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request a brief tutorial on use of the atlas

Atlas is an addon that lets FlightGear users display a real-time "moving-map" of their flight.

request a brief tutorial on use of the atlas

Postby johnro28 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:58 pm

let me introduce my self; johnro28. live in the Phila, PA area. Mac pro laptop 10.6.8 graphic card navida geforce 320m. let us assume a short flight from KPNE to Kphl. Is the atlas a flight planner. when i access same, I see KPNE point A. I want to fly to KPHL point B. of what use is the graph,network 5050. How do you toggle between the atlas and your flight gear screen?
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Re: request a brief tutorial on use of the atlas

Postby chrisr » Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:43 am

Hi John,
Atlas is
  • Handy for visual navigation, as maps show terrain and airport locations
  • A good reference for data: VOR frequencies, NDB frequencies, airport elevations, waypoint locations
It merges two major datasets: scenery and navigational data. However I wouldn't call it a flight planner: it doesn't allow you to choose points and the corresponding headings.

It is really a separate program from flightgear. I launch both flightgear and Atlas, and tell Atlas to synchronize its position with that of flightgear. This is done by telling flightgear to output its position to some internet socket (e.g. start fgfs with --nmea=socket,out,2,localhost,5504,udp ); and tell Atlas to get its position from this socket (e.g. start Atlas with --udp=5504).

There are typically other options that need to be specified on the command line, but not knowing about Macs or your setup, I can't comment.

If you remain within the Bay area, that is all you need to know. But venturing further afield you may encounter (what I consider to be) bigger challenges. These are to do with downloading new scenery - a chore whenever flying somewhere for the first time. There are three rather obscure steps needed before FlightGear and Atlas will show scenery outside the Bay area. Unless you go through the following process, anywhere away from the Bay Area will look like a bleak salt-plain or else water.

First, the extra scenery needs to be downloaded. As of FlightGear 2.6 this can be done by enabling downloading via the Environment -> Automatic Scenery Download dialog. (Before 2.6, another program 'terrasync' needed to be called explicitly.) The dialog shows the progress of each download. 'Scenery' refers to topography, landcover, buildings, and other structures. This is needed by both the flight simulator program and the Atlas program.

Second the new scenery has to be processed to generate map images. This is done with a program called 'Map'.

Thirdly, you need to restart both fgfs and Atlas before the new scenery is visible.

Hope this explains what Atlas can and can't do.
Chris
Last edited by chrisr on Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: request a brief tutorial on use of the atlas

Postby johnro28 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:19 pm

Thank you, Chris, for your reply. I will take some time to digest your info. For the time being, I will fly in the bay area. I will still attempt to use the atlas. The mac does not lend itself to see the program, that is to make changes. My programing skills are negative. I see that you are using Linux.
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Re: request a brief tutorial on use of the atlas

Postby chrisr » Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:21 pm

Yes - if the program is too well packaged, then making changes will be quite hard. Another impediment is that the program is always evolving, so detailed recipes for changes can be out of date. Still, experimentation is inexpensive, and may even be rewarding!

Personally, I like Atlas because it looks good, and contains helpful navaid information in a neat way. I have the luxury of a second monitor, so it is particularly convenient.
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Re: request a brief tutorial on use of the atlas

Postby johnro28 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:57 am

hello Chris; This is a follow up to recent posts. What is a typical flight for you? This is what works for me. I do not use ATLAS. I use MAP (transparent). Phila, PA area, airport N40 to Reading. Pickup the ILS approach, fly same. With the runway in sight, switch from cockpit view to model. so far the landings are such that i am able to walk away. One monitor, MAC laptop. Looking to add add'l aircraft. Japanese zero appears to be available. Others?
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Re: request a brief tutorial on use of the atlas

Postby chrisr » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:19 am

Hi John. I didn't know about the transparent mode for Map, which looks like a good alternative to Atlas.

If you can walk away from a landing, then you are well on on the way. But if you are now looking for new challenges, then they are numerous. I am currently concentrating on the navaids and autopilot on the B1900d. Others go in for war planes, multi player events, or contributing scenery. Whatever takes your fancy!
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