The X-Plane future of Auckland…

The problem with building a mesh is that a lot of data sources can get confused when measuring the height of the ground. For example – what if you fire a laser from space to measure the height, but it hits a rooftop, or a tree and you end up with a terrain model that makes a city centre look like a bunch of undulating hills? Even worse, some atmospherics can cause issues which I’ve blogged about earlier.

Because of this, most meshes for cities have issues, including some really good ones, and the default data is pretty fugly.

If you fly airliners you might not care, but some champs in the community have been putting together high quality scenery for New Zealand, which if done right, could work very nicely with my Ortho sets. Kiwi_the_iwik has been working on Auckland City, Whenuapai and Auckland Intl Airport, and Mechanics Bay. The results are amazing.

The problem is, if this scenery is added to an inaccurate mesh it’s pretty jarring. If you have a look at the Parnell Baths in this early image you can see the swimming pool is draped ingloriously over a sloping hill:

early shot.png

The guys working on this have also put together a really nice overlay (I just use default auto-gen buildings, roads, trees etc). Using highly detailed Open Street Maps data buildings can be added that align with the real world, and kiwi (and friends?) have added in many custom made landmarks.

So this fairly average mesh needs to be improved to match the objects. AlpilotX kindly pointed me to the data he used at Koordinates to build his mesh. You can see the ghostly elevation map below. The brighter the pixel, the higher the elevation.


Me: Cool! Let’s build a new mesh with Ortho4XP and update Auckland!

Me, 2 minutes later: Oh wait, that data doesn’t align with the latitude / longitude I need to make scenery.

So unfortunately a bit of rework is required. In short, I threw in these elevation maps together and clipped out the data exactly for the tile -37+174, which aligns with X-Plane custom scenery. Here’s a close up look at Auckland:


So work is still on-going. Here’s a look at what I currently have installed:

Mechanics Bay.JPG

Mechanics Bay1.JPG

I did a quick scenic tour of Auckland:

I’m sure you’ll agree that this custom scenery is pretty awesome. And when released will make flying around New Zealand very nice.

Some of Kiwi’s work is released:

Auckland Intl Airport

The thread on the rest: ‘New Zealand Scenery’ 

Categories: Flight Simulation

Tags: , , , ,

4 replies

  1. Absolutely OUTSTANDING work. I’ve had to do the same thing with some of my favourite areas and merging high detail lidar data with the regular DEM data, clipping to the lat/long extents and processing with O4XP. Really great to see you going that extra mile and it will make something that is already incredible to incredibly outstanding!

  2. Thanks for all your work on this. One question though – is there a way I can tell what revision I already have installed of your files? So I don’t double download.

    • After you’ve broken them out of the zip files, not really. The North Island was done in December 2017, and the South Island is very recent.

      This new mesh is a small patch which is unreleased right now.

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