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FSXA Photoreal legal or not?

Hi all,
I am wondering how so many payware developers use photoreal ground (which mostly looks great) even though legal issues with satellite image providers are discussed so often. How is that possible? Do they have to buy licenses or do most developers take the risk?
thanks for some feedback


Staff member
FSDevConf team
Resource contributor

You can be sure that the majority of the payware developers will buy a license for the imagery they use. But even for payware developers it is a big investment to make.
Most large scale photoscenery data is also from public domain sources. A lot of people assume they come from ripping images from Google Earth but to do so breaks the license agreement that Google has in place. Megascenery Earth, Vero-FS and the former FS Dreamscapes all use publicly available imagery data from the USDA NAIP program. Obtaining the imagery can be a pain to source, but the data can be purchased in bulk for around $700 per state if tracking down the imagery is too much.

There's enough freely available public domain imagery out there for the earth that is actually better in terms of color across the whole state that Google Earth/Maps, Bing Maps and other web map servers are made redundant due to color banding issues from tile to tile.
Try mapquest.com that is free to use USA region. Quality isnt the best but you can try to mix it with other textures and make your own realistic alike. It is not necessary to use exact image as in BING or Google.
Just have a look in google earth timeline option and see how colors and footprint of activities change over the time even during a year.. So if you make your own, no one is going to bite you.