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Sources for Photo-Real Imagery & Copyright

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FSX offers an excellent opportunity for the customers of Microsoft to enhance some areas of FSX by the use of photo-real scenery, sometimes known as ground textures. As with many process once a user understands the jargon and details of the process it is usually fairly easy to duplicate that procedure for their benefit. With FSX the core focus, in this case, is the GeoTiff file format. While new, or unknown to many, it is the only format that is easily converted into BGL files that are displayed within FSX. The problem arises in sourcing imagery in that format. The world of cartography is rich with variations on variations as well as terminology that seems totally arcane and mathematical relationships that are not easily assimilated at first blush. So, there is often needed a set of, or a singular conversion tool to adapt downloaded formats to the GEOTIFF standard adopted by Microsoft. Here again the procedure is simple once you understand the words and the limitations of the tools. In fact it can easily be boiled down to simple drag & drop from download of raw pictures to conversion to re-sample and the resultant BGL ready for FSX.Where we begin to run into trouble is sourcing the original photo images. In my opinion the richest source is from Google. There are other sources from the USGS/NAIP and Virtual Earth as well as many others. Some are only usable by paying a fee for the data. Where issues arise is the arcane copyright laws of not only the United States but many other countries. Skilled addon providers are able to provide images in a way that even the rote steps of acquisition, conversion and re-sampling/compiling are handled automatically. However, they are fearful, that should they provide this capability, that they may be faced with culpability for facilitating the violation of a copyright statute.Thus we return to Microsoft. Virtual Earth is one of the easily accessed photo-imagery sources. Given that the data on that site is very beneficial to the customers of Microsoft who purchased FSX it would be "nice" if a formal arrangement was made within Microsoft to allow FSX customers to use Virtual Earth images without fear of copyright infringement by either the end-user or the person who produces the program that facilitates the process. The global format of sites such as Virtual Earth and Google allows automatic photo acquisition and processing but with the shadow of the law present.Regards,Dick BoleyA PC, an LCD, speakers, CH yoke

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