Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

GaryGB

AutoGen Annotator - Locate Specific Area??

Recommended Posts

I have asked this before but I am hoping to get a different answer. Somewhat like the definition of insanity.I have photoscenery BGL files that are 500mb in size. They load ok into the Annotator. Zoom in and you may be able to pan about and find an airport. You can plant trees and install buildings, etc. The question is which airport is it? There seems to be absolutely no relationship in Annotator to any geographic reference. That is you open a photoscenery BGL file in Annotator you do not know where you are unless you recognize a landmark or the BGL is small enough for you to pan around for a known area. With 3gb of large BGLs it would take extreme patience to look for a specific airports or other areas. Without some geographic reference in Annotator, or a linkage to the airplane position in FSX, I cannot see how it can be used when trying to apply autogen to large areas. If anyone has a hint I would appreciate it.Just as an aside - it is not impossible. There is an area that did have some unique patterns. So after a lot of panning I finally found it in one of the BGLs and was able to easily add autogen. It was not a pleasant task.Regards,Dick BoleyA PC, an LCD, speakers, CH yoke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

Hi Dick:Me again... ;) It is indeed a pain to have to use 2 or more apps on top of FSX and the FSX Annotator session to perform such tasks; until we see other 3rd party utilities to help with this, it appears we just have to improvise.BTW: Priorities might need to be adjusted via a right-click to "Set Priority" on process name on Windows Task Manager's "Processes" Tab for various apps to allow them proper function and data communications when FSX is also running!There are some ways to make the FSX autogen annotation procedure somewhat easier, though... have you seen these informative threads?http://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/showthrea...entify+Tile.zipNOTE: George's original link is dead for his Identify_Tile.zip utility; here's the NEW one:http://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/showthrea...ighlight=TCalcXThis might help sort out new FSX imagery BGL relationships with the legacy BMP and AGN area tile and file naming scheme.http://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/showthrea...=autogen&page=2NOTE: This example is loading a CVX vector file in conjunction with use of TCalcX002 and FSX, but the same principle should work with loading the imagery BGL into TMF viewer while also loading an underlying local terrain mesh BGL to provide geo-referencing Lat/Lon coordinates.That at least gives coordinates in TMF viewer and a local view of the scenery area in FSX for reference.http://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/showthrea...ghlight=AGNDumpInterestingly the file: c:Program FilesMicrosoft GamesMicrosoft Flight Simulator X SDKSDKEnvironment KitAutogen SDKautogen.html does not mention the "AgnDump.exe" utility included in the FSX Autogen SDK.Perhaps too, looking at the XML "X+Y coordinates" for an AgnDump of an annotation work file might be useful on occasion (when interpreted in this older context regarding autogen vector parameters... maybe there is a more current explanation of the FS9 and FSX autogen file formats somewhere?):http://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=sho...ing_type=searchIt appears that Dean Mountford may be looking into developing an autogen tool for large imagery tiles; freeware tools we previously discussed are mentioned here:http://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/showthrea...ghlight=autogenhttp://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/showthrea...ghlight=autogenChristian Buchner may be making an annotation utility for TileProxy too.http://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=sho...96617&mode=fullOh, and while serving up this buffet of ideas, possibly this "scenery location logger" might be of some help in your photoscenery annotation endeavors:http://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/showthrea...ighlight=TCalcXHope this helps! :-) GaryGB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed that is a wide ranging series of information. I spent about 2 hours going through it. I am awaiting my ID verify from the French site to look at it further.Unfortunately, a lot of the activity in the threads is pointed toward FS9 which is quite easy to deal with. A variety of programs and processes allow you to locate the BMP (small area) where your aircraft is positioned. No problem there. Where the problem begins is dealing with FSX BGLs that cover a very large area. I am using Dean Mountford's (FS Dreamscapes) Utah photoscenery. Adding some sagebrush and some scraggly trees makes the deserts of Utah even more interesting. There are many ways to get the exact lat/lon of the airport area of interest. But there seems to be no way to find that same airport in Annotator. It is devoid of lat/lon info and any QMID grid references as well. Actually you do not even know which of the several 500mb BGLs contains the target area. The Editor portion, while complex, is quite useful and allows the customer to manage the autogen elements in considerable detail. But, I cannot see any way to open a 500mb BGL and quickly locate a specific dirt strip airport. Yes, you can look at the airport in TMF and maybe you are lucky enough to have a good visual reference nearby. In that case you can use Annotator to find the airport and dress it up a bit. But, I cringe at doing all of the airports currently covered by the Utah scenery in that manner.Considerable thanks for your research. There might yet be a process but right now I cannot see it.Regards,Dick BoleyA PC, an LCD, speakers, CH yoke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Dick:My SDK system is undergoing reconstruction right now, so I have not tested this personally, but have you seen this procedure being used for annotation of TileProxy files?http://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=sho...d=757&mode=fullI had the impression that in FSX Autogen SDK one can break down info on large imagery files into their legacy area names that are used for the legacy FS2KX custom photorealistic tiles and associated AGN files.It appears that George Davison (aka GHD at various sites, "Golf-HotelDelta" at FSDeveloper and "Ananada" on VisualFlight Forums) has indicated large FSX imagery files contain a (quad tree?) array of imagery tiles:"Annotator still uses the same tile numbers as FS9 but photo-real scenery files each contain 64x64 tiles.""The agn tile size in FSX is exactly the same as in FS9. The difference is that the textures are contained in bgl files and not bmps. Each bgl contains 16x16 agn tiles"Some further details are discussed without much additional disclosure (c'mon George... elaborate a little bit here, will ya' please?) :-zhelp http://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/showthrea...entify+Tile.zipI can see a way to construct one's autogen annotation AGN tiles in the FS2004/FS9 file format (prior to saving in the newer FSX AGN format) if one only had the LOD13 size custom landclass BMP's to work with, but we're instead discussing 500 MB "BGL's" here. :-hmmm I can't test this myself right now, but I thought there might be a way to identify the custom landclass tile and file number equivalents inside a FSX format imagery BGL loaded into the FSX SDK autogen annotator tool itself.One would think that there might be a cursor position indicator showing the custom landclass tile and file number equivalents on a status bar etc. which could be compared to the output of George's IdentifyTile utility running in FSX; that would at least help narrow down the work area to smaller (LOD 13?) sized areas.The ability to show and "Jump To" Lat and Lon in FSX Autogen Annotator would obviously be a great help.One might wonder if ACES may have purposely chosen to not geo-reference imagery displayed in some SDK tools due to concerns over potential for misappropriation of decompressed / decrypted imagery; as I see it, shortcomings in SDK features might actually contribute to more concerted efforts by the FS community to create 3rd party development utilities with "robust feature sets"! :-lolDean Mountford (aka "dmountford" on AVSIM and "fsfilmworks" on FSDeveloper) seems rather concerned about the consequences to the FS community if someone crack's the FSX imagery BGL encrypted compression format.http://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/showthrea...compression+BGLPerhaps direct communication with Dean Mountford might result in some further ideas about how the end user can do their own autogen annotation of his large FSX BGL format imagery files?Perhaps George Davison might have some ideas on how one might better use available autogen tools with large FSX BGL format imagery files to locate areas of interest?Hope this info might be of some further help! :-)GaryGB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe that TileProxy uses FS9 style files which are small individual BMPS. These work well with the Annotator. Lars Hoyer produced an improved Annotator for auto-placement of vegetation which performed very well. However, a very large BGLs is another matter. Probably within that BGL there are small BMP structures. This approach would allow Microsoft to reuse code from FS9 to extract and index the BMPs prior to submission for rendering. Such an approach also allows easy compatibility to FS9 AGN as was pointed out in the references. One way to facilitate auto-AGN application, and reasonable manual application, of autogen would be to convert the large BGLs back to FS9 style photo tiles. FSX is quite happy using the little BMPs and their associated AGNs. However, as TileProxy has discovered, there is a processing penalty in both CPU and disk loads. Crack the BGL format, convert to FS9 format, apply AGN automatically, repackage into BGLs and away you go. Given the better CPUs available TileProxy may even find that this route would be possible and eliminate the ancient mechanical disk access delays.Regards,Dick BoleyA PC, an LCD, speakers, CH yoke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Gary,It depends how the scenery files have been named. I do have a program but it knows only the filenames in the Horizon Generation-X scenery:idxua8.jpgGeorge

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Dick:I had a moment to look at a 13 MB FSX format imagery BGL in the FSX SDK Annotator. :-) After loading the Aerial Imagery, in the menu bar one can click "Aerial Imagery" > "Show Tile Grid" to display a magenta dotted line grid on top of the imagery.Comparison of the superimposed "Tile Grid" in FSX SDK Annotator with the same imagery viewed in TMFViewer with a superimposed LOD 13 (QMID 15) grid confirms that the Annotator grid is a quad tree array matching in size.Interestingly, without loading a FS terrain mesh BGL, the FSX format imagery BGL viewed in TMFViewer already does display Lat/Lon coordinates on the bottom status bar, and does offer a "Jump To" Lat/Lon or QMID feature.If you zoom both utilities out far enough, you should be able to see (and count) which tile/quad the screen is centered on after doing a "Jump To" in TMFViewer so you can locate the same tile/quad in Annotator.Otherwise, if you can get Dean Mountford to give you a location diagram of the imagery file names used in the array he constructed for Utah, or the NorthWesternmost Lat/Lon coordinate vertex of the entire FSX imagery BGL file, you could program a spreadsheet to give you the information for the other nested NorthWest vertices of the area tiles in the array.Alternatively if one were given the legacy custom land class tile / file name that would otherwise pertain to the NorthWesternmost corner (array origin and the imagery BGL file placement vertex?) of that entire FSX imagery BGL file, one could likely also program a spreadsheet to give information for the other nested NorthWest vertices of the area tiles in the array.That would help you know where you are in that big 500 MB file (at least within a 1.2 KM LOD 13 / QMID 15 quad area!).Unfortunately, either way the pain would be that one has to manually pan and count one's way over and down to get to a given tile for annotation purposes.I realize that part of ACES' putting things into larger FSX file size packages is to reduce file reads which otherwise kill performance, but what a shame in this instance... not even an X+Y pixel cursor coordinate or custom landclass-type legacy AGN tile name readout in that tool, and no way to write out an array of legacy format LOD 13 size BMP or AGN files to work on prior to re-compiling back to FSX file format! :-8I guess the most practical way to work is with either FSX, USA Photomaps or other online satellite maps such as GE, VE, WW etc. as ones regional orientation app, then toggling back and forth between them, TMF viewer and Annotator to get some work done. :-roll Hmmm... try using the FSX SDK to do that with 500 MB imagery files using a computer having only the 1 GHz CPU / 256 MB RAM minimum system requirement as printed on the RTM box! :-eek Hope this might help make things a bit easier for you to keep oriented as you work on your project. :-halo GaryGB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi George:Thank you for your reply! :-) Any observations and/or suggestions on the info and proposed methodology above to try and help would-be "FSX Annotators" like Dick?May I also ask please, is there a utility that you know of which can correctly read and report the geographic coordinates of area coverage from the header of these new FSX format imagery BGLs (like we can do for FS8+FS9 format BGLs using Steve Greenwood's "BGL-Header" utility)? Thanks in advance for any further help and clarification you (or others reading this!) might offer on these intriguing challenges to easier use of the FSX SDK! :-newbiePS: That FS scenery pic looks like the real world... excellent! :-beerchug GaryGB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You may not believe this Gary, but even the producers of the photographic scenery don't operate on the bgls they have created. They use legacy FS9 photoscenery to annotate and create FSX format agn files.George

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi George:Thanks for sharing that practical FS9-based workaround for a FSX SDK limitation. :-) I had hoped by now we might be able to achieve greater precision in FSX autogen placement using higher resolution FSX imagery in conjunction with utilities such as David J Griffiths' "Autotrees" as discussed here:http://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=sho...36161&mode=fullIf one can access BMP versions of one's higher-resolution FSX imagery files, one certainly can work with FS9 file format utilities to create legacy AGN files and then save them into FSX SDK compliant package sizes using the FSX SDK Annotator utility.Many public-domain imagery sources are low-resolution, Black+White, and/or have visible water-marks in cached/captured files which would limit the precision achievable in autogen placement using even a semi-automated annotation methodology via the FS9 BMP workaround.I suppose one could try to make the best of the situation by using WGS84-projected, FS SDK resampled, downloaded public domain USGS imagery, or cached on-line imagery files from TileProxy or those captured using SBuilder or SBuilderX, Maps2BGL, Global Mapper etc. to render out BMPs.These BMPs could then be used as a "background" to create AGN files with the FS SDK Annotator, AgenT, or Autotrees without much concern over "derivative product" allegations, as one is only looking at pixels to create an entirely different type of AGN autogen annotation file rather than re-packaged imagery.I'd even see some specialized use for the coordinates created with WGS84-projected DEMs using Global Mapper's "Generate Contours" function, but one would want to further post-process and randomize the data point positions to get away from the "trees planted along a contour line" effect one otherwise would see. ;-) However, when working with multiple gigabytes of FSX imagery BGLs that are ALREADY 500 MB... WHEN COMPRESSED! I shudder to think of the challenge posed by storing- much less creating required INFs- and then processing that many FS9 sized BMP files! *:-*Sorry to keep pestering you with questions, George (in hope of finding some more solutions for the FS community!), but in addition to asking again whether you know of a way to "read and report the geographic coordinates of area coverage from the header of these new FSX format imagery BGLs", I am wondering if you know whether FSX Resample can output legacy format LOD 13 / QMID 15 custom / photorealistic BMPs as well as FSX format imagery BGLs?If so, one might ease the pain of creating those legacy format LOD 13 / QMID 15 INF files by using WGS84-projected GeoTiffs as input imagery sources with that FSX Resample engine.IMHO, all this is way too much work when what we might simply need is an FSX version of something like David J Griffiths' "Autotrees" that can read the selected FSX imagery BGL format color values and output both FS9 and FSX format AGN files for further detail work as desired.{ If David J Griffiths doesn't further develop that program, perhaps Dean Mountford or someone else like Christian Buchner, Luis Sa, George Davison, or Arno might try their hand at creating this type of utility? } :-wave Thanks again for any further help with resolving these challenges. :-sun1 GaryGB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites