's information we don't know here. lol. 😁

I'm sure MSFS isn't doing this haphazardly.  

They were totally out of this space for over a decade.

I have to think this is a very well thought out re-entry or they wouldn't be doing any of the work or investing the time and money.

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Posted (edited)

I doubt they put all their data available on those public/open softwares. What if the rest of the data is available only for paying costumers of their services? You really think the data on the public version of Bing Maps is as large as 2 Petabytes?

Edited by ca_metal
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2 minutes ago, irrics said:

I have to think this is a very well thought out re-entry or they wouldn't be doing any of the work or investing the time and money.

Well thought out yes, but good for flight simmers; maybe, maybe not.

As a metaphor of sorts: 

Some criminals take time to think things through too....plans intended which were good for them only, and most fail. Most say they were foolish and stupid, but they don't think so because they did it. They only know they were stupid and foolish when they get caught or killed. Flight simmers let no "criminals" escape our system of justice. Punishment is swift and certain...this is a good thing, because a high standard remains.

A "selfless attitude" (or thinking about flight simmers first) in the case of MSFS will need to be exhibited plainly, before we can know the level of success. 

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Posted (edited)

I don't know - I think Matt Booty nodding publicly to the complex sim users is a really good sign honestly.  The comment about bringing it to Xbox and "they will figure out a way to make it work" to me means it's a complex, PC focused, full blown new MSFS that they will squeeze a version down into the Xbox, not the inverse.

Credit to @TravelRunner404 for the link in this thread:

 

“We decided it would be a good statement to have Flight Simulator in there because it's a game with deep connections to Microsoft's roots - the first game we ever published - it makes a statement. But you could say it's a PC thing, the folks who get into them often buy specialised joysticks, throttles, multi-monitor setups. They're some of the most passionate about building rigs. But at the same time, we're also going to bring that game to Xbox consoles. Why? Because people want to play it on Xbox and we'll figure out a way to make it work. So, platforms, even competing ones, comes down to us following the players and seeing where they want that content.”

Edited by irrics
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Now that is a very good piece of news. First substantial confirmation we're talking about a complex sim here.

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Posted (edited)

Of note is that these aren't just city centers. I just went about 15 miles away from Seattle's needle and the houses are still in 3D. Same for Miami.

Didn't try any others.

Edited by bonchie

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, pracines said:

Not even close to FS2002 3D coverage.

MS Flight scenery was very good too at the time, but that did not help it.

The new MSFS appears to have an autogen solution for at least some 2D areas (from what we can see in the trailer). But if much of the new virtual planet is Mega Scenery Earth 2D style, to be done 3D "later" and/or as DLC, it will utterly fail. We've had a full 3D planet for about 2 decades! Perhaps the new MSFS will indeed have autogen planet wide; the more accurate the better.

We flight simmers do not go backwards under any circumstances. Hopefully MS knows and understands this or this new project will be a foolish waste of time, money, and effort. 

Disclaimer: I'm not making any conclusions about the new MSFS. I want MS to succeed, and I will give MS a chance to produce their product before I make any conclusions about the new MSFS.🙂

 

 

Do you seriously think MS isn't going to surpass a bunch of blocky buildings from FS2002? There are already solutions to this stuff without having 3D scans. There's other data out there to place buildings, i.e. XP with orthos uses one method.

There's also going to be landclass scenery in this game. You can see it in the trailer at certain points.

I'm couching my speculation on most things, but I'll go ahead and put my neck out there for this one. There's a 0.0% chance that MS is going to release most of the world as flat orthos. Not going to happen. In fact, we know that's not going to happen because the interview mentions the AI will fill these areas in.

 

Edited by bonchie
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14 minutes ago, bonchie said:

Of note is that these aren't just city centers. I just went about 15 miles away from Seattle's needle and the houses are still in 3D. Same for Miami.

Didn't try any others.

That's great for you guys across the pond. In London - if you go a mile and a half away from Buckingham Palace it all goes to cock (2D).

Luckily, I love flying in the States, especially in the Rockies.

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Posted (edited)

Maybe someone has mentioned this?

But Dubai is not modeled in 3D on Bing like the other cities we saw in the trailer. Yet, the Dubai scene in the trailer still looked incredibly good, with next-gen looking 3D rendering.

Point is, contrary to some speculation, they've got a way to make cityscapes without having specific 3D scans like the 165 US cities in the database. I suspect that's where the AI comes in and that it'll judge building heights based on the angle of the original satellite photo measured against some kind of constant. There's also building height data in places like OSM.

Edited by bonchie
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6 minutes ago, bonchie said:

Of note is that these aren't just city centers. I just went about 15 miles away from Seattle's needle and the houses are still in 3D. Same for Miami.

Didn't try any others.

This does vary by city. Some have wider coverage than others. The USA has, by far, the most cities with this type of 3D technology. Calgary Alberta, for example, only has a little beyond the downtown area covered. There are also a lot of issues with color variations in the underlying ortho images in many cities and regions. I hope their AI will correct some of these discrepancies to improve the match. This is something I have done manually for many tiles in the making of my own Ortho4XP scenery collection. 

Clearly, for this to work well, there needs to be a plausible alternative to the full 3D areas, otherwise the transition will be jarring and take away immersion. I speculate that, outside the 3D areas, buildings will be added based other available data similar to what W2XP and ORBX's True Earth Series are able to do. 

Perhaps they can even produce their own data for placing buildings and trees accurately by using AI to scan the orthophotos and determine the positions and footprints. Pure speculation on my part, as I have no idea if this is possible yet, but have always wondered if it could be done.

Something else I definitely want is an accurate road network wherever I fly, not roads that are baked into the textures as they are currently with landclass based scenery.

Based on the the trailer, I still think X-Planes night lighting system looks superior the the upcoming MFS, but I know it is not even in beta yet. Otherwise , it does look visually stunning and as most of you here, I look forward to learning more about it.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 minute ago, turnandbank said:

This does vary by city. Some have wider coverage than others. The USA has, by far, the most cities with this type of 3D technology. Calgary Alberta, for example, only has a little beyond the downtown area covered. There are also a lot of issues with color variations in the underlying ortho images in many cities and regions. I hope their AI will correct some of these discrepancies to improve the match. This is something I have done manually for many tiles in the making of my own Ortho4XP scenery collection. 

Clearly, for this to work well, there needs to be a plausible alternative to the full 3D areas, otherwise the transition will be jarring and take away immersion. I speculate that, outside the 3D areas, buildings will be added based other available data similar to what W2XP and ORBX's True Earth Series are able to do. 

Perhaps they can even produce their own data for placing buildings and trees accurately by using AI to scan the orthophotos and determine the positions and footprints. Pure speculation on my part, as I have no idea if this is possible yet, but have always wondered if it could be done.

Something else I definitely want is an accurate road network wherever I fly, not roads that are baked into the textures as they are currently with landclass based scenery.

Based on the the trailer, I still think X-Planes night lighting system looks superior the the upcoming MFS, but I know it is not even in beta yet. Otherwise , it does look visually stunning and as most of you here, I look forward to learning more about it.

 

Check my post above.

Dubai is not in 3D at all in Bing, yet it was in the trailer in spectacular detail. They've got something figured out to fill in all the gaps in a plausible way.

Edited by bonchie

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, bonchie said:

Check my post above.

Dubai is not in 3D at all in Bing, yet it was in the trailer in spectacular detail. They've got something figured out to fill in all the gaps in a plausible way.

It may not have the 3d satellite view, but it definitely has some sort of buildings on the map view. Apparently with accurate shapes and heights.

IEqDXoD.png 

 

And a lot of other cities have those shapes in the map view, but they don't have the satellite 3d view. London, Paris among others. 

Like I said before, a lot of data isn't shown to us. They said they have 2 Petabytes of data. I doubt what we see in the free version of bing has it all available to us.

Edited by ca_metal

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Posted (edited)
1 minute ago, ca_metal said:

It may not have the 3d satellite view, but it definitely has some sort of buildings on the map view. Apparently with accurate shapes and heights.

IEqDXoD.png 

Map view, it's totally flat.

I'm not sure how they are getting those heights in the non-satellite view. It has to be something different than real 3D scans like Houston, Seattle, Miami, etc. that show full fidelity in 3D map view. Otherwise, Dubai would be in both versions.

If it's the AI that's able to produce that, it's pretty exciting stuff.

Edited by bonchie

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2 minutes ago, bonchie said:

Map view, it's totally flat.

I'm not sure how they are getting those heights in the non-satellite view. It has to be something different than real 3D scans like Houston, Seattle, Miami, etc. that show full fidelity in 3D map view. Otherwise, Dubai would be in both versions.

If it's the AI that's able to produce that, it's pretty exciting stuff.

This picture I put above is the map view, you can see buildings, houses, comercial buildings spreaded for the whole city of Dubai. I'm using the maps software that comes with Windows 10 to visualize it.

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, ca_metal said:

This picture I put above is the map view, you can see buildings, houses, comercial buildings spreaded for the whole city of Dubai. I'm using the maps software that comes with Windows 10 to visualize it.

I mean 3D Satellite view in the app. Dubai is flat in it.

That's why I'm speculating that the AI is producing the building shapes and heights in what you posted. If it was 3D scans, they'd be in the 3D satellite view in the app like Seattle, Miami, etc.

Edited by bonchie
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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, ganter said:

That's great for you guys across the pond. In London - if you go a mile and a half away from Buckingham Palace it all goes to cock (2D).

Luckily, I love flying in the States, especially in the Rockies.

US coverage must be a lot better. I just checked ABQ, a much more modest city, and the coverage still doesn't end for like 20 miles to the south.

Amazingly, it goes 46 miles in another direction all the way to Jarales, NM.

This is one reason I'm hoping this is actually a subscription service and not a one time buy. All this data is going to expand over the next 5 years and I'd love to be able to keep updating it.

That may be MS's hook. You can buy the base game, but they make the lion's share of their money on recurring $5 a month subscriptions or something.

Edited by bonchie
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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, bonchie said:

I mean 3D Satellite view in the app. Dubai is flat in it.

That's why I'm speculating that the AI is producing the building shapes and heights in what you posted. If it was 3D scans, they'd be in the 3D satellite view in the app like Seattle, Miami, etc.

Or they've made the decision not to make everything available on the free version of it. They have subscriptions to use their services and as I said before, I don't think our free versions of bing contain 2 Petabetas of data, not even close to that. What we see there is just a little taste of their tech. 

All above is just my personal opinion, I don't know anyone that has used their paid satellite services nor I have used myself.

Edited by ca_metal

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, bonchie said:

Dubai is not in 3D at all in Bing, yet it was in the trailer in spectacular detail. They've got something figured out to fill in all the gaps in a plausible way.

While Dubai is featured in the trailer, the Palm Island itself looks quite a bit older than what it is presently. I don't think I even saw the Atlantis hotel at the top end of the Palm Islands which is probably the most iconic building on the entire island.

Add to that the buildings on Sheikh Zayed Rd, you can see (viewed on the lower left around 0:46 in the trailer) there are structures/buildings present but they are not accurate to their real-world counterpart or detailed enough to be part of an authentic 3D scan which leads me to believe that it's either part of their filler autogen as was the case with all previous flight sims from MS or the more likely scenario is that it's still largely a WIP and I hope details will be added/corrected once the larger chunks of the product are developed.

Judging from the current trailer entirely, you have a better representation of Dubai from FlyTampa Dubai Rebooted (excluding the now almost antique airport layout).

Edited by krazyk

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11 hours ago, ca_metal said:

Or they've made the decision not to make everything available on the free version of it. They have subscriptions to use their services and as I said before, I don't think our free versions of bing contain 2 Petabetas of data, not even close to that. What we see there is just a little taste of their tech. 

I don't see the sense why they'd deliberately hide useful mapping data from their Bing mapping service, especially when they are competing with Google and Apple in this space. The subscription based Azure service includes the same data but in a more useful format for commercial customers, e.g. routing data for roads, speed limits, attributes on buildings etc and an API to access it.. The bing maps application uses all this data and displays it in a format that is useful for how users use it, and just as plain tiled images. If you want deeper access to the data and not just tile map images, then you pay for this data, and MSFS2020 is likely using the same data but in a rather interesting way (e.g. To produce road traffic)

 

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