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Developing Scenery from OSM

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Developing Scenery from OSM

Postby LucMtl » Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:38 pm

This is relayed from the thread about using Google Earth for scenery :

screwdriver wrote:I was thinking along the same lines. But on a different frontier.
Take a look at OpenStreetMap, and especially what the xml yields when the map is centered on an airport. Looks familiar, of course http://wiki.flightgear.org/index.php/Fi ... at#apt.dat.
Technically converting from OpenStreetMap xml data to the apt.dat format is quite easy. I'm currently working on a python api for those files and their content and parsing xml is child's play.
I'm also still in touch with the people from OpenStreetMap to sort out the details. (The OpenStreetMap data is pretty basic, just a few points which are connected to shapes or lines, their meaning is added by tags, currently there's not enough tags for airport related data, like surface type and widths of runways and taxiways.)

So creating airports will be fairly easy, you draw the layout off the Satelite imagery available to the OpenStreetMap project, commit your work to OSM and then export and convert the airport layout to the apt.dat format and go the usual way from there. This way the two projects will profit at once.


screwdriver wrote:Buildings are well represented in OSM (their outline). If not, hit the edit button on the OSM page, and draw the building you're looking for into OSM using the areal imagery provided.
(That is another nice side effect: you actually use the OSM mapping tools to create FG scenery)


VaLeo wrote:Some weeks ago I've draw, extrude, and insert my neighborhood.
Thats works well.


All this looks really interresting, and promising ! I'll have to take a good look at the OSM environment. Now, the question is, is there an agreement on the FlightGear side that this kind of work done from within the OSM project is legitimate content for the scenery database ? 8)
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Re: Developing Scenery from OSM

Postby LucMtl » Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:42 pm

And now, more specific questions should be :

- How can we draw and integrate airport layouts from OSM into FG ?

- How can we do the same with buildings ?

- Do we get precise positioning from working with OSM-specific tools ?

- Etc.
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Re: Developing Scenery from OSM

Postby screwdriver » Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:21 pm

Thanks for the new topic.
I am in contact with the people from OSM about this topic, so for now please concentrate on the technical details and refrain from implementing.

For now what's needed is a detailed study of the data which can be obtained from OSM and more specifically which tags are used in airports (I haven't found a documentation for this yet).

Meanwhile a few issues need solutions, here's an example:
Currently runways are lines defined by the location of their two ends and tagged as aeroway = runway and with a name = "<idOneEnd>/<idTheOtherEnd>", where <idOneEnd> and <idTheOtherEnd> are the runway ids of the two ends (name=22L/04R, for example). In Flightgear the runways are defined in the apt.dat file. It requires the runway location based on it's center-point, and it's length. Plus, in the apt.dat file there's more information, which is completely missing from OSM, like runway width, surface-type, lighting, markings and more.
Question is: how to convert what's present in OSM into an apt.dat (because that's obviously the starting point for the terragear tool-chain). Then, if it makes sense to introduce the additional information into OSM and if so, which tags should be used. If not can the information be automatically obtained elsewhere (also considering license issues) or do we need a complementary database for the additional information.

The example above is not the only case, there's a lot of cases like that. For each of them we need to identify, discuss and specify:
* Any need for additional data, like additional points and tags, which need to be introduced to the OSM data.
* What impact the additional data will have on OSM and if it's strictly needed in OSM, if it can be looked up elsewhere or if we need a flighgear-run database
* The infrastructure needed to convert OSM data (including the additions specified in the discussion) into Flightgear data.

Short: we need to gathrering the requirements for the OSM data, the infrastructure and the tools, needed.

I hope this turns out to be a productive discussion. If so, we should be able to summarize the effort into a Wiki-page providing a specification for the effort and go from there.
Greetings,

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Re: Developing Scenery from OSM

Postby VaLeo » Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:31 pm

There is tool for convert apt.dat to osm.
http://svn.openstreetmap.org/applicatio ... rt_import/

I think, frequences and other extra stuff from aprt.dat we can easy add as tags of area or point of Airport/
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Re: Developing Scenery from OSM

Postby martin » Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:38 pm

screwdriver wrote:I am in contact with the people from OSM about this topic, so for now please concentrate on the technical details and refrain from implementing.


Folks, just a little reminder: Over the past years!!, valuable personal ties have been developed between those who are active in developing Scenery infrastructure for FlightGear and some of the 'close-to-the-core' people at OSM as well as 'qualified' personnel at Google. Numerous questions have already been answered, many scenarios have been evaluated. Now, if everyone here is going to make their very private case with OSM or Google, the outcome will be quite counter-productive ..... sooner or later these 'institutions' will start laughing at us because we're going to look like a badly organized crowd of fools.
Note, I do in no way mean to get into people's way of exploring new ideas, neither do I want to hold anyone back from getting into contact with these institutions. BUT, it would be highly beneficial at least to _negotiate_ with others who are probably working on these topics for years, _before_ starting new approaches.

screwdriver wrote: * What impact the additional data will have on OSM and if it's strictly needed in OSM, if it can be looked up elsewhere or if we need a flighgear-run database
* The infrastructure needed to convert OSM data (including the additions specified in the discussion) into Flightgear data.


Question: How am I supposed to understand the "flighgear-run database" term ?
Note: Conversion of OSM data into a format suitable for our needs has already been performed for years, typically once or twice a month. The issue here is not the technical part, that's an easy one. Yet, there's still no solution to the license issue.

Cheers, Martin.
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Re: Developing Scenery from OSM

Postby MaverickAlex » Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:28 pm

Folks, just a little reminder: Over the past years!!, valuable personal ties have been developed between those who are active in developing Scenery infrastructure for FlightGear and some of the 'close-to-the-core' people at OSM as well as 'qualified' personnel at Google. Numerous questions have already been answered, many scenarios have been evaluated


So those valuable personal ties will come in very handy then, if those developing Scenery Infrastructure look into those questions brought up with regards the topics discussed.
If nobody knows about there are contacts within these organisations then how are we to proceed.

If we nominate one person to do the contacting on behalf of the whole community, then that would solve many issues.
We will only look foolish if there is no co-ordination should there be a need for changes or developments to the Scenery Infrastructure.

I'm sure no-one wants to waste time contacting people unnecessarily.
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Re: Developing Scenery from OSM

Postby screwdriver » Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:35 pm

martin wrote:Folks, just a little reminder: Over the past years!!, valuable personal ties have been developed between those who are active in developing Scenery infrastructure for FlightGear and some of the 'close-to-the-core' people at OSM as well as 'qualified' personnel at Google. Numerous questions have already been answered, many scenarios have been evaluated. Now, if everyone here is going to make their very private case with OSM or Google, the outcome will be quite counter-productive ..... sooner or later these 'institutions' will start laughing at us because we're going to look like a badly organized crowd of fools.
Note, I do in no way mean to get into people's way of exploring new ideas, neither do I want to hold anyone back from getting into contact with these institutions. BUT, it would be highly beneficial at least to _negotiate_ with others who are probably working on these topics for years, _before_ starting new approaches.


Ok. I wasn't aware of that.
Judging from your post and what turned out when I (finally, yes I know I should do that beforehand, sorry.) looked it up, it was you.
So how can we synchronize our efforts?
What do you suggest, should I keep in touch with OSM or would you (,or anybody else,) like to take over? (I'd be fine with leaving it to somebody else, as I'd rather concentrate on the technical stuff.)


martin wrote:Question: How am I supposed to understand the "flighgear-run database" term ?


Anything that delivers the data will do. Could actually be an apt.dat file without any lyout data, could also be an xml file, a web-service, a dbms or whatnot. That's subject to discussion. It should be something that makes sense and can be done and used. Do you have any suggestions?

martin wrote:Note: Conversion of OSM data into a format suitable for our needs has already been performed for years, typically once or twice a month. The issue here is not the technical part, that's an easy one.

That's quite interesting. The only evidence I've seen so far were the shape-files on the map-server. Again: how do I catch up with the effort here?
And are already tools which support the airport editing process, I.e. a tool that can generate an apt.dat file from a OSM map?

martin wrote:Yet, there's still no solution to the license issue.

Is there an issue with the CC-BY-SA license that OSM uses? If so, can you provide details?

A few closing notes:
I think it is way to early to decide anything and even less to implement something, all that can be done here and now is a brain-stroming, collecting ideas and gathering information.
The reason for my post was exactly what martin mentioned above, to prevent a hail of requests on the people working at OSM. It's a good thing that, you spoke up, martin.
Greetings,

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Re: Developing Scenery from OSM

Postby martin » Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:52 pm

MaverickAlex wrote:
martin wrote:Folks, just a little reminder: Over the past years!!, valuable personal ties have been developed between those who are active in developing Scenery infrastructure for FlightGear and some of the 'close-to-the-core' people at OSM as well as 'qualified' personnel at Google. Numerous questions have already been answered, many scenarios have been evaluated


So those valuable personal ties will come in very handy then, if those developing Scenery Infrastructure look into those questions brought up with regards the topics discussed.


<friendly little rant>Just as an apparent example: You probably remember that I've been repeatedly been advising against deriving information from Google imagery because of legal issues.
These warnings didn't just come out of thin air (btw, there's also a note in the "Scenery FAQ - Read This First! "), but if people proudly develop strategies every day to ignore these warnings, I can't help.
Aside from this recent example, the implications about Google and OSM have been perpetually mentioned in this forum and I don't consider it as being my "job" to drop a weekly reminder because people notoriusly forget about what has been written on this forum.</rant>

BTW, note that this is still a Web Forum and no EMail, thus, tracking ongoing discussions involves a huge lot more overhead and subsequently causes much more delay in providing responses to 'hot' topics.

MaverickAlex wrote:We will only look foolish if there is no co-ordination should there be a need for changes or developments to the Scenery Infrastructure.


Umm, would you ming re-phrasing this sentence in different words for me ?

Cheers, Martin.
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Re: Developing Scenery from OSM

Postby Hooray » Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:58 pm

martin wrote:BUT, it would be highly beneficial at least to _negotiate_ with others who are probably working on these topics for years, _before_ starting new approaches.


speaking of new approaches, have you had a chance to check out this thread (it's terragear/custom scenery related and demonstrates a new way to implement airport lighting by using properly placed 3D models)?
Please don't send support requests by PM, instead post your questions on the forum so that all users can contribute and benefit
Thanks & all the best,
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Re: Developing Scenery from OSM

Postby martin » Tue Apr 07, 2009 9:09 pm

Just a quick comment for now, more details later.

screwdriver wrote:
martin wrote:Yet, there's still no solution to the license issue.


Is there an issue with the CC-BY-SA license that OSM uses? If so, can you provide details?


Yes, it's quite clear that the current license as used by OSM doesn't permit using their data, this has been elaborated quite thoroughly in the past. There has been an ongoing discussion for approx. the past 4 years or so to change the license schema, but most of the time nothing substantially has happened.

Finally, last autumn they started to hurry about the envisioned license change. 'Surprisingly' this somehow coincidences with the "Cloudmade" company starting into commercial business and it's obvious that the "new" license will be compatible with Cloudmade's 'requirements' .... yet it's still unclear if/how the new license will match FlightGear's needs, requests have been ignored deliberately,

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Re: Developing Scenery from OSM

Postby LucMtl » Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:55 pm

Ah, that CC problem again ! :?

Well, unfortunately, this is narrowing our options a bit !

Martin, while you are there, I want to ask you what's your opinion on this. If by chance someone asks you those two questions :

1- "How can I contribute to realistic airport layouts in FlightGear and do a good job ?"

2- "How can I contribute to realistic scenery buildings in FlightGear and do a good job ?"

... what would be your answers to these questions, and more specifically what would be your "currently recommended method" for this ?

Or even better, if you had to accomplish those two tasks now, what would be your personal methods ?
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Re: Developing Scenery from OSM

Postby statto » Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:04 am

LucMtl wrote:1- "How can I contribute to realistic airport layouts in FlightGear and do a good job ?"

2- "How can I contribute to realistic scenery buildings in FlightGear and do a good job ?"


It's all about using imagery without copyright restrictions. I've been uploading buildings from the Phoenix area which are Google Earth-free because I've got access to local imagery which lets me measure the building dimensions, then I either find public domain imagery (from Wikipedia; i avoid everything with the CC license), use my own photos, or create my own textures.
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Re: Developing Scenery from OSM

Postby LucMtl » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:08 am

You know what John, I think you've got the start of an answer here.

Except that I still wonder how you get the precise positioning, coordinates, heading from free sources without breaking any copyright law near or far. But I digress (or not).

It's not about that personal access you mention to local sources data (lucky you). But you gave me a good clue with Wikipedia. Not that a wikipedia search will easily give a lot of usable images (it may, but not necessarily, and not often actually). But I knew already, and it popped into my mind, that a great lot if not all Wikipedia images, plus even a lot more free images, are regrouped into a central repository called Wikimedia. And there is a Web site to do a direct search into this repository without even having to search through the encyclopedia articles : Wikimedia Commons.

1st link :
http://commons.wikimedia.org


You find a lot of (practically ALL GPLed) good stuff in that site. Just do a search with two words : somewhere + aerial. For example I searched for "montreal aerial" and I immediately found direct satellite views of CYUL and CYMX, the two main Montreal airports. Not too bad resolution, usable in a TaxiDraw context in my view. And they are clearly said to be free of rights because coming from NASA. Good. Is it true outside the USA too ? I don't know, I hope.

Then, in the comments related to one image, the user who uploaded the image gives the web site where it comes from :

2nd link :
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov


"The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth". Wow ! Also there, a search tool. I just do a search with "montreal", and it gives me TONS of fascinating results. Now, it would be nice to know if all these are free of rights. I "presume" as usual but I don't actually know.

Looking forward for a confirmation of this.
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Re: Developing Scenery from OSM

Postby statto » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:26 am

I use USA Photo Maps. The imagery is black and white and older but I can still zoom in far enough to measure the dimensions of the building. I know the area I've been modeling well enough to know what has changed and what hasn't, which helps. The measuring tool in this program also includes angle information. I also center all of my axes or for buildings at the southwest corner of the building which means I can take my mouse, hover over the southwest corner of the building, and bam, I've got coordinates! Unfortunately, it's USA-only, and for some cities like Las Vegas it's not usable because that city has photo data from 1994. For Vegas, except Terminal 1/A/whatever they call it, everything is different now.

Also, as a disclaimer, not every single model I've made in the repository is Google Earth-free. I'm going to have to go through and figure out how I can keep these models in the database. However, all the recent ones you see in the database are GE-free.

Finally, I hate the Vancouver Canucks.
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Re: Developing Scenery from OSM

Postby LucMtl » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:42 am

statto wrote:Finally, I hate the Vancouver Canucks.


:D :lol: They were after Calgary tonight. And Phoenix beat them most of the time this year it seems. :) I didn't follow hockey closely since a long time.

I think the one thing that is missing here is a maintained list of sources of free aerial images. We should start a thread or a wiki page with the purpose of accumulating a comprehensive list of all sources of copyright free images anyone can find during their searches.

Maybe it should be a forum thread + a wiki article. First you mention it in the thread, and when it gets approved it goes to the wiki permanently.

That said, it doesn't solve the coordinates problem outside USA, so this is still a barely usable method. Outside the USA, unless there is another magical resource waiting to be discovered just over the corner of the street, I don't see precise, realistic scenery development in FlightGear as a possible thing for now.
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