Custom Georeferenced Charts (MBTiles)

To create custom georeferenced maps in FlightSim Planner you have three options:

  1. Use MapChruncher and FSP-Server-V2
    This is the option described below in this tutorial
  2. Use QGIS and the QTiles plugin
    Check QGIS and QTiles websites, or one of these tutorials:
    tutorial 1

    tutorial 2
    tutorial 3
    tutorial 4   
  3. Use mapTiler
    There is a free option that you can use, but due to the watermark and limited zoomrange we recommend using the paid option. It will give you high quality overlays and has the ability to directly use pdf format.

This tutorial describes the “Map Chruncher” option. This will seem a bit overwelming at first, but if you’ve done it a couple of time you’ll see its not that hard to do and can be done fairly quickly.

  1. Install Map Chruncher.
  2. If you do not have Photoshop or something  alike install GIMP or any other alternative phote editing software package.
  3. Download the desired airport map from you local AIP source.
  4. Open the (usually) PDF format map in GIMP (Import with at lease 200 dpi or more if possible).
  5. Crop the image down to the desired  part you want to use.
    1. In GIMP select the part you want to use.
    2. Select “Image”, “Crop to Selection”.
    3. Select “File”, “Export as”.
    4. Select “PNG image” as export file type.
    5. Give it a name. (Replace the extention to png !!).
    6. Click “Export”.
    7. New window opens.
    8. Deselect “Save color values from transparent pixels”.
    9. Leave all the other option in its default.
    10. Click “Export”.
  6. Save the result as an PNG (No transparency!).
  7. Start MapChruncher (make sure you are connected to the internet for the reference (Bing) map to load).
  8. In MapChruncher select “File”, “New Mashup”.
  9. Go to “File”, “Add Source Map” and find the png map extract file you’ve created in step 5.
  10. Click “Open”.
  11. A new “Layer” with the selected source map is added. Within FlightSim Planner you activate the overlay per layer. This layername will be visible in the list of maps in FlightSim Planner.
  12. So give the new layer a meaningfull name like the name and the sign of the airport. You  may add more maps to a layer but the parts in which they overlap only the top one will show in the result. So for a new airport, always create a new layer.
  13. Select the map within the layer you want to reference.
  14. Zoom in and pan to the location on the bing on the right to find the region the left map is located in.
  15. Under the “View” window you can choose another map type for better referencing. I Suggest you use the “Roads” view.
  16. Now comes the tricky part. you’ll see a crosshair overlaying both maps. Now search for locations, like intersections or other clear landmarks.  For a good referenced map you need at lease 4 point of equal location. Other rule is to have a good distance between these four points. Preferably they lay near the four corners of the source (left) map.
  17. When the crosshair of both maps is overhead the same location, push the  “Add” button to add the point to the list of corresponding points. A marker with the point_id, first is 0 will appear on both maps.
  18. Do this for the next three point.
  19. If you select a point in the “corresponding” list you may update this by moving one or both maps and click “Update”
  20. If your ready placing the point you can click the “Lock” button at the bottom-left. This will lock the two maps to getter and will give you the ability to check you referencing work. This should be fairly accurate although the source image is not processed yet. So any small irracularities could be visible. If you are referencing an airport map a good place to start checking is on both ends of the runway. They should line up.
  21. If you are satisfied you can push the “Render” button.
  22. The render window will appear. Select “Render to file” and select an appropriate output folder.
  23. Push the “Start” button to start rendering
  24. Depending on the size of your map this can take up to 2 minutes to finish. A Messagebox “Render completed successfully” will appear which you can dismiss.
  25. At the bottom right you’ll see two links. Push the link “Preview rendered result”.
    1. The “View results in browser” does not work because of the age of the software and the changes made in modern browsers. Do not use it!.
  26. The buildin browser will open with your referenced map in the middle. Sometimes, if you have more layers you have to pan and zoom a bit to get to the map you’ve just referenced.
    1. If you want to use the “File”, “”Launch Mashup browser” you have to select “Mashup Layers”, “Add Layer”. Now select the “MapChruncherMetadata.xml” file which is in the root of the “output” folder you’ve chosen in step 22.
  27. Select “File”, “Save Mashup as” to save your work.
  28. Add the next map by adding a new layer and follow the process from step 9. Everytime you’ve added a new map hit “Render”. It will only render the changes you’ve made. When your ready follow the steps below to make them available in the Flightsim Planner app.

Make sure the FSP-Server-V2 (V2.0.0.3) is installed and running. Open the window, if necessary by double click the icon in the windows notification area. Select the “Read Mapchruncher Metadata File” item from the “File” menu.
When the import is ready the “Export to MBTiles” option becomes available. Selecting this menu item will show a list of maps imported from mapchruncher. Select a map and click “Save”. The folder selected will be the correct one for the app to be able to download the file. You may alter this folder by selecting “Set Local Path” item from the file menu. After restarting the server this folder will become the one where the app will download the mbtiles files from.

Now open the app and goto the “Charts” tab in the “Map layers Setup” window by tabbing the button with this icon. On the left-top of this window is a button called “refresh Server”. If you push this the list of charts will be synchonized with the charts on your local pc. a message will appear with the ammount of charts found.

Find your chart in the list and push the “download” button on the left of your selection. After the chart is downloaded the checkbox will turn green and can be used to show or remove the chart.