Frequently Asked Questions
[Self made translation, do not hesitate to send corrections !]
What is the zoom value specified?
The higher is the zoom value, higher is the resolution, but greater is the files size.
At each higher level of zoom, resolution is multiplied by 2 and the file size by 4.
- For a zoom 15 (approx 4.8 m / pixel), each tile fills about 400 to 600 MB
- For a zoom 16 (approx 2.4 m / pixel), each tile fills about 1.8 GB
- For a zoom 17 (approx 1.2 m / pixel), each tile fills between 7 and 8 GB
- For a zoom 18 (approx 60 cm / pixel), a full tile would fill about 32 GB
A tile is a 1° longitude x 1° latitude area, so a square km surface varies its latitude about 111 km x 111 km at the equator, about 78 x 111 km at 45° latitude
Note: the tiles size including a sea part is even smaller than the water area is important.
Why these files was called XOverlay_xxx, then XTerrain_xxx and are now zPhotoXP_xxx?
Because we realized that the term "overlay" was a misnomer and confusing.
Indeed, the files "overlays" contain objects that populate the tile surface, and forest areas. On the other side, "terrain" files contain informations about the mesh (terrain), vegetation type, ground texture files, rivers and seas, etc. ...
The files that place the photorealistic textures are really terrains.
They were temporarily renamed XTerrain, but we realized that the name "X-Terrain" is the trade name of an existing product. The name finally choosen was "Zone Photo" and the old "XOverlays" site becomes " Zone Photo site for X-Plane ".
See also Usage
I start with X-Plane, I know nothing!
The wiki Wik'X-Plane is a good free source of information, but it is only in french !
Which versions of X-Plane these scenes work?
These sceneries are designed to work ONLY with X-Plane 9.20 and above. This allows to benefit from texture paging technics, optimizing greatly operation with this type of scenes.
How to unarchive the file I downloaded?
Most of the archiving/compression utilities will work. However, I recommend 7Zip, which is free and available for Windows, Linux and MAC. The large majority of our archives were packed with it. Some that were problematic on Mac were redone with IZArc (Windows only).
I downloaded a tile for hours, but it does not want to unpack. What to do?
Hélas, il arrive qu'un téléchargement soit corrompu. Dans ce cas, une seule possibilité, il faut recommencer à nouveau.
Does the use of these zone photos will slow X-Plane?
Yes, but ... everything is relative!
Heavy textures impact has two levels:
- The X-Plane loading will be longer. We recommend that you do not leave all your scenes in your X-Plane file "Custom Scenery", but keep only the ones you will use. You can move the unnecessary scenes to your flight in a new X-Plane folder called "Custom Scenery inactive" : moving files between these two folders of the same hard disk is almost instantaneous.
- The slowdown in flight greatly depends on the graphics card memory. With the X-Plane 'standard' cards, all overflown areas reuse a lot of times small identical base textures. Their volume can remain quite limited. With photorealistic textures, there are not small picture repetitions, but one huge image in which X-Plane extracts the visible surface.
Until all textures are used in the video card memory (the ground, but also the of the cockpit texture, buildings facades, etc..), they are loaded once and reused without overload processor.
If they are not all in the video card memory, the processor must recharge the missing textures for each frame. With their volume, it is extremely time-consuming and the framerate collapses.
You can find more information about this setting in the Wik'X-Plane (in french).
Why the Zones Photo website ?
This site is primarily a place of selfless sharing of a community service volunteer.
While everyone can make it at home, the tile creation require a bit of technique and a lot of time. We found smarter to pool our efforts to create different areas rather than recreate the same tile many multiple times. Incidentally, the hosting of finished tiles can avoid multiple requests to the servers of providers of images that are requested with each new creation.
The Zones Photo website is it legal ?
The image providers have developed texts license for the use of their services that the site Photo Zone is not intended to infringe. These texts were consulted carefully and interpreted in an objective and collaborative in our team. It was found that the existence of a site like Zones Photo was tolerated in a strictly non-commercial.
The authors of these texts was asked to clarify unclear or contradictory passages in our eyes. When we got the answers, the authors have only re-quote the words that question without asking us better explain the meaning or bring refusal. We believe they had no objection if known to the interpretation we have made.
Whom should I thank?
First, anyone who spent time building and editing tiles. It is a tedious job if you want to get an homogeneous and enjoyable effect. Do not forget the picture providers who accept or tolerate such use, and Robert2 who has made G2xpl, without whom these achievements would not have been possible.
Then David_dtc who created and hosted the original website, all who patiently re-upload all files, Beber who designed the so cute logo with its banner, and all who are mentionned in the news, over the additions. You can find them all on the French forum of X-Plane. And also the team of the Spanish forum who built and hosts the spanish and Portugal tiles.
I would also like to thank Sally P. that offered a hosting space on which we could temporarily upload all the files, which was well annoyed by the overload generated by our maps (3500 GB downloaded in February 2010!), and was busy in addition to its workload, to manage the transfer of all files on the independent space that we use today, which still took almost 3 days! Sally, thank you VERY MUCH.
And finally Pascal, your servant, which currently assume the cohesion of the whole site and the financing of hosting.