MyFsLocator 1.3 - Locate cities, mountains and lakes (FS2004, FS9)

PLEASE NOTE

MyFsLocator is not updated any more!

Its functions were moved to and were enhanced in MyFsTools, freely available at http://www.elbiah.de/flusi/

Description

MyFsLocator is an external program for Flight Simulator 2004 which lists nearby cities, mountains and lakes or guides you to a wanted place.

MyFsLocator only comes with some small example databases (some cities and mountains per country, Hawaii and Gibraltar in detail) but you can easily add additional areas of the world (see "Database import" below for details).

Download

Most current versions of MyFsLocator and example databases can be found at:

http://www.elbiah.de/flusi/

Setup

  1. Copy enclosed files to any folder you want, MyFsLocator itself does not require any special setup.
     
  2. Copy enclosed file "FDSConnection.dll" into the "Modules" folder of Flight Simulator - this file is used to "talk" to Flight Simulator 2004 (see "Credits" below for details). If there is already a file with this name, it's suggested not to overwrite the existing one as MyFsLocatorr should work with older/newer versions as well.

Usage

General usage

Whenever you want to use MyFsLocator, you have to start it, either manually or by adding an appropriate menu item in Flight Simulator (can for example be added with MyFsMenu from http://www.elbiah.de/flusi/).

Window

Filter

If you enter some text, MyFsLocator will only show places which contain the given text in their name. It may for example be used to locate places that are currently too far away to be contained in the list.

Setup

If you mark this checkbox, the upper part of the screen expands to access all other items.

Refresh every ... ms

If checked, the list is updated in the given interval based on aircraft's current position and heading.

Forward angle ...

If a value below 180 is given, the list will only contain items that are located within the given number of degrees to the left or to the right of aircraft's current heading.

Item/picture height ... pixel

This value gives the height of the items in the list. Just increase it to get a larger graphic or reduce it to see more items in the list.

Max. no. of items to list

This value gives the number of most nearest items to be listed.

Window: Stay on top

If marked, the MyFsLocator window will always stay on top of other windows.

List

All items in the list are shown with an arrow which points to it - just follow the arrow to get there.

First line of text shows the name of the location.

Second line shows the distance (nautical miles and kilometers), the course towards location (magnetic heading) and a comment (e. g. country or type of location).

If you double-click a location in the list, that location is shown in detail in the upper part of the window:

If the location is an airport with runway information[*], you can additionally mark one of the listed runways to get an additional, smaller arrow in the graphic showing the relative direction of the runway.

[*] Airports and runways of FS- 2004 are available as separate downloads.

Database import

Overview

Covering the whole world would require a really huge database, so there are only some examples included or are available as separate downloads.

To add the countries you are interested in, you have to download raw data for this country and convert it to MyFsLocator's data format.

Download raw data

There are two sources of raw data that are directly supported by MyFsLocator which together cover the whole world:

NGA-GNS (world except U.S.)

The "National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGS)" provides the "GEOnet Names Server (GNS)" that covers all (?) countries of the world except U.S. states:

http://earth-info.nga.mil/gns/html/cntry_files.html

Just download the wanted country files and unzip them.

USGS-GNIS (U.S.)

The "U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)" provides the "Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)" that covers all U.S. states:

http://geonames.usgs.gov/stategaz/index.html

Please note that only the files below "Delimited Format Files using pipe symbol" are supported, i. e. the files ending with "_deci". The files below "Columnar Format Files" are NOT supported!

Just download the wanted state files and (if you have chosen the .zip version) unzip them.

Convert to MyFsLocator format

The raw data files from above sources are text files with extension ".txt". Just copy these files to the folder where "MyFsLocator.exe" and "ConvertToGeo.exe" are stored.

Then start "ConvertToGeo.exe" (just double-click it in explorer windows) and wait for it to finish, that's all.

Notes:

Conversion details

By default, ConvertToGeo only converts a subset of contained data to keep the number of data files and locations small. In most cases there are much more detailed items in the raw files that you might be interested in, though it is not very helpful for flying in FS to list details such as single buildings.

Another problem is, that I didn't know for sure what some items in the raw data files are, so I just added those which looked promising for my own, well known local area. I may have missed some significant land marks this way, though I've added a few that I got aware of (e. g. craters).

Every item in the raw files has an (undocumented) type designator that describes what the item is. Most of these designators are recognizable abbreviations like "MTN" for "mountain" or "LK" for "lake".

The items to be converted are defined in files "ConvertNgaToGeo.ini" for NGA-GNS data and "ConvertUsgsToGeo.ini" for USGS-GNIS data. These files are automatically created with default settings, but after that you can modify these files and repeat conversion with your modifications.

If you open these files with an editor, you will see lines that look like:

    <designator>=<type>,<description>

"<designator>" is the classification as contained in the raw data files, "<type>" and "<description>" are the values which ConvertToGeo uses to convert such items.

Supported "<type>" values are:

0 = ignore such items
4 = populated place (city, town, village)
5 = hypsographic location (mountain, hill, valley)
6 = hydrographic location (lake, reservoir)
7 = spot feature (airport, tower, building).

"<description>" is a short description for the item to be shown in MyFsLocator.

Database files

Data files (db-*.geo)

The database files used by MyFsLocator are plain text files with the pattern "db-*.geo". Whenever the program is started, it will look for and use files with this extension in the folder containing the ".exe" file.

Data lines in such a ".geo" file start with the uppercase letter "P", all other lines are in fact ignored, though character "#" is intended to mark comments.

Each data line contains 6 values separated by a "|" character (ASCII-124):

  1. "P" (="point")
     
  2. Type of point
    "4"=populated places (city, town, village)
    "5"=hypsographic (hill, mountain, valley)
    "6"=hydrographic (lake, reservoir)
    "7"=spot feature (airport, tower, building)
     
  3. Name of point
    Important points in an area (e. g. larger cities) may be marked with a leading "*" charactor.
    A description may be appended with "&d=".
     
  4. Longitude
    Decimal value multiplied by 1000000 (1 million)
    "East" values have to be given positive, "West" values negative.
     
  5. Latitude
    Decimal value multiplied by 1000000 (1 million)
    "North" values have to be given positive, "South" values negative.
     
  6. Altitude in meters, "0" if unknown.
     

Examples

# 4=city, name=Berlin (*="large"), lon=E 13,400000, lat=N 52,516700, alt=(0=unknown)
P|4|*Berlin&d=DE-BE-B|13400000|52516700|0

# 5=hill, name=Matterhorn, lon=E 7,658680, lat=N 45,976400, alt=4477m
P|5|Matterhorn&d=CH|7658680|45976400|4477

Index file (db-index.ini)

The index file "db-index.ini" contains longitude and latitude ranges of every "db-*.geo" data file together with a time stamp of every file.

Like the scenery database of FS, this file is updated automatically whenever MyFsLocator is started, so there is no need to bother with it.

Credits

The communication between MyFsLocator and Flight Simulator is done with FDSConnect by Michael DeFeyter, copyright by "Flight Deck Software" (http://www.flightdecksoftware.com/).

Changes

Vr. 1.3

Vr. 1.2

Vr. 1.1

Vr. 1.0

Copyright (c) 2004 by Juergen Haible, www.elbiah.de