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Sector File Creater Program


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I'm creating an application to be able to create sector files What sort of ideas do you guys have?

 

I would like to have a way to import data from, and I'm not sure what the best option would be, since this data is no longer free. Would being able to place objects and draw shapes on the form be beneficial?

 

What sort of tools for creating/editing a sector file would be helpful>

Andrew Miller

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Being able to define a center point, radius, starting angle and ending angle to draw an arc would be useful for drawing cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B/C/D airspace boundaries. Being able to specify the center of the arc as a lat/lon pair or a VOR or Airport would be extra helpful.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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Specifiying ground layouts easily would really help. Drawing taxiways and marking stands etc. And something I'd like is also if it's possible to specify things like gr[Mod - Happy Thoughts] and buildings. That way you can make gnd files wich will look ggreat (green between taxiways, grey buildings, black surrondings etc).

Johan Grauers

Event Coordinator - vACC Scandinavia

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Being able to define a center point, radius, starting angle and ending angle to draw an arc would be useful for drawing cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B/C/D airspace boundaries. Being able to specify the center of the arc as a lat/lon pair or a VOR or Airport would be extra helpful.

 

Shapes is definitely something that will be created, this is one of the limitations of the file format without using a program to do this. Great idea around the lat/long pair.

 

I plan to have every object selectable, and the coordinates can be manually changed via right clicking on the object and going to the properties window. New objects can be placed by simply selecting what type of object you want(fix, vor, etc) and clicking on the map.

 

In order to save your progress on the file, I'm going to have to save as another file format, then be able to "export" as a .sct2 file when finished. This is so the properties of the shapes and settings are maintained.

 

Also, this will be a long project. I have no DirectX experience, so it is a learning experience.

Andrew Miller

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I plan to have every object selectable, and the coordinates can be manually changed via right clicking on the object and going to the properties window.

 

That's an OK idea, but try to think about the user and not make it a typical Windows program. In other words don't make right-clicking and selecting properties the only way to edit the location. It's fine for one point, but when you've got 200 points to edit, people will be cursing your name.

 

Instead, perhaps create a floating "command-window" where the user could type the lat/long in some shorthand and then apply it.

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Another idea would be to create a sector file preprocessor which can read a meta sector file language and convert it into a valid sector file format.

 

And these high level meta language would include fancy stuff like airspaces, arcs, circles, holdings etc. what the the sector file format doesnt know.

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Another idea would be to create a sector file preprocessor which can read a meta sector file language and convert it into a valid sector file format.

 

And these high level meta language would include fancy stuff like airspaces, arcs, circles, holdings etc. what the the sector file format doesnt know.

What is this meta language? I'm looking for a method to import some data, but I am not sure what people would have access to.

Andrew Miller

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I'm fairly certain that the drawing of gr[Mod - Happy Thoughts] and whatnot isn't possible in VRC/ASRC files, and only in Euroscope.... could be wrong though.

Take a look at these screens then

smrbusy1.png

creds to Callum McLoughlin

essagnd.jpg

Creds to Martin Loxbo (even though I could have taken that one myself since I use that file while controlling ESSA )

Johan Grauers

Event Coordinator - vACC Scandinavia

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You just proved my point.... only in Euroscope...

 

I created the .sct2 extensions for VRC, and Gergely implemented them in Euroscope, along with his own extensions. Here are some examples in VRC:

 

http://www.metacraft.com/VRC/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2138

http://www.metacraft.com/VRC/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2160

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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Gotcha, thank you. However, as far as gr[Mod - Happy Thoughts] and whatnot goes, I think that's kind of pointless. I mean, does it really matter if it's gr[Mod - Happy Thoughts] or a huge iron barrier in between taxiways? You're not taxiing them there anyways.

Julian Hoffman

ZAN ARTCC - DATM

VATSIM Hit Squad Member

VATSIM Network Supervisor

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The most useful tool that GNDMaker http://gndmaker.homelinux.net/ (with which I designed few sectors) used to have/has was the ability to slew with MSFS around the scenery at top view and by using the red center cross with each joystick keypress generate a point of a polyline or an individual point at the cross (MSFS) location. This allowed for accurate scenery depiction.

 

Also something else useful: ability to reduce (round out) the coastline points from files extracted by coastline extractor http://rimmer.ngdc.noaa.gov/

I remember that when I made the sector for Greece with the dozens of islands the 1:5,000,000 was too decluttered for reality but the next available of 1:2,000,000 too heavy. A friend managed to reduce some thousands of points without affecting the overall image.

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Hellenic vACC | Olympic Air Virtual

Europe Region Director 2001-2011

Pilot: P5 | ATC: C3

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello!

 

For the graphical airport-level stuff, like making the airport layouts, I wonder if it wouldn't be better to just take the data the X-Plane uses?

 

X-Plane maintains a site that provides updated airport & navigational data. One of my side projects is to make a tool that extracts the navigational data (fixes, VORs, NDBs, and airways) into sector-file format, but there is one area that I can not do: I don't have the skills needed to convert the airport layout data.

 

X-Plane's airport data is kept in a single, already-docomeented, text file. The airport data file contains everything about the airport that is no more than a few feet off of the ground. In other words, if you take an airport, remove the aircraft, vehicles, and buildings, what you have left is what is in X-Plane's airport data file. There are a few things we wouldn't be able to use (like taxi signs, for example), but everything else, from the airport layout to the taxiway edge lighting and centerlines, could be converted into sector file format.

 

The reason I'm suggesting this is, not just because it means your sector file would match X-Plane scenery, it also means that you'll be able to use an already-existing tool to maintain the airport layouts. X-Plane has a companion tool called World Editor, which gives you a graphic interface for making airport layouts. You can make your airport layout in World Editor (or, more likely, enhance the existing airport layout), save the results, and run the airport data file through a converter.

 

Unfortunately, the conversion is not as easy as it sounds. For example, every curve is stored as a series of Bézier curve control points. The conversion program would have to read the data and create a series of small line segments to create the actual curve. That, and other graphic stuff, is way out of my area.

A. Karl Kornel - vZID C1, FE, and Mentor

Smoke Bomb! POOF

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Hello!

 

For the graphical airport-level stuff, like making the airport layouts, I wonder if it wouldn't be better to just take the data the X-Plane uses?

 

X-Plane maintains a site that provides updated airport & navigational data. One of my side projects is to make a tool that extracts the navigational data (fixes, VORs, NDBs, and airways) into sector-file format, but there is one area that I can not do: I don't have the skills needed to convert the airport layout data.

 

X-Plane's airport data is kept in a single, already-docomeented, text file. The airport data file contains everything about the airport that is no more than a few feet off of the ground. In other words, if you take an airport, remove the aircraft, vehicles, and buildings, what you have left is what is in X-Plane's airport data file. There are a few things we wouldn't be able to use (like taxi signs, for example), but everything else, from the airport layout to the taxiway edge lighting and centerlines, could be converted into sector file format.

 

The reason I'm suggesting this is, not just because it means your sector file would match X-Plane scenery, it also means that you'll be able to use an already-existing tool to maintain the airport layouts. X-Plane has a companion tool called World Editor, which gives you a graphic interface for making airport layouts. You can make your airport layout in World Editor (or, more likely, enhance the existing airport layout), save the results, and run the airport data file through a converter.

 

Unfortunately, the conversion is not as easy as it sounds. For example, every curve is stored as a series of Bézier curve control points. The conversion program would have to read the data and create a series of small line segments to create the actual curve. That, and other graphic stuff, is way out of my area.

 

Andrew, please take heed to this. To be able to use this data would be amazing.

Nicholas Taylor

vZAU INS

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I am still in the very early stages and haven't really accomplished much successful code. I am an X-Plane user myself so I thought of either writing a plugin to follow your movements, or pull the data stored in the simulator.

 

I plan on having a way to draw shapes automatically, without having to draw hundreds of lines. Making a circle now in the .sct format is not easy without scripting.

 

Things have slowed down at work so I am just getting back at this and will start diving into it.

Andrew Miller

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So far, I have opened the sector file and loaded and displayed the VORs on the screen. I am using the QT toolkit, meaning that this application will be opensource, and will execute on all 3 platforms.

 

I'm thinking the best way to have the most recent data is to do an AIRAC import, but I'm not sure of the best way to go about this. Should I contact Navigraph to determine if they want to add another format for my application, or should I go off of one that already exists?

Andrew Miller

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