Notice The ZLA Forums are discontinued and kept in a locked state for archival purposes. New accounts, posts, and replies cannot be created, but you may sign into your existing account if you wish.
User avatar
Ryan Tashma
Posts: 143
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:14 pm
Location: Kailua, HI (5NM SSE of PHNG)

Freakin' Sweet! Moving Sectional Maps!

Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:40 pm

Please excuse my excitement, but I just discovered what I think has got to be one of the coolest FS add-ons for VFR flying: FSWidgets' GMap, an add-on that connects to FS to give you an in-cockpit moving map display.

Pros:
- Combined with decent scenery, provides a true visual flying experience.
- Available for FS9, FSX, and XP (PC only, though)
- Displays any of the standard Google maps (terrain, satellite, roads, or hybrid satellite-roads)
- Can load any map image you can think of (sectionals, terminal charts, approach plates, HELICOPTER ROUTE CHARTS, etc.)
- Oh yeah, it's free!

The cons:
- On my second rate FS computer, Google terrain maps are fine, but sectional charts have to be uber-compressed to avoid major jerkiness.
- I've only tested in FS9, but the free version isn't viewable in full screen mode. The only way to see it in full screen is to use it as a module in FSWidgets' payware Electronic Flight Bag (EFB), which will run you $25. (But this might be worth it, because of some other cool features, like an automated, audio checklist manager. Jury's still out.)
- FSWidgets tries to get you to buy US sectionals and terminal chart for $15 per bundle. You can use the free FAA downloads and calibrate them yourself using data provided on the FAA's DPP site.
Ryan "RT" Tashma
S-2!!! / ZLA I-11 rated
"Approach, what's the tower?"
"That's a big tall building with glass all around it, but that's not important right now."

Image

User avatar
Tom Solon
FAB Member
Posts: 3309
Joined: Sun Aug 20, 2006 8:25 pm
Location: KNYC

Re: Freakin' Sweet! Moving Sectional Maps!

Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:59 pm

Um... wow. :shock:

That is awesome. And 25 clams is definitely worth it. Nice find.

User avatar
Colin Levy
Posts: 384
Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2006 8:26 am
VATSIM CID: 976130
Location: Burlington, KY

Re: Freakin' Sweet! Moving Sectional Maps!

Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:26 pm

I agree. Looks good. Tried it out on my X-Plane. Though if you don't have the sectional zoomed way in, it really lags out on the moving map and when you move it around.
Colin Levy
[email protected]
Staff Instructor

There are old pilots and there are bold pilots. However, there are no old, bold pilots

User avatar
Ryan Tashma
Posts: 143
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:14 pm
Location: Kailua, HI (5NM SSE of PHNG)

Re: Freakin' Sweet! Moving Sectional Maps!

Sun Feb 27, 2011 3:02 pm

(I know this is getting beyond the scope of just VFR flying, but...) I've done some more testing w/ GMap and found that it works very well for approach plates, even on my #2 (slow) machine. I tested it out on an ILS approach w/ a DME arc (PHNY ILS 03). It showed me in real time just how awesome I am at flying DME arcs. 8)

I'm able to shrink the plates down to about 100-300kb and I wrote up an Excel spreadsheet to calculate the calibration. If anyone's interested, I can share the excel file and/or plates that I convert.
Ryan "RT" Tashma
S-2!!! / ZLA I-11 rated
"Approach, what's the tower?"
"That's a big tall building with glass all around it, but that's not important right now."

Image

User avatar
Colin Levy
Posts: 384
Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2006 8:26 am
VATSIM CID: 976130
Location: Burlington, KY

Re: Freakin' Sweet! Moving Sectional Maps!

Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:27 pm

Ryan, I am very confused on the calibrating of the charts. I would be very interested in what you have gotten.
Colin Levy
[email protected]
Staff Instructor

There are old pilots and there are bold pilots. However, there are no old, bold pilots

User avatar
Ryan Tashma
Posts: 143
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:14 pm
Location: Kailua, HI (5NM SSE of PHNG)

Re: Freakin' Sweet! Moving Sectional Maps!

Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:34 am

How to Calibrate a Map.

1. Make sure the FSWChartManager application is located in your charts_gmap directory.
2. Open FSWChartManager and navigate to your chart.
3. Click Chart Coordinates.
4. Enter the boundaries of the chart (degrees.decimal degrees format). These are the edges that GMap squeezes your chart into, so if there are borders around your chart, you need to account for that.
5. Enter the lat/lon of a prominent position on the chart as the center. (Not really important what you choose.)
6. Click Save.
7. To test your handiwork, click Open Google Map, then Load.

Finding the boundaries can be really easy or pretty tricky. For sectional or terminal area charts downloaded from the FAA, you can get the boundaries from the HTML file packed with the chart. Just look for the Bounding_Coordinates block. For charts without provided data, you'll have to calculate this yourself.

I have a spreadsheet to do this calculation. The basic process is to use the lat/lon and x,y coordinates of a few known positions on the chart to calculate the amount of latitude represented by each y pixel and the amount of longitude represented by each x pixel. Once you have that, you can apply those values to the known positions to figure out the lat & lons of the chart image edges.
Ryan "RT" Tashma
S-2!!! / ZLA I-11 rated
"Approach, what's the tower?"
"That's a big tall building with glass all around it, but that's not important right now."

Image

Return to “ZLA VFR Flying Club”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests