• Which the release of FS2020 we see an explosition of activity on the forun and of course we are very happy to see this. But having all questions about FS2020 in one forum becomes a bit messy. So therefore we would like to ask you all to use the following guidelines when posting your questions:

    • Tag FS2020 specific questions with the MSFS2020 tag.
    • Questions about making 3D assets can be posted in the 3D asset design forum. Either post them in the subforum of the modelling tool you use or in the general forum if they are general.
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    • Questions about airport design can be posted in the FS2020 airport design forum. Once airport development tools have been updated for FS2020 you can post tool speciifc questions in the subforums of those tools as well of course.
    • Questions about terrain design can be posted in the FS2020 terrain design forum.
    • Questions about SimConnect can be posted in the SimConnect forum.

    Any other question that is not specific to an aspect of development or tool can be posted in the General chat forum.

    By following these guidelines we make sure that the forums remain easy to read for everybody and also that the right people can find your post to answer it.

Creating free 1/3 arc-second mesh for US and need some guidance

I am trying to create 1/3 arc-second terrain mesh for the United States and have spent the last couple weeks spinning my wheels trying to get started. I've searched this site and all across the Internet so I am sorry if my questions are answered here or elsewhere. I can download the SRTM data from USGS's National Map, but it comes in a different format than WGS84. I can convert it to WGS84 and export to a GeoTiff but I lose the metadata. What to do after that is beyond me.

I know this is a monumental task, but I would rather everyone benefit than just me.

Thanks in advance for any help.
Chris
 
I can see the metadata in the source material I download from USGS. However, when I convert to WGS84 and export to TIF or TIFF the metadata is stripped out. Thank you for the link to the program, Barry... That's one step closer to the finish line!

If anyone that knows how to do mesh scenery can provide any more pointers, I would be grateful. Again, my goal is to produce free 1/3 arc-second mesh scenery for the entire United States.
 
Hello:

If you wish to continue studying the methods to produce terrain mesh with SDK Resample, you should IMHO first consider the feasibility of working with the massive amounts of source data and assuming completion, posting the BGLs somewhere in the public domain where they will remain available for the foreseeable future.

Please do not misunderstand the good intentions of my cautionary advice, as I actually do like the general idea of having this type of scenery resource available to the FS Community.

I suggest that you first take an objective look at the size of the data involved in the 1-arc second (30 Meters between elevation data points) LOD-10 terrain mesh made available in FreeMeshX (freeware) for the USA.



Next you must understand that a 1/3-arc second (10 Meter between elevation data point) LOD-12 terrain mesh will involve data sets approximately 4 times that size.

Additionally, you must be certain that FS terrain grid quad tile sets output to BGLs will need to have matching elevations at all edges, and that they are clipped properly by SDK Resample, so that all resulting BGLs will form a seamless surface when rendered in FS at run time.


CAVEAT: Years ago, the USGS elevation sets had numerous flaws of data voids and spikes, as well as mis-matched tile edge elevations. :alert:

FYI: I have not inspected the currently available USGS - TNM 1/3-arc second (10 Meter between elevation data point) data set recently to see if it has been cleaned up to make it truly "seamless" for the continental USA.


BTW: I do not use QGIS, and recommend instead using Global Mapper (payware) as it is IMHO capable of saving vast amounts of learning- and work- with GIS data processing tasks.

There are few folks here that did- and perhaps still do- work with making smaller areas of FS terrain mesh.

But, although in the past Arno and rhumbaflappy have kindly offered to post occasional help with configuring examples / corrections for the obscure command line parameters required by the GIS engines used 'under the hood' in the QGIS application, IMHO, the frequency- and sufficiency in included detail- of such posts to provide help with terrain mesh creation here at FSDeveloper has declined appallingly in recent years. :oops:

Regrettably, my own available free time to help with such tasks in the forums is also more limited now. :confused:


Assuming you are ready, willing, and able to go the full distance with accessing, verifying (and fixing as needed) the full data set for creation of a relatively flawless freeware 10 Meter LOD-12 CONUS terrain mesh, you might wish to begin by studying this group of threads to learn how to use ollyau's GeoTIFF-to-INF utility to do initial tests with custom edited INF files to produce terrain mesh BGLs with your source data sets.



I hope this may help with initial efforts to at least test the feasibility for completing this project. :)

GaryGB
 
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Gary, thank you for your help. I understand this is a MAJOR project. Hopefully, we can build a community and do things in stages since with my limited understanding I can think of no other way of accomplishing this. I am starting small with terrain around a small airport in Missouri and looking to expand outwards from there, doing one-degree tiles at a time.

I do websites so hosting files shouldn't be a major issue, especially when people can use torrents and share the data amongst themselves.
 
Hi again:

If you share coordinates for the "small airport in Missouri" as a worked example, perhaps we can go through the steps required to implement a terrain mesh at your choice of detail ...as a learning / testing scenario. ;)


Providing a first name in posts might also be conducive to greater forum thread participation as well. :)

GaryGB
 
I put my name is in the first post, but left it out of the replies. :)

Ground Zero is 0T3 Twin City Airpark in Marble Hill, Mo. I don't know if 1/3 arc-second data will be too beefy as far as file size and computing requirements, or if the improvement over 1 arc-second data that's already out there even justifies the amount of work required. But my thinking is that city scenery and airports have been done to death and I would like people to be able to enjoy "flyover country" - always having something beautiful to look at, in the areas that existing mesh scenery leaves pretty bland.

Chris
 
Hi Chris:

Sorry I missed seeing your name in the OP above. :oops:


Yes, 0T3 would render with more local terrain detail using at least 10 Meter elevation data to enjoy 'low and slow' flying in that region. :cool:


When I get some time this weekend, I'll take a look at the available local data sets on some GIS web portals to see what might be used.

I'll post again afterwards to try and advise a bit more on this topic, using 0T3 as a worked example. :)


GaryGB
 
I'd like to add a few library objects like water towers and grain elevators for example (easily located from the FAA's obstacle file) - when there is more help. Gotta start somewhere though and "keep it simple" is the way to go for now. In the meantime, I'll get a website set up.

Thanks again, Gary!
Chris
 
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Hi Chris:

I have verified the USGS TNM 1/3 Arc Second 10-Meter :pushpin:

I have not yet verified an alternate 1/3 Arc Second 10-Meter MO State DEM elevation data set.

I have also verified a MO State LiDAR 0.883-Meter / 2.8969816 Feet between-elevation-data-point data set.

All the above data sets are available for free download.


I plan to post some more info today after I (hopefully) get 1 final remaining tile of LiDAR for the NW area of 0T3 to process in Global Mapper for creating a test high-resolution terrain mesh BGL. ;)


It seems the St. Louis MO - Washington University GIS LiDAR FTP file server is down for maintenance, or is busy / crashed at the moment.

I'll also try to download some photo-real satellite or aerial imagery for that area while waiting for the elevation FTP file server to resume. :coffee:


After testing, I shall reply with download URLs either here in this thread or via PM (your choice ...that FTP server may be unstable under load).


BTW: If you wish, DSM LiDAR data can be used to determine dimensions and height of selected buildings / structures near the airport.

That info can be exported to a GIS / CAD format file and used in ex: Sketchup to more easily make custom 3D models of such buildings. :idea:


[EDITED]

PS: I finally found a working URL for the missing tile at 0T3 to create the example images below.

W.I.P.: 0T3 showing local MO GIS ~1-Meter LiDAR DSM at corrected vertical exaggeration setting:

0t3_marble_hill_1-meter_lidar_dsm-corrected-jpg.57453


0t3_marble_hill_mo_1-meter_lidar_dsm_arcgis_world_imagery-jpg.57454


NOTE: In both images, the 3D terrain surface is draped with ESRI ArcGIS World Imagery satellite imagery.

I'll try to post some info on the non-USGS 'local' MO GIS 10-Meter DEM data tomorrow (Monday). :)

[END_EDIT]

GaryGB
 

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Wow, it looks just like it is in real life!!! Missouri is so horribly flat in flight simulator normally and this kind of data would really make flying anywhere a blast, don't you think?

Website for the scenery should be ready today. My hope is that the data is consistent throughout the U.S. and is able to be mass-produced. Is LIDAR data available in the same format nationwide, like the USGS 1/3 arc-second data? I haven't messed with it all that much, but I wonder if it would only work for top-end machines and SO MANY people in the community still have lower-end computers. I want this to be a good compromise between accuracy (like you have here) and low system requirements - without compromising too much on quality.
 
Wow, it looks just like it is in real life!!! Missouri is so horribly flat in flight simulator normally and this kind of data would really make flying anywhere a blast, don't you think?

Hi Chris:

Yes, the 10-meter terrain mesh certainly makes flying anywhere more fun, and in areas closer to airports where user aircraft elevation will be closer to the ground or on ground, 5-meter or 1-meter terrain mesh adds a wonderful measure of realism. :cool:


Website for the scenery should be ready today. My hope is that the data is consistent throughout the U.S. and is able to be mass-produced.

While it is possible that the USGS 1/3 arc-second data set is truly seamless, I recommend inspecting it extensively using a colored hill-shader display mode when loaded in a GIS application.

After a BGL is created from (2) or more adjacent 1x1 Degree source mesh tiles, IMHO it should be inspected by flying and/or slewing in FS.

Is LIDAR data available in the same format nationwide, like the USGS 1/3 arc-second data?

Lidar elevation data source file formats may vary; generally speaking, DEM or DTM files will provide a "bare earth" elevation data set which we would normally use to create terrain mesh.

Geographic extents of coverage for such data file sets may also vary.


I haven't messed with it (LiDAR) all that much, but I wonder if it would only work for top-end machines and SO MANY people in the community still have lower-end computers. I want this to be a good compromise between accuracy (like you have here) and low system requirements - without compromising too much on quality.

The quad-based terrain mesh rendering subsystem in FS is highly optimized, and most reasonably modern computers will render a 1-Meter terrain mesh with no significant performance hit.

A 10-Meter terrain mesh will likely cause no perceptible performance hit.


PS: I sent you a PM with URLs that you may wish to begin accessing. ;)


After you gather some data sets for the area of interest at 0T3, we can discuss in this thread the methods I would recommend you consider following to create a high-resolution terrain mesh.

You will likely need to combine both the Lidar 1-meter data and the USGS 1/3 Arc-Second DEM data to fill voids in the Lidar data set, otherwise you will have spikes at the edges of such voids and tiles, so plan on downloading both data sets. :alert:

Additionally, if you are careful which Missouri GIS map viewer you are downloading from, you can download individual tiles rather than the entire county to perform initial testing with smaller data sets.

Note that GIS projection for merged source data sets must be output into EPSG:4326 for SDK Resample. :pushpin:


I would like to suggest that you do this in combination with making a full detail version of 0T3 airport. :idea:


If / when you are interested, we can discuss in another thread here:

https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/forums/sketchup.112/

...the method for making 3-D models derived from Lidar DSM information converted to file formats that import into ex: Sketchup.


Also, we can discuss in yet another thread here:

https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/forums/ground2k4-sbuilder-sbuilderx.33/

...using SBuilderX for making a high resolution custom photo real land class texture to drape onto the ground at that airport.


You may wish to use SBuilderX to create a CVX Vector Exclude Polygon to exclude the default airport background (a.k.a. "boundary") flatten at that airport, so underlying high-resolution terrain mesh is used instead as a ground surface more in keeping with the real world


You may also wish to discuss in a thread here:

https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/forums/airport-design-editor.95/

...use of Airport Design Editor (a.k.a. "ADE") to create Exclusion Rectangles to remove default airport objects such as runways and taxiways at that airport, so that the underlying high-resolution terrain mesh may be used instead as a ground surface more in keeping with the real world.

Feel free to inquire further about how to proceed with "mesh-making" when you are ready. :)

GaryGB
 
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While it is possible that the USGS 1/3 arc-second data set is truly seamless, I recommend inspecting it extensively using a colored hill-shader display mode when loaded in a GIS application.

At least the tiles surrounding 0T3 are seamless; although I am looking into the program you suggested, for now I have the elevation colorized in QGIS. Fortunately you have started mentioning programs I not only I have already but have a slight understanding of in Airport Design Editor and SBuilderX. That was a relief to see something familiar finally!
 
Reading through the other material you sent and will pass along my progress once I am ready. Scenery will be released for testing soon on my new website, and I'll put up the link once it's ready.

Chris
 
Hi Chris:

Looks like you're making more progress. :)

When you have some data files you plan to compile, please feel free to post an example *.INF file to be submitted to SDK Resample to allow input for what might help fine-tune the BGL output compilation. ;)

GaryGB
 
I'm still quite stuck on step one. I don't have $500 to spend on the Global Mapper program, which hopefully won't mean the end of my plan to share this scenery with the community. While I can decipher from the metadata that the USGS GeoTiff file is NAD83 format, my QGIS program no longer recognizes the CRS for some reason so now I cannot convert to WGS84. Even if I could, I don't see how QGIS can export to a format that the INF resampler can use. After struggling to just get over the hump of step one these past couple of weeks, creating thousands of 1-degree tiles looks like a walk in the park at this point.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks,
Chris
 
Hi Chris:

Although there are a (very) few threads here at FSDeveloper on how to re-project the GIS file format

(aka "CRS" aka "Coordinate Reference System" aka "SRS" aka "Spatial Refernce System")

...using obscure CMD mode GIS utilities which work "under the hood" in QGIS, there are now plugins that may be used in QGIS to make that process of re-projection easier to achieve those tasks via the QGIS GUI menus.


I suggest a review of online references available for the specific numeric version of QGIS you use. :pushpin:

https://www.google.com/search?ei=dd...jEuMZgBAKABAaoBB2d3cy13aXq4AQI&sclient=psy-ab


https://www.google.com/search?ei=Pti2XsGQA4-2swWnj6SQAg&q=QGIS+re-project+to+CRS+EPSG:4326&oq=QGIS+re-project+to+CRS+EPSG:4326&gs_lcp=CgZwc3ktYWIQA1CgjAJY46UDYMWsA2gAcAB4AIABcYgBjAqSAQQxNC4ymAEAoAEBqgEHZ3dzLXdpeg&sclient=psy-ab&ved=0ahUKEwjBp-Pol6fpAhUP26wKHacHCSIQ4dUDCAs&uact=5


BTW: Which numeric version of QGIS are you using ? :scratchch

Are you already using any QGIS plugins ?

If so, which one(s) ?

GaryGB
 
Gary,
First: thanks as always, as you've been a tremendous help.
To my knowledge, I am using the most recent QGIS, 3.12.2 Comes with GRASS and a few other bits I have no idea what they are. I'm using the stock program that you can find on the site, so no plugins have been activated or downloaded yet sir.

Best regards,
Chris
 
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