FSXA Adding a Satellite Image to ADE

Hi Gary,

I was finally able to locate a satellite view of KBHM, the Birmingham Municipal Airport from 1981 from USGS Earth Explorer. The only Aerial Image I could fine was under NHAP, whatever that means. The quality is not that great but I can still use it. I still cannot find any KBHM images from 1973, and I guess if I did, it would be in B&W and the quality would not be that good. Anyway, the problem I ran into is that the image was not taken from a N and S position but and E and W position, but I was able to rotate the image file 90 degrees. It Shows the Data Set Attribute alone with their Attribute Valuse, and allows me to switch to the FGDC Format. The Attribute shows some coordinates that I can use in ADE. I opened ADE and selected my airport. Then I right clicked, selected 'Add' and then 'Image,' Then I tried to enter the coordinates, but the image would not come out right and did not line up with the airport background. Am I supposed to be able to use the coordinates provided and it line up perfectly with the background airport image? I must not be doing something right. I put in the N.W. and S.E. latitude/longitude coordinates like I've always done when using the Sbuilder. I'm doing this project in FSX.

Ken.
 
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tgibson

Resource contributor
I don't try to place the airport in an exact location, so I don't bother with coordinates. I let the image load how it likes, then use Edit Object, click the Keep Proportions box, and change the width value and slide it around until it matches the greatest part of the default ADE airport. I can usually get quite close.
 

scruffyduck

Administrator
Staff member
FSDevConf team
Resource contributor
The usual guidance is to align the image with the longest, or only, runway ADE has told to manipulate the image as Tom says.
 
Hi,

That's what I've been doing but it hardly ever lines up perfectly in all directions and is usually slightly too large or slightly too small. Besides, stock airports files are never perfectly placed and I've seen them off by as much as 300 feet from the real world, which is quite a bit. It's not only the runways that I want lined up perfectly but also the taxiway intersections, ramps, and other objects which are never correct. I prefer to use the coordinates and line the airport to the image, not line the image to the airport. That's what I like about Sbuilder. It allows me to enter the coordinates so that I can align everything to the image.

Ken.
 

scruffyduck

Administrator
Staff member
FSDevConf team
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If an airport is not in the correct position overall then the first thing I would do is move it as is to the correct position. ADE will do this for you if you have a ProKey. Tools > Move Airport.

1562143104463.png


You can use coordinates to move it or distance and bearing. You can also rotate the airport. Right Click > Rotate Airport will rotate the airport around the cursor position

1562143264552.png


That along with the background image tools should set things. Generally the goal of ADE is to create the airport with a reasonable degree of accuracy. I know some folks want to get everything to the nearest few inches or feet of course.
 

gfxpilot

Resource contributor
Try using GMapCatcher - used it recently and have had pretty good results and the screen gives the right lat long format for use in ADE
 
Hi Ken,

You're using an aerial photograph, rather than an orthophotograph (an aerial photo which has been orthorectified). Working with orthophotos is the way to go. One, or preferably ≥2, aerial images can be used to create an orthophoto using photogrammetry, which to do roughly (esp. without coordinates which would allow direct placement in ADE and conversion to photoscenery via the SDK) is relatively easy. However, if you do wish to use it accurately with the ADE and/or the SDK then it is more complex and time consuming. I could do this for you (I'm an old skool photogrammetrist by training, but also use the new whizz-bang photogrammetry) but I couldn't commit to when I'd get around to it. I love this kinda stuff as it merges my day job with my interest in retro airfields (hence my work with ye olde Airfield Construction Group, ACG)...

Andy
 

tgibson

Resource contributor
I've used aerial photos before and they come out plenty close enough - no one has noticed yet. :)
 
Hi Ken:

Your opening post for this thread above is apparently a follow-up for this existing thread regarding KBHM from 2018:

https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/threads/how-do-i-cover-a-portion-of-a-photo-real-image.441699/


Congratulations on your progress with registering for EarthExplorer and misc. USGS download accessibility. :pushpin:

Since you are still deriving a background image for future use, I suggest that we continue this discussion in the thread linked above.


Also, I believe it would prove very helpful to your project, and to other would-be historical airfield reconstruction FS developers, to welcome the experienced insight and input so kindly offered by Airtrooper (aka "Andy" of Airfield Construction Group, ACG). :idea:


Many thanks are due to Andy for that generous offer ! ;)


Since my own available free time such a project as this one is also rather limited, perhaps between all respective contributions, we might more quickly see this project through to a satisfactory Geo-referenced and properly formatted imagery source.

Once that Geo-referenced and properly formatted imagery source is created, it can be used in ex: SBuilderX to generate any desired CVX vector content, and a custom photo-real land class imagery BGL which, in addition to being used in FS when connected to ADE for historical airport design / editing of a custom-named copy of the current KBHM, it can also be used for Autogen annotation via SDK Annotator.


See you in your other existing thread on this topic linked above. :wave:

GaryGB
 
IMHO, one must consider the impact background imagery in a "warped" cartographic GIS 'projection' may have on scenery design: :alert:

https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/threads/quick-question-airport-design.434333/


Non-'warped' imagery (EPSG:3857)...



'Warped' imagery (EPSG:4326)...



The significance of how 'warped' imagery may display will be increased in certain locations of the FS 3D world model. :pushpin:

GaryGB
 

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tgibson

Resource contributor
Pretty simple to change the proportions so the east/west and north/south dimensions match the runways.
 
Hi Tom:

KBHM RWY Lengths and Headings would differ significantly if drawn in ADE using the above attached imagery as a background image. :alert:


It should be reasonably apparent by now that Ken has been wanting to:

* achieve a historical reconstruction of KBHM for some time.

* do this in an accurate way, so that he can make it "As Real As It Gets" (...especially since he flies heavies IFR)


Perhaps most importantly, this project has nostalgic and sentimental value for him. :pushpin:


IMHO, the accurate way to do this would be use of a GIS application and not trial-and-error in a graphics application, or via a "Rubber-Sheeting" feature in an FS airport utility.


The FSX / P3D 3D world model is based on WGS84, and it is best to let a GIS application "Do The Math" for compatibility with ILS flight:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Geodetic_System

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_Mercator_projection


Please don't get me wrong, though; I appreciate and admire the attention to detail you show with scenery and aircraft design / mods. ;)

I personally prefer GA VFR "bush flying", low-and-slow 'by the seat of ones pants' ...rather than IFR flight


And I get a kick out of things "Joe" tries to get away with at Buffalo Airways flying DC3 / C46 / Electra classic aircraft on Ice Pilots TV show.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Airways

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/buffalo-airways-joe-steps-away-1.3379716


But, I also appreciate the stern task-masters that his chief pilots with thousands of hours in classic aircraft are ...when training newbies.


Flight Simulation with a SDK lets everyone do as they wish ...in their own virtual 3D world. :)

Happy Flying. :cool:

GaryGB
 
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tgibson

Resource contributor
I have never understood why an airport needs to be exact. When you actually use the airport in FS you will never notice if things are a few feet off.

And Gary if you place the runways accurately in ADE, using data available in various places, then the rest will certainly be close enough using a satellite image.
 
https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/threads/adding-a-satellite-image-to-ade.445648/post-825830

I have never understood why an airport needs to be exact. When you actually use the airport in FS you will never notice if things are a few feet off.

And Gary if you place the runways accurately in ADE, using data available in various places, then the rest will certainly be close enough using a satellite image.

Hi again, Tom:

Do you happen to know where Ken could find "available" data on RWYs for KBHM from the 1980's ? :scratchch

Thanks in advance for any info you may be able to share on "available" data on RWYs ...that may assist Ken in his quest with this project: :)

https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/threads/how-do-i-cover-a-portion-of-a-photo-real-image.441699/


GaryGB
 
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I have never understood why an airport needs to be exact. When you actually use the airport in FS you will never notice if things are a few feet off.

And Gary if you place the runways accurately in ADE, using data available in various places, then the rest will certainly be close enough using a satellite image.

Tom,

People like me, are very aware of where objects and things like taxiway intersections are actually located in the real world at airports that we're very familiar with, and the average person is not going to notice these things because he is not aware of where that object is located in the real world. At my airport, for example, taxiway F is off by 200 feet in FS as opposed to where it actually is in the real world. It's not just the runways that's important, but it's everything around the airport, and that includes the placements of buildings, terminals, ramps, and other objects, and these are never in their real world locations. Most people that fly in FS are not interested in accurate placements, and they don't even think about it. Another example is that in the real world, I could land on runway 18 and hold short of runway 5/23 because the tower would sometimes ask pilots to hold short, because of an approaching DC-9 or something landing on 23. In FS, it's very difficult to do that if the placement is not where it actually is in the real world. The runways may be the correct length and width, but it's the placements of the intersections taxiways that's always off. Once everything is placed to where it actually is, then it was possible to make that hold short stop. The one that was off the most was Taxiway F, and that one was sometimes hard to stop at when landing on runway 36, and in the real world, I could always make that taxiway. The placement of the PAPI lights were also off, especially since the construction of the lengthen SW NE runway, which was eventually changed to runways 6/24. The airport in 1973 did not look as it looks today, and that's what I was trying to create, and including the surrounding area around the airport. You cannot take a current satellite image and recreate what the airport was in 1973 when trying to recreate everything about the airport as it existed in 1973. The old terminal buildings do not exist now and the control tower is completely in a different location now than what it was in 1973. The N. and S. taxiway that faces the terminal area did not exist in 1973, as well as many of the intersections. If you use a current image, you're not going to get what the airport looked like in 1973.

Ken.
 
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IMHO, one must consider the impact background imagery in a "warped" cartographic GIS 'projection' may have on scenery design: :alert:

https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/threads/quick-question-airport-design.434333/


Non-'warped' imagery (EPSG:3857)...



'Warped' imagery (EPSG:4326)...



The significance of how 'warped' imagery may display will be increased in certain locations of the FS 3D world model. :pushpin:

GaryGB

Thanks Gary for posting these images regarding warped imagery. When you used the word "warped," I was thinking in terms of how google earth would warp the image a little when you have the Terrain box checked. I can definitely see the difference here, but I'm just having a hard time understanding how FS warps the image, based on location. Or are you just showing the importance of how a warped imagery would display in FS? I think I understand that FSX is a 3D world as apposed to FS9, which is not.

Ken.
 
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https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/threads/adding-a-satellite-image-to-ade.445648/post-825854

Thanks Gary for posting these images regarding warped imagery. When you used the word "warped," I was thinking in terms of how google earth would warp the image a little when you have the Terrain box checked.

I can definitely see the difference here, but I'm just having a hard time understanding how FS warps the image, based on location.
This shows how FS must 'warp' source data to fit onto 3D world corner vertices of variable sized / shaped terrain quads / Area Points:

https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/threads/qmid-question.438142/post-752644


The FS run time rendering engine then displays the scene shaped correctly in a non-warped manner as it would be in real life. ;)


https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/threads/adding-a-satellite-image-to-ade.445648/post-825854

Or are you just showing the importance of how a warped imagery would display in FS?

Yes, I was showing the importance of how 'certain' FS scenery objects drawn over 'warped' imagery would display in FS at run time.

That is why I also was compelled to make this point: :pushpin:

"KBHM RWY Lengths and Headings would differ significantly if drawn in ADE using the above attached imagery as a background image. "

GaryGB
 
I think I understand. So, the images shown are actual satellite imagery. Does this mean that the one that is warped is not WGS84 type imagery? I'm having a hard time understanding how I would know if I'm using the WGS84 type image, since it has been mentioned that FS is based on WGS84.
 
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Hi,

Here are the offsets using the default KBHM airport from FSX.


KBHM.jpg



This image is from SbuilderX and I was able to use the 4 coordinates into the boxes to place the image precisely. The heading looks to be right on target for both runways. Runway 18/36 looks to be the correct length and placement. But runway 6/24 is 145 feet off to the southwest. Noticed that the taxiway H, which is the N.W. taxiway running parallel to runway 6/24 is way off by 240 feet. I've mentioned that Taxiway F was off by 200 feet but it's actually off by 385 feet. And notice everything in between, that is, the intersections. You don't notice these offsets until you add the image to your airport then you realize how much they're really off. Of course, I realize that this is no big deal to some people, and they're just interested in flying. But when I create an airport, rather it be current or from the olden days, I try to make it as precise and accurately as possible, as real as it gets. Yes, the airport from 1973 does have sentimental value because of my days living just across the street from it. This was the days of the DC-9s, 727s, 737s, the Beechcraft Muskateer's and Sundowners, Cherokee 140s, and the Cessna's. Bear in mind that the image shows runway 6/24 after it was lengthen to 12,000 feet. When FSX was released, runway 6/24 was only 10,000 feet and was under construction, and that's why this runway is shorter than what's shown in the image. So, the runway length is correct for that time period, but just off by 145 feet to the S.W.

Ken.
 
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