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Google Earth Scenary for FlightGear?

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Google Earth Scenary for FlightGear?

Postby ACE 007 » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:17 pm

Please look here: http://www.planetinaction.com/

Microsoft Flight Sim X is about to use Google Earth for scenary. FlightGear should too. Could the game developers contact Google about this?
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Re: Google Earth Scenary for FlightGear?

Postby Liam » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:20 pm

hmm, I wouldnt mind betting FSX payed millions to google for that. Which of course, FlightGear can not ;). There was talk of this sort of thing in the past however, i'm not sure what kinda outcome got reached. You may wish to search the forum using the searchbox.
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Re: Google Earth Scenary for FlightGear?

Postby Gijs » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:46 pm

MSFS is not using Google Earth imagery. There is an addon developed that imports the imagery that you see in Google Earth into MSFS. Microsoft will never use such a thing of Google, as they have their own: Virtual Earth.
FlightGear is able to use these imagery too, but due to our GNU GPL licensing, we cannot include it with any official FG releases/scenery distributions. If someone comes up with an addon package under a license that those images can be distributed under we can have them in FG too, but only as an addon...

Such an addon is already available for France.
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Re: Google Earth Scenary for FlightGear?

Postby dinther » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:03 pm

Hi, GEVision as mentioned on planetinaction.com is going to be an universal scenery engine. The scenery engine is going to be generic in nature with a range of API options to link in with other programs. It will only require a simple network connection to pass view data to the GEVision server which on it's turn will drive one or many google earth clients. It will be possible to build very comprehensive multi screen solutions with GEVision which will suit cockpit builders.

Currently there is a FSX link that works smoothly but there will be others and we encourage developers to build their own interfaces. We expect GEVision to be released in May 2010
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Re: Google Earth Scenary for FlightGear?

Postby statto » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:04 pm

The license between the Google imagery and FlightGear are incompatible, so what Gijs said.
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Re: Google Earth Scenary for FlightGear?

Postby dinther » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:24 pm

I am the developer of GEVision. The TOS from Google won't allow redistribution of Google Earth imagery and really only allows it to be viewed in Google application such as maps or Earth. This is what GEVision does. At the heart it uses the Google Earth plugin. The interface is a generic one so there is no need to include Google Earth property in Flightgear.

I am certainly interested in legal issues but Google explicitly replied to my inquiries and they even encourage Win32 applications that make use of the Google Earth plugin. But I will run this specific use by them just in case.
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Re: Google Earth Scenary for FlightGear?

Postby statto » Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:12 pm

dinther wrote:I am the developer of GEVision. The TOS from Google won't allow redistribution of Google Earth imagery and really only allows it to be viewed in Google application such as maps or Earth. This is what GEVision does. At the heart it uses the Google Earth plugin. The interface is a generic one so there is no need to include Google Earth property in Flightgear.

I am certainly interested in legal issues but Google explicitly replied to my inquiries and they even encourage Win32 applications that make use of the Google Earth plugin. But I will run this specific use by them just in case.


Well, there are several issues here that I can see relating to FlightGear. As you probably know, this is a GPL application, which allows the user to continue to distribute our software as she or he so chooses (as long as they are within the very loose constraints of distribution). In this case, if we were to distribute this with the application, you'd have to be willing to allow your source code to be opened up under the terms of the GPL - you'd retain copyright, but that's about it. If it's Win32 only, we'd need to make it compatible as FlightGear seems to be the "Linux of Flight Simulators" - several if not most developers use either Macs or Linux to develop it. Also, I'm not too sure about how your product works, but we might have to bundle Google Earth in with the rest of the software... again, if we were to distribute it with the rest of the code. Only then would we get to the potential issue with the use of Google's imagery - though, from what it sounds like, we wouldn't be redistributing it; though I'm not sure if flying through it in FlightGear is one of their accepted uses under their license. Their license is restrictive enough that we tell developers not to use any Google imagery in any of the buildings or scenery they design to avoid an unwanted lawsuit (others on this board have argued fair use - and while that is a defense we might be able to win on, the court would have to decide, which means litigation. I'd prefer to avoid unnecessary litigation against Google).

Now, I'm not trying to discourage you. In fact, if you're interested in easily trying to get Google Earth imagery into a flight simulator, this is probably your best place to come because it is completely open. But as Gijs said, this isn't something we'll be able to include with the rest of the software due to our licensing restrictions - it'd have to be a plugin, or else a separate program (which might work better for you, because you wouldn't have to open up your source code under the terms of the GPL - though I'm not advocating for closed-source software there).

I am intrigued by your product, though!
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Re: Google Earth Scenary for FlightGear?

Postby dinther » Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:27 pm

Understood. It is not my intention to have GEVision nor any Google code or data included in anything. Why would you. Google data improves on a weekly basis so loading it live is much more efficient. I see it as a generic piece of software that runs only on windows (For now) that either receives UDP packets directly from a custom application that communicates with Flightgear, X-Plane or MSFS or via an intermediate host application. GEVision doesn't care where the UDP packets come from as long as they contain the right information. Essentially it is no more than a remote controlled Google Earth view.
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Re: Google Earth Scenary for FlightGear?

Postby martin » Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:12 pm

It's an interesting experience to see people anonymously advertizing their commercial product on this very forum ....

While I'd certainly appreciate to see more 'products' interface to FlightGear, you should take into account that support for your very specific commercial offer proably won't materialize out of nothing. So, if you'd like to see your product being supported by FlightGear (no promises), then I'd recommend you to advance to the target group with an approach that sounds worthwhile to get implemented.
The concept of feeding positional data to some obscure "GEVision server" which in sequence is going to drive a couple of slave displays might not sound too convincing. In order to gain some attraction, why don't you consider publishing the network protocol to drive these slave displays _directly_ ?

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Re: Google Earth Scenary for FlightGear?

Postby dinther » Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:23 pm

First of all, I am not sure how posting under my real name can be considered anonymous. Via my website you can find out every detail about me. At this stage it is not clear if and how we monetize this project. We sometimes benefit from releasing free software which then attract commercial projects. I thought FlightGear users would be interested about the existence of this project which was the sole reason for posting. I certainly am excited to see rich Google Earth scenery instead of the boring made up auto generated stuff that usually is dished up in flight simulators. Google invited me to a conference in May to present our new products where I get all the promotion I want so this was not a cynical attempt to get free publicity. I am driven by technology and possibilities. That is what I wanted to share here.

I have not taken a decision on the architecture yet. There is no reason we can't have either a central server receiving data from a specific plugin passing data to the GEVision clients or have a plugin that directly sends out UDP packets. However by publishing the protocol I will be forced to hold myself to it but there is a lot more that needs to be taken into account.

However, whatever interface there will be with GEVision, it will be published and users either try to interface with it or not. I will make sure interfaces will exist between FSX and XPlane.
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Re: Google Earth Scenary for FlightGear?

Postby planetacancun » Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:11 am

I hope something like this gets working on FG, I have the clouds, I need the land pleeease! :D

Cmon devs have a hug from Cancun!
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Re: Google Earth Scenary for FlightGear?

Postby Liam » Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:40 am

Interesting stuff, however I have a question regarding this "Product". Would this mean a loss of all scenery objects? or do they retain their data seperately to land use- it seems like a waste of hard work otherwise. Also what happens to the normal land-scenery data, is that like an underlay layer which would be covered up by this streamed land data? would it mean loading more scenery than needed, or would only one work at a time. Apologies that I am not very knowledgable on the geography of FlightGear, I spend most of my time over the clouds.

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Re: Google Earth Scenary for FlightGear?

Postby statto » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:02 am

Liam,

If implemented, this would be an add-on to the FlightGear package and not affect any of the scenery work we're currently doing,

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Re: Google Earth Scenary for FlightGear?

Postby doballve » Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:17 pm

Interesting discussion you have here. Thanks dinther for coming forward. Using scenery from google earth in fgfs would definitely be cool, just last week I was wondering how that could be done.. and here is this thread.

While that might be tricky to achieve due to technical and license aspects, a poor man's alternative would be to have your windows/mac laptop to run an application using google earth plugin (read: web browser + simple html + javascript) that fetches airplane position - the same way as Atlas - and uses the plugin in a similar way as the drive-simulator example (
http://earth-api-samples.googlecode.com ... index.html, need windows/mac, no linux :( ). I was tcpdumping Atlas connection to validate this idea, but can somebody confirm that this is feasible.

Initially it would plot only forward view (based on axis of movement, if that info is not available), but later the app could allow the mouse in the laptop control the view direction, while movement would still be fetched from fgfs.

br,
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Re: Google Earth Scenary for FlightGear?

Postby Jester » Sat Jan 23, 2010 3:47 pm

Pigeon has already connected FG to Google Earth about 4 years ago.

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