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FS textures like Google Earth

Hello everyone...

i think my request won't become reality for a long time, but i would like to share my thoughts with you.

I think the FS textures should work like Google Earth (GE).

As most flying takes place above 1000ft (about 300m) it would be possible to use current satelite pictures for the texturing of the next FS.

  • 3 level of detail for the following altitudes:
    - >10km
    - 4 - 10km
    - 0(300m) - 4km
  • GE-like satelite pictures have a resolution that looks good down to 200/300m (about 600ft).
  • GE-like sat pics combined with actual high-res SRTM-Data for terrain details.
  • no more houses, trees, cars, roads, ships, all that stuff that takes amounts of CPU and GPU loads but isn't needed in a flight simulator where most flying takes place above 1000ft for VFR or even higher (>= FL200) for IFR.
  • Focus instead on only 5 areas: satelite pictures, SRTM-Data, airports, airplanes and realism.
  • Would give everyone the possibility to land a helicopter directly in his/her street or fly over your own house.
  • Would make the world look much more realistic.

Questions remain:
  1. When will it be technically possible? How many years?
  2. How many TB or GB of data would be needed for flight sim?
  3. Do you see a future for such wishes?

Data of GE:
It's said current GE-Data are about 150TB, about 70TB are plain picture data. How many GB or TB would be needed for such a FS or such a Addon? In 5 years a 50TB hdd could be the standard...

Current photographic scenery products already work like that. Checkout www.horizonsimulation.com.

The difficulty is in preparing aerial photography for use in FS. All the photos used need to be taken at the same time of day, under similar lighting conditions, cloudless and recent. Then they all need to be colour and contrast balanced, have water bodies excluded and everything cut and lined up. The volume of work for even relatively small areas is astronomical, as are licencing costs and disk space requirements.

Yea, go to AVSIM and search for TileProxy ... this is an interface that replaces FSX ground textures with Google Earth photoscenery.

As the previous commenter suggested, the amount of data is really astounding. My personal belief is that there is not a consistent enough source of data to make real-time photoscenery an option. All of the internet mapping services take their data from numerous sources, all of which have their own levels of quality.

Most people don't look at Google Earth data very closely, but if you pay attention, you can see all the splices, angle changes, lighting changes, etc. When you're just looking at your house, you don't notice these imperfections in the data, but when you are flying 700 miles over it, you notice it, and it ruins the immersion factor.


Resource contributor
Not to mention that it's always the same season (maybe)... that might change as you fly from fall to summer to spring...

...and the shadows are 'fixed' which really looks stupid! :eek:
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When, hmmm maybe not for a few years, but possibly by FS12... Maybe not within FS stock but possibly through 3pd...

In terms of worldwide imagery at 1m per pixel with only 1 season, I calculated about 6-12 months back it would take about 113TB.

For that to happen we'd need to see streaming of native scenery into the sim via a backbone like virtual earth...

That's what I'm hoping to convince Microsoft ESP about...
I think that it would be a great idea, but those of us who have MUCH less powerful systems will have terrible problems running the FS.


HP Pavilion dv4. 3g ram. 2ghz. HD display. HDMI input/output
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Staff member
Resource contributor
Hi all.

Ignoring the fact that the Aces team has been dismissed, and there will most probably be no future Flight Simulator titles, I doubt Microsoft could manage the web connections well enough to get it done.

Just look at the problems with realtime weather for all the former sims, and problems with multiplayer, and I think you would get my drift here.

And as Bill notes above, you still have the problems with the seasons, forced shadowing, and odd coloring of much of the planet... not to mention coloring inconsistancies, need for end-user broadband, etc... and of course, terrain designers would be out of business.

Streaming photoreal doesn't seem practical or realistic to me. No more so than only allowing default, or authorised, aircraft and airfields. I wouldn't buy such sim.