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akriesman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akriesman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: ->Moving Default Airports
    Posted: December-17-2005 at 1:09pm

As many of you know.   The airports in FS9 are sometimes misplaced slightly, primarily the smaller airports.

We occassionally get questions as to why some roads may be on the wrong side of the airport.   Or, why a river crosses the airport when it should not.

In almost all cases, this is due to the airport being misplaced.

I believe that Microsoft uses the best possible data available for positioning the airports.   But, with with aerial scenery technologies available today (i.e. Terraserver, Google Earth), it is possible to really pinpoint things like airport locations.

Positioning all the airports based on satellite imagery is too big of a task for us (and probably for Microsoft also).   It currently requires a lot of work by hand to rework each airport.

Thomas Perry has been working on putting together some tutorials for moving airports.   He did this, because many users have asked if there is a way to do this themselves (thanks Thomas).

Here are some links to threads that have information that may help you.

Overview of the process (scroll down to the post by wildfire563):

http://www.simforums.com/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=14838&am p;am p;am p;PN=1

Airport Moving Tutorial:

 

 

Allen

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wildfire563 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wildfire563 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December-17-2005 at 1:33pm

How to move an airport:  I copied this post from the other thread.  The following is a very,  very brief tutorial on what needs to be done and the tools you need.  I'll be updating this post periodically, so keep checking back.

Tools

You'll need these tools:

LWMViewer 2 by Jim Keir (Avsim).  He recently released a new build, look for it in the FS2004 General Avsim forum.  I think this tool does it all, but I can't use this on my computer, so I can't tell you how to use it or its full capabilities.

So these are the tools I use:

LWMViewer by Jim Keir (Avsim)
AFCAD 2.21 by Lee Swordy (Avsim)
SBuilder 2.05 build 6 by Luis Sa (http://www.ptsim.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=628)
NewBGLAnalyze.exe by Winfried Orthmann (www.avsim.com)
SceneGenX maintained by Tom Hiscox (www.airportforwindows.com)
BGLC (I forget, but I don't think it's too hard to find)
BGLComp (FS2004 Scenery Design SDK), I think it is also in SceneGenX.  Make sure to find the updated bglcomp.xsd.  I forget where I got it, if I find it, I'll post it.
Scenery Design SDK (www.fsinsider.com)
A screen capture utility.  I use Snapshooter (http://www.nomadsoft.tk/), but I haven't figured out how to use it to capture images that are larger than their containing window.  I understand Hypersnap can do this.

Directory Structure

First, you'll need a place to put your new airport files.  I like to create a directory for my airport in FS9\Addon Scenery called xxxx (where xxxx is the ICAO identifier for your airport) including a scenery, texture, and Source directory.  All the source is saved to the source directory.  All bgls will go to scenery, and textures (may not need any) to texture.  You'll also likely need a separate directory called xxxx LC\scenery for your landclass if you'll need any landclass.  There should not be any texture directory for your xxxx LC directory.  When it comes time to install your new airport, you'll need to import both xxxx and xxxx LC as separate scenery libraries, xxxx should be higher in the list (lower number) than xxxx LC.

You may need a third directory structure/library.  If you need to change the altitude of an airport, you will need to preset the new altitude by creating a shortened AFCAD and placing it in a fs9\Addon Scenery\Altitude Fixes\scenery directory, "Adding" it as a scenery library, and moving this library so it is loaded before the regional libraries (see below).  I use one such library and put all my altitude fix files in it.

Background Image

Next, you'll want a satellite picture.  If Google maps has it, you're in luck.  Go to http://www.ptsim.com/sbuilder/gmaps.asp, find your airport, hit New Window and screen capture the contents of the window and save the photo as a bmp.  Then, in the original window, hit Boundaries, and in the window that pops up, select the text then hit Right mouse button and select copy (Ctrl-C does not work), then copy the text into a text file of the same name as the photo.  If the google maps photo stinks, then you can probably get a good photo at http://www.terraserver.microsoft.com/, but you'll have to calibrate it by hand, which can be a pain. 

Flattens

In order for FS to create a runway, the land the runway sits on must be flat.  FS does this with an object called a "flatten" and has a flatten for each airport, ususally the same size as the grass background.  Unfortunately, MS does not provide any way to exclude a flatten.  So if the default flatten is not in the correct location, you will have to edit the default file containing the flatten, delete the offending flatten, recompile the default bgl file and replace the original with the new one, and then create a new flatten for the airport. 

If you need to remove an airport flatten(s) (so you don't leave a bathtub or plateau behind), use LWMViewer to determine which FLXXXXXX.bgl file in FS9\Scenery contains your flatten(s).  Within LWMViewer, you can load the default files by entering the coordinates you are at, and it will open all the files that service this area, including the flatten.  Export the file containing your flatten from LWMViewer, then use a text editor to find the flatten(s) for your airport and delete them.  There are often multiple flattens for any given airport, so make sure you get them all.  In fact I have heard that some airports that are near LOD boundaries may have flatten's in mulitple files for the same airport, or mulitple areas in the same file.  I have not corroborated this, but make sure you look.  Recompile the file with BGLC.exe.  Replace your original FL file with this one.  Do not distribute this file, just let people know what coordinates they need to remove from their files (my FL files are pretty extensively modified for New England, so yours won't work in my system or in many other people's systems).

Moving the Runways, Taxiways, and Parking Spots, etc., Changing Airport Altitude

I like to use AFCAD to move/create runways and taxiways.  SceneGenX also has these functions and you may decide to use that instead since you can put a background image.  For AFCAD, you have to slew around in FS to help edit the airports.  Use one of these tools to move the runways around.   Save the airport you've created (AF_XXXX.bgl) to your xxxx\scenery directory.

You can essentially only have one runway altitude per airport.  I have created an airport with two runways at different altitudes, but all taxiways and parking spots in the AFCAD will raise the terrain in their vicinity to the altitude of the first runway in the AFCAD.  Also, I understand that using multiple altitudes for an airport can also be the source of CTD's.  So don't do it.

If you need to change the altitude of an airport, you will have to decompile the resulting AF_XXXX.bgl, copy the text file to a new name, delete everything until you get a file that looks like this:
<?xml version="1.0"?>

<!--  disassembled by NewBglAnalyze Sun Dec 11 10:28:06 2005 -->

<FSData version="9.0"
xmlns:xsi='http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance'
xsi:noNamespaceSchemaLocation="bglcomp.xsd">

<Airport ident="NH07"
  region=""
  country="United States"
  state="New Hampshire"
  city="Loudon"
  name="Cooper Farm"
  lat="N43 16.82166"
  lon="W071 27.39666"
  alt="143.26M"
  magvar="16.00">

</Airport>

</FSData>

Then use BGLComp.exe to compile it and place it in an "Altitude Fix" scenery library.  This library must be installed below your regional libraries (IOW, must be below Africa).  FS uses the first altitude it reads as the altitude for all other instances of an airport, so this file needs to be read before the default airport is read.  Unfortunately, there have been documented issues with this method for 1% to 5% of users, but it is the only way to change the altitude of an airport.

Airport Scenery - Backgrounds, Create Flattens, Placing Library Objects, and Landclass

Start SBuilder, create a new project, enter coords near the center of your airport in the "Class Scenery" tab of the project properties menu.   Select Map, click on the screen and select the photo you saved (the text file containing the lat/lon of the boundaries should be in the same directory as the photo).  SBuilder will automatically read the boundaries text file and size and place your photo for you.  You can use several backgrounds if you wish.

Exclude old background - Now, slewing around in FS around the default airport background, create a poly which is larger than the background, and select Excl. under the properties for the Poly (right mouse button on edge of poly) and tell it to exclude layer 7.  This will exclude the old airport background.  You can use Alt-P to turn off the fill for Poly's so you can see underneath them (build 6 only, not the released v2.05 of SBuilder).

Create Flatten - Create another Poly set to LWM/Flatten around the new runways and wherever else you want to flatten and set it at the height of the runways of the airport.

Create new background - Create another Poly set to VTP2 to create the background and select assembled and whatever you want to use as the airport background (I usually use "Cold Grassland" in the NE US).  The "assembled" textures come ready made for all seasons, IOW what you are selecting are premade groups of textures, with a texture assigned for each season.

Place Objects - You can use Sbuilder to place objects, too.  The latest rev (build 6) has its own library (available on avsim I think), and it's got a pretty neat interface for using objects for RWY12 as well.  I use it a lot.

Create Landclass - Finally, create a new project in SBuilder and create landclass.  It's easy with a background map.  Have it save the files to the xxxx LC\scenery directory.

There's a lot more you can do with SBuilder.  It can create regular excludes, but I haven't found its excludes to be as reliable as those created with SceneGenX, so, on to the next tool.

Exlcuding Old Buildings and Taxiway Signs, Creating Buildings

At this point, if the airport you are moving doesn't have any buildings, you are done.  If it does have buildings, first, you'll want to use SceneGenX to create excludes over all the original buildings on the airport (and whatever else you may want to exclude).  Since the airport is misplaced, you'll have to slew around in FS to figure where to put the excludes.  When it comes time to place buildings, you can use the same photo you used in SBuilder as a background, but you'll have to calibrate it by hand by slewing around in FS and playing around till its right. 

Once you've excluded all the old stuff, you'll need to use NewBGLAnalyze to to decompile the OB9XXXX.bgl files in the same directory the flatten was from and then import the resulting XML files into SGX and find all the buildings on your airport (you can search for all objects by radius in the XML import form).  You should actually be able to directly import the bgl files into SGX, but it is not that reliable yet on bgl import.  XML import works well, but I have found you can only import one large XML file per session, but it may be fixed by now.  Once you've imported the objects, you can move them with a single command in SGX, and then redistribute them to the photo if you want.

SGX also includes a very nice ability to create buildings with various textures that I often use to make new ones or modify the existing buildings.  The building editor only works for 3D Building Objects, you cannot use this to edit library objects.  You'll be able to tell the difference because library objects will only show up as little squares in SGX, while you'll be able to see the full size of the floorplan of a 3D Building (usually a rectangle).

That's it.  A very, very simplified explanation, but those are the tools and steps, it's up to you to play around and figure the rest out.  There are lots of tutorials and help in the forums.

Thanks,

Thomas

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wildfire563 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wildfire563 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-12-2006 at 4:14pm

There's another good tutorial over at FS-Freeflow.com.

http://fs-freeflow.com/forum2/index.php?topic=715.msg5393#ms g5393

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meshman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote meshman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January-12-2006 at 5:23pm

Thanks to Thomas and to Scott Gridley over at the Freeflow site for their work on this topic.

With their contributions my little project to 'straighten' out some airports to conform to UT:USA is slowly making progress.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flying'sCool! Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February-11-2006 at 7:40am
Thomas Perry

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flying'sCool! Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-11-2006 at 12:58pm

Additions to the tools list I forgot:

To check your scenery

Google Earth http://earth.google.com/ - an excellent interface to Google maps that allows better zooming and linking with tools like

MyFSGoogleEarth - http://www.elbiah.de/flusi/MyFsGoogleEarth/MyFsGoogleEarth.h tm which shows your airplane within Google Earth as you are flying in FS.  Great for determining the location of objects and runways, etc.

Nasa WorldWind - http://worldwind.arc.nasa.gov/ - another tool similar to Google earth.  Cool because it displays 3D topography.

When the image on Google Earth ain't so good, try this site http://terraserver.microsoft.com/ - likely will be BW, but has very good coverage of some areas that Google earth does not.

 

Thomas Perry

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jvile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-25-2006 at 3:34pm

 

This is very informative but I would like to add a caution for those that want to move airports.

If you are only moving the airport a few Meters/Feet from its original position the above tutorial works very well including all the links but one important step is overlooked.

FS9 is very unique unlike previous versions and the airport LAT/LON scenery controls the airspace above it and outward to a radius of 108 NM.

What this means is everything (WAYPOINTs and TERMINAL_WAYPOINTs) in the airspace around the airport is at one set of LAT/LON values and everything on the ground is at another set and the 2 must agree within a reasonable distance.

In simpler terms Airport scenery (default precise runway position) helps in the alignment of all the approach data (as seen with the default GPS receiver).

Embedded in the GPS receivers NAVaid data is the coding for the arrival of the User Airplane and AI Plane Traffic. From a visual point of view we are able to see the new airport position that we moved too but from a Airspace point of view we do not visually see the corruption of all the GPS reciever and Approach XML data that is no longer in alignment.

None of this is correctable with the AFCAD program. A ILS is owned and nested in the runway data (AFCAD) and the approach data is owned and nested as element statements by the Airport Scenery (APnnnnnn.bgl XML data).

What happens now is the white lines in the GPS receiver approach mode become distorted and all the AI Traffic trying to land "go missed" because the IAF, FAF, GPS, RNAV, NDB, VOR related WAYPOINTS are still aligned with where the runway use to be and not where it was moved to.

Open the default GPS before you move a airport and view any type Approach/Transistions coded in the APnnnnnn.bgl. If there are no coded approaches seen with the default GPS (certain small airports in the database) then it is safe to move the airport has far as you want to. 

However, if there are coded Approaches/Transistions for some of the runways, take a screen shot of the GPS receiver displaying the white lines and then move the airport to the new position. Once moved go back and compare the GPS receiver white line data to your screen shots to see how far off the distortion occurs. If the white lines are now crooked, distorted, missing, etc. you have 2 choices.

Put the airport back where it originally was or rewite the XML data to reposition all the WAYPOINTS/TERMINAL_WAYPOINTS/VOR's/NDB's to a new alignment LAT/LON location. 

hope this is also helpful in addition to wildfire563's great tutorial

 

Jim
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meshman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote meshman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March-25-2006 at 9:38pm

Great to see you here Jim!

The insight and information you offer is a valuable tool for those wishing to reposition 'misplaced' airports after installing UT.

I encourage any designer or potential designer to look for Jim's postings at the scenery designer's forums throughout the web. They have helped me in my efforts.

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