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jjaycee1

MS Virtual Earth & FSX question.

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As an avid fan of anything that makes the scenery look real in FSX, I own as much current FSX Photoscenery as is available.It appears that the development and release of FSX photosceneries is slow, but when a product is released it usually of top quality and utilises FSX capabilities. It was 16-18 months ago,in Horizons GenX Uk VFR that I first noticed the 3d effect of buildings & vegetation, (the effect currently being raved about in GEX enHanced)and the much greater detail all round. Especially nice on 1920x1200 monitor !Anyway to the point. What would prevent Microsoft developing scenery packages based on their propriety owned imagery from MS Virtual Earth?I am not talking about streaming. I am truly non technical in any aspect here so excuse any ignorance being shown!Why cant you for example take an area like France, gather the imagery, and do what you need to do to make it apiece of software (turn it into bgl's ?) and sell it.This could be done for anywhere that MS VE covers in sufficient detail. Megascenery for example take a specific area and produce a product, so did Horizon)Include advice on best optimal FSX setings and advise of any restrictions to flight altitude etc(in focus/out of focus limitations) Install it over some mesh and fly!I know that if I was offered a piece of scenery that looked like the imagery on Virt.Earth, I would buy it.There has been forum chat in the past about Google Earth and FSX but Microsoft are sitting on a gold mine aren't they when they have their own equivalent source imagery material.Truly simplistic and maybe screwy so I would welcome any of you gurus to constructively enlighten me !Many thanks

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The reason being mainly: Microsoft doesn't own any remote sensing satellites (yet...)The browser portal MSN Virtual Earth (MSN live maps) haven't obtained a license for use in games. Doing so would require new contract negotiations. So ACES can't just ask the portal to hand over some data for use in FSX.Certainly ACES could license this material themselves from various geodata companies (Digital Globe, etc...). But the question is: why should they? It adds extra costs to the product. It blows up the volume of data to ship with the product.ACES have in fact added some new photo sceneries to SP2/Acceleration. Edwards being one of them. Very limited coverage, in terms of square miles.But shipping whole countries in photo scenery so far has always been the domain of addon producers. For Microsoft the business of re-selling geodata probably doesn't generate enough sales volume.

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Then again, why pay to license it when Google is providing it free to FSX users through third-party programs like TileProxy?Has a double benefit as it increases Google's costs to maintain and deliver that data. :)I'm not convinced yet that photoreal scenery is either effective, or provides the best look. Certainly in some ways, it can be stunning, as evidenced by your screenshots in the AVSIM screenshot forum, Christian.But there are so many drawbacks. Poor coverage, ever-changing lighting conditions, lack of seasons, the fact that nothing is moving (we won't mention performance for the moment).I think the problem with photoreal is that it looks like a photo. And I think that is what is driving ACES decision-making more than anything else - quality!Maybe you can tell us how you're overcoming these issues, Christian.

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I think it was mentioned about a few months ago that Microsoft was going to be adding seasons/lighting to their end product. I posted the link at that time-probably still here somewhere.As far as all that though it always comes down to the individual simmer and how they use the sim. In my case-I never fly different seasons and prefer summer as it just duplicates the look of the real thing better imho. I do prefer photoreal-as it does look..real! On the other hand-the gex textures and utx give a fairly good impression of real-though really not. Even with the great utx roads-I still prefer greatly the look of real roads in photo real-the vector lines of roads sitting on top of generic scenery not matching really takes the reality factor down quite a bit for me-though it is the best we can do now with generics.I have to say though-Tileproxy is getting so good and easy to use it really fills in the gaps. Thanks to Christian! Considering the time frame of a possible new fs-one can only imagine what the photo scenery will be like then.http://www.mediafire.com/imgbnc.php/1b5baf...b9f427f694g.jpgMy blog:http://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

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As mentioned, here are some of the reasons why Microsoft Aces does not yet follow that route: - Microsoft Virtual Earth does not own any of that imagery. Aces would have to pay hefty license fees (and they probably have for the small photo areas such as Rio de Janeiro, Berlin, etc.) - there is no worldwide coverage available; most of the world is in very low resolution satellite images, instead of high-resolution aerial photos; - even high resolution images are often blanketed in clouds; - no seasonal coverage at all; - image quality is pretty uniformly abysmal, with very rare exceptions (for example, France), therefore requiring extensive and lengthy editing; - the space required for only one season with no night ground textures would be enormous. Dean Mountford did a preliminary calculation and came up with the following: 1 meter ground textures with 85% compression for the land mass of the entire world = 115 terabytes.Obviously, this is the way of the future, but we are still quite a ways from there.Best regards.Luis

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Goef,Ya, I don't like the way the roads connect in FSX also. It's probably one of the more glaring examples of something that needs major attention in the next release. I'm sure the gurus at ACES have plenty of ideas about how to stitch the roads together better.I dunno ... I haven't made up my mind about the whole TileProxy approach. I spend a lot of time close to the ground in Flight Simulator X, so perhaps my perspective is skewed by that fact. However, even in Christian's great shots, things like perspective changes between tiles just jump out at me. Could just be me. Could just be me looking for issues, maybe to justify my opinion.Ultimately, I think TileProxy is going to serve the needs of a smaller segment of users who fly VFR daytime and stay in the 1,000-5,000 foot range and don't care about the seasons changing. From there, it looks pretty good. I'm sure there are other areas where it looks good sometimes, but it seems to look pretty good always from that perspective.Cheers,Kevin

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I must admit I am more in league with Geofa's preference for Photoscenery, as I too find it...real ! I am afraid I am not too big a fan of UTX (outcry I hear) although i had it for FS9 and also have the latest FSX versions for US & Europe. I really like GEX enH as it acts as a more realistic impression of the earth below, but it aint real. I was on a flight out of Palm springs in Megascenery Socal, and flew to where the scenery ends and meets GEX enH..... a world of difference ! Comparing the Default scenery with GEX enH is again a world of difference. Maybe I just cant get the hang of UTX. I look at roads and see thin or broader grey lines that just disect through housing, look as thought the roads run over the tops of trees etc. I use it for the coast line, Landclass (+FSGenesis)and that is about it. Different folks like different experiences with FSX and I personally use it a lot for voyages of discovery. Using FSDiscover I am beginning to learn the geography of many of the photosceneries. 3D'ish effect buildings & vegetation colouring etc may be the efforts of technology but real buildings are in real locations and roads look like roads not grey lines. I feel there is a realistic wow factor which i dont feel when seeing generic scenery. GEX enHance really did help create a new standard and the authors are receiving the deserved accolades. I have noted many people saying in the GEX related posts, things like " I have never flown VFR so much before", " I can follow the road to my house" etc, well I can see my actual house complete with apple orchard and count the number of apple trees i have got flying with Horizon GEN X VFR, and not a grey line in site! Now that is real ! Unfortunately TileProxy is not something i can utilise due to the broadband connection speed I have in my rural location otherwise i would be its biggest user. Again, just my personal preferences being aired based on how I like to use FSX.Regards

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Thanks Luis for your input. I understand what you are saying and would suggest that we are only talking about Hi Res areas, and doing scenery packages out of those ones. Why not a series of Hi Res Cities, areas of countries? FS9 had dozens of Photosceneries compared to what is not even on the horizon yet for FSX. I had Germany, Holland, UK (England/Wales)Southern Spain, Pacific NW, Socal, San Francisco, Dallas, NY etc etc for FS9 but hardly anything so far specifically made for FSX. Why ? Can you enlighten me as to what problems FSX may have caused to prevent producing a lot more photosecenery after 18 months of FSX?I think you have the technical knowledge to help me understand.Regards

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IMHO the technical issue of making photoscenery for FSX is trivial compared to FS9. I assume the problem is that the resolution needs to be at least 1m and that is too much data (just check out the Chile thread). I have seen some airports with up to 6cm res photoscenery as the background and they look very nice to me, but the area covered is fairly small.I was looking at Florida data in the USGS data website, and found one county with data that could be used at LOD18. Creating night textures at that high res is something I haven't tried, and I suspect would be a bit of work. scott s..

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High resolution aerial images are often licensed copyrighted material. The exceptions are in North America where many state governments provide this data for free over the Internet. Your tax dollars at work. But, for the rest of the world, this level of resolution either does not exist at all or is not freely available. So, anybody who wishes to release a commercial or free package of photo ground textures will have to pay high license fees. These might be justified in the case of areas in high demand, such as certain parts of the U.S., but there is probably not enough demand for photo scenery in most parts of the world, so profit margins would not justify it.However, everybody can make their own; it is quite easy to make some basic, high resolution photo textures. Making excellent quality textures with full seasonal and night coverage, and adding autogen annotations to them is another thing altogether, an extremely demanding task, and one that only very good and determined developers can accomplish.Best regards.Luis

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Thanks Luis. I am now educated in the pro's and cons of photoscenery in Hi Res. Very informative and appreciated.Regardsjc

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