• Build Your Own VFR Scenery With FSEarthTiles

    Build Your Own VFR Scenery With FSEarthTiles

    By Michael Hayward

    One thing many people have issues with when it comes to flight simulators is the realism of the ground scenery below them. In default FSX and P3D, the ground scenery is created through a system called 'Ground Class' where a grid is used to determine the ground in the real world and a texture is placed on top of it. Some companies have been able to create VFR scenery which places real-world satellite images on top of the FSX World to create a realistic representation of the ground.

    There are two FREE methods of getting VFR Ground Scenery within FSX. The main method people know is through a program called 'Tile Proxy' which downloads the data as you fly through a server. The second method which I will be going through in this tutorial is through FSEarthTiles.

    DO NOTE - VFR scenery created in this manner CANNOT be sold for commercial purpose or gain. Since the data is collected through third-party sources, you will need to obtain licensing from the respective third-party company.

    It may also be worth checking out my video explaining how to set this up, giving you a visual explanation through the process.

    Setting Up The Program

    FSEarthTiles has not been updated for a few years now, meaning setting up the program takes a little extra work, but still really easy to do nevertheless.

    First of all, you need to go to the official web site and download the main program from there. The web site is in French, but not hard to navigate

    http://www.f-bmpl.com/index.php/faites-le-vous-meme/209-2-installation-de-fsearthtiles-1-3

    The only requirement to install the program is to have Microsoft.NET Framework installed on your computer. Once you are ready to download, click on the "LIEN OFFICIEL" or "LIEN DE SECOURS" hyperlinks by step 3 on the page.

    Once downloaded, extract the folder entitled FSET into a safe location (I stuck it on my desktop). Do not open the program just yet!

    The next thing you need to do is replace the 'FSEarthTiles.ini' file with one I have prepared. You can download it at this link here. Replace the file and you are good to go!

    https://1drv.ms/u/s!Av7euqX9-qNYiJZV6FifunXaO4EBYQ

    It is also good practice to create a new Work Folder in your documents. The Work Folder will essentially be the cache as the maps are made, meaning it will fill up very quickly taking up a large portion of your hard drive. This can be changed within the 'FSEarthTiles.ini' file under the "WorkingFolder" tag. Likewise, you can change the Scenery Folder to suit your simulator, whether it be FSX or P3D.

    Creating The VFR Scenery

    Once you have replaced the old .ini file with the new one, you are ready to open the program. Double-click 'FSEarthTiles.exe' and wait for it to load. By default, the program will take you to Genoa. The program may look complicated, but it's really easy to use.

    For this example, I will create VFR ground scenery over Paris, France. The first thing you want to do is to navigate to your chosen location. There are two ways of doing this, manually locating it yourself by changing the Map Zoom Level and dragging the map, or inputting the latitude and longitude of your location and placing the values in the blue box on the top of the screen.

    The easiest way to find the latitude and longitude of your chosen location is by using the web site below.

    http://www.findlatitudeandlongitude.com/

    Once you are over your chosen location, click on the 'Draw' button and highlight where you would like the scenery to be created. There is no size limit, but be warned that for large maps you will need a fast processor and multiple cores, otherwise it will take forever to compile the scenery.


    29 Comments
    1. macflyCYUL's Avatar
      macflyCYUL -
      Hello Michael thank you for this first tutorial
      I have downloaded FSEarthTiles it runs fine.

      The most important thing if you want to compile the scenery into a bgl file is to donwload the official Microsoft Terrain SDK otherwise you will get an error while compiling the scenery.

      Once the SDK is downloaded you have to copy resample.exe and imagetool.exe into the FSEarthTiles directory and you have to rename resample.exe to resamplefs2004.exe ( if you use FS2004)
    1. DrawyahGames's Avatar
      DrawyahGames -
      Quote Originally Posted by macflyCYUL View Post
      The most important thing if you want to compile the scenery into a bgl file is to donwload the official Microsoft Terrain SDK otherwise you will get an error while compiling the scenery.
      Hmm, I've not had to do that, and nobody has asked mentioned this before to me. The first link can sometimes be a little 50/50, but the second download link works 100% of the time - Try giving that a go and see what results you get.
    1. macflyCYUL's Avatar
      macflyCYUL -
      @DrawyahGames : I think to be misunderstood
      This problems occurs when you try to compile the scenery only.
      With the internet link given it's ok to install the program.
    1. degeus's Avatar
      degeus -
      Hello,
      I have a Dutch version of Google Earth, a literal translation od DRAW in Dutch is Tekenen. I cannot find that function .
      Can someo show me in which pop-up menu DRAW can be found>
      reg.,
      Piet de Geus
      Netherlands.
    1. DrawyahGames's Avatar
      DrawyahGames -
      Quote Originally Posted by degeus View Post
      Hello,
      I have a Dutch version of Google Earth, a literal translation od DRAW in Dutch is Tekenen. I cannot find that function .
      Can someo show me in which pop-up menu DRAW can be found>
      reg.,
      Piet de Geus
      Netherlands.
      You don't need Google Earth for this, everything can be done from within the FSEarthTiles program.

      ----------------------------------------------------------
      Check out my YouTube Channel for more Simulator and Gaming content!

      https://www.youtube.com/c/drawyahgam...confirmation=1
    1. flyingwhale's Avatar
      flyingwhale -
      Quote Originally Posted by degeus View Post
      Hello,
      I have a Dutch version of Google Earth, a literal translation od DRAW in Dutch is Tekenen. I cannot find that function.
      Can someo show me in which pop-up menu DRAW can be found>
      reg.,
      Piet de Geus
      Netherlands.
      The DRAW button is NOT in Google Earth, but rather within the FSEarthTiles.exe application in the FSEarthTiles folder you download from http://www.f-bmpl.com/index.php/fait...earthtiles-1-3. You do not use Google Earth for this
    1. flyingwhale's Avatar
      flyingwhale -
      For some reason I can't get this to work after following both the printed and video tutorials. I have tried both download links and copying resample tool and imagetool from SDK as macflyCYUL suggested. Maybe it doesn't work with the disc version of Gold Edition?

      The error is something the long lones of 'Could not compile there is an error in the sceneries folders'
    1. DrawyahGames's Avatar
      DrawyahGames -
      Quote Originally Posted by flyingwhale View Post
      For some reason I can't get this to work after following both the printed and video tutorials. I have tried both download links and copying resample tool and imagetool from SDK as macflyCYUL suggested. Maybe it doesn't work with the disc version of Gold Edition?

      The error is something the long lones of 'Could not compile there is an error in the sceneries folders'
      It's actually fairly strange that people here seem to have issues with this program, especially when looking at my video comments people seem to work it fine.

      Make sure you download from the SECOND link and maybe check your folder management, that may just be the case. (Extract the ZIP, relocate the folders in the .ini)

      ----------------------------------------------------------
      Check out my YouTube Channel for more Simulator and Gaming content!

      https://www.youtube.com/c/drawyahgam...confirmation=1
    1. steveli's Avatar
      steveli -
      The google link is not working. Can someone provide a right link for google map on FSEarthTiles?
    1. DrawyahGames's Avatar
      DrawyahGames -
      Quote Originally Posted by steveli View Post
      The google link is not working. Can someone provide a right link for google map on FSEarthTiles?
      You need to install the new .ini file which I have linked in both the article and the video!

      Google is BROKEN since the server was changed - My new .ini file fixes this.

      https://1drv.ms/u/s!Av7euqX9-qNYiJZV6FifunXaO4EVYQ

      Anyone else that has a problem, please re-read each step since I know there are a lot of problems, all of which I explain!

      ----------------------------------------------------------
      Check out my YouTube Channel for more Simulator and Gaming content!

      https://www.youtube.com/c/drawyahgam...confirmation=1
    1. flyer8's Avatar
      flyer8 -
      Nels, does this work for FS9 and if not, is there anything similar? Also, many of us don't use One Drive by Google or Microsoft. Is there any chance that you can post your ini file to a FlightSim link!

      Best Regards and Thanks!
      Mark
    1. DrawyahGames's Avatar
      DrawyahGames -
      Quote Originally Posted by flyer8 View Post
      Nels, does this work for FS9 and if not, is there anything similar? Also, many of us don't use One Drive by Google or Microsoft. Is there any chance that you can post your ini file to a FlightSim link!
      Yes, this will work on FS9. On the left where it says 'Scen. Compiler', open the drop down list and select 'FS2004'. You also don't need a Microsoft account to download from OneDrive, just click on the link and click on 'Download' at the top of the screen.
    1. macsimian's Avatar
      macsimian -
      Hi Michael, and thanks very much for your tutorial. I knew nothing at all, really, about FSEarthTiles, and you've made it clear that it's a great scenery creation tool. Just one Q before I get into trouble: does the installation require .NET Framework 2 specifically, or will one or more later versions also work? It's just that Version 2.0 is the only one referred to on the FSEarthTiles web-page. If V2.0 is needed, I take it that it can co-exist with later versions on my Win-10 / i7 / FSX-Gold system? Thanks for any help you can give with this. Cheers - Ian / Macsimian.
    1. DrawyahGames's Avatar
      DrawyahGames -
      Quote Originally Posted by macsimian View Post
      Hi Michael, and thanks very much for your tutorial. I knew nothing at all, really, about FSEarthTiles, and you've made it clear that it's a great scenery creation tool. Just one Q before I get into trouble: does the installation require .NET Framework 2 specifically, or will one or more later versions also work? It's just that Version 2.0 is the only one referred to on the FSEarthTiles web-page. If V2.0 is needed, I take it that it can co-exist with later versions on my Win-10 / i7 / FSX-Gold system? Thanks for any help you can give with this. Cheers - Ian / Macsimian.
      I believe that it should work with a later version of .NET Framework and yes, it can co-exist with other versions within the same system without any issue. 🙂

      ----------------------------------------------------------
      Check out my YouTube Channel for more Simulator and Gaming content!

      https://www.youtube.com/c/drawyahgam...confirmation=1
    1. macflyCYUL's Avatar
      macflyCYUL -
      Quote Originally Posted by flyer8 View Post
      Nels, does this work for FS9 and if not,Mark
      it works fine for FS9, I have made some sceneries yet
      The PDF document is not really clear about "Area snap" wether you have to select "Lod13" or "LatLon" regarding the "area snap" parameter
      I you select Lod13 it's ok.

      I recommend to set the "download resolution" to 2, there is no noticeable difference with a resolution of 1.
    1. Zuckerkandl's Avatar
      Zuckerkandl -
      Hi michael firstly thank you so very much. İ cant access Google url in YouTube drve
    1. macsimian's Avatar
      macsimian -
      Quote Originally Posted by DrawyahGames View Post
      I believe that it should work with a later version of .NET Framework and yes, it can co-exist with other versions within the same system without any issue. 🙂

      ----------------------------------------------------------
      Check out my YouTube Channel for more Simulator and Gaming content!

      https://www.youtube.com/c/drawyahgam...confirmation=1
      Thanks for that, Michael - I find these .NET packages rather mysterious. But I'll go ahead now and give FSEarthTiles a whirl. It looks like good fun. I do appreciate the trouble you took to create the tutorial, which is nicely put together. Best wishes from Oz, and kind regards - Ian (Macsimian)
    1. macsimian's Avatar
      macsimian -
      Hi again, Michael. Well, I've had a go, and some success. After installing from the first of the two download links on the FSEarthTiles site, and running my first trial, I was stopped by an error message: "Scenery Compiler Resampler FSX SP2.exe in ... (DIR) is missing". Noting MacflyCYUL's remarks, and your own advice, I downloaded from the second link and compared the file list. Indeed, it was obvious that compiler files missing from the first download were, however, present in the second download. Consequently, running the programme worked this time around. Hey! Folks, use the second link!

      There's a 'but', though. Unfortunately, though our Australian town is set in a very green and fertile area, terrain in the resultant landscape image is very browned off. It just doesn't look right at all. This seems odd, because it is not a general colour cast; buildings with white roofs (etc.) are shown white - but the fields (bright green sugar cane and other crops, for instance) are quite muddy. Is there any way to modify the graphics processing in FSEarthTiles, or some other way? The satellite image from which the scenery area is chosen looks closer to reality. The browned-off 'real' area doesn't mix well enough with the FTX-AU greens, which actually aren't too far from the truth.

      Still, it's gratifying to see our town now sitting on the landscape much as it should - and I can identify my own house. Im just flew over it. Groovy!

      Thanks again, Michael. Cheers from Ian / Macsimian, YMUR, Oz.
    1. macsimian's Avatar
      macsimian -
      Whoops! "Im just flew over it ... ". Would you believe "I just flew over it!" Sorry, Folks.
      And my flying skills are even worse ...
      Ian / Macsimian.
    1. DrawyahGames's Avatar
      DrawyahGames -
      Quote Originally Posted by macsimian View Post
      terrain in the resultant landscape image is very browned off. It just doesn't look right at all. This seems odd, because it is not a general colour cast; buildings with white roofs (etc.) are shown white - but the fields (bright green sugar cane and other crops, for instance) are quite muddy. Is there any way to modify the graphics processing in FSEarthTiles, or some other way?
      The program tries to adjust the scenery colours for different seasons. This can be turned off in the .ini file by setting the different seasons to NO.

      Likewise you can change the compile option on the left of the program to off, that way you can edit your images before compiling.

      Do watch the video tutorial if you need to - Gives a more visual understanding of the program and what you can do. 🙂

      ----------------------------------------------------------
      Check out my YouTube Channel for more Simulator and Gaming content!

      https://www.youtube.com/c/drawyahgam...confirmation=1