Friday, July 31, 2009

Measure distance on Google Maps

Again lacking a proper GPS gadget and having jogging as one of the favorite activities I needed some way to measure the distances I jogged on.
I found this nice utility which lets you superimpose a track over Google maps and tells you the total distance in various measure units.

I also used it for measuring the dimension of buildings while working on creating 3d Scenery for Flight simulator.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Navigating in the city

As I managed to get lost a couple of times trying to find not so well known places in my city, I decided it's time to find some solutions. As the only thing I carry around all the time is my mobile phone (without GPS) I tried to find a good mapping application to use.

The ones I chose were Google Mobile Maps and Bing Maps

I'm particularly happy with the geolocation based on cell tower that Google's application provides, which manages to show pretty well my location in the city without the need for a GPS receiver.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pilot in command 2009 competition - Round trip europe

Round-trip Europe is second Flight Simulator on-line race host by Finnish Virtual Aviator’s Association, that will be held online on both IVAO and Vatsim networks during 5-8 August 2009.
The organizers promise a interesting competition and some nice prizes, the best pilot will get the chance to spend a weekend in Helsinki and visit a flight simulator in the real Finnair flight training center.

More details on the competitions website.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Multiple monitor setup FSX

It had been a while since I posted something on this blog, but today I decided to write about a topic that kept me busy on the past couple of weeks.
I was trying to advise around the issue of spanning FSX views over multiple projectors for a full size flight simulator project. Here are a couple of my findings for others to benefit.

1) How to create multiple views in FSX

To create multiple views start FSX in window mode (ALT+ENTER if you are already in full screen). If you did not played around with teh default controls you can open a new view by pressing the [ key (you can close it with ]). You will notice a square with the new created view. After this has been done you can undock the view to be able to move it around the screens and resize. To do that right click on the window and choose Undock. This will allow you to drag and resize the window to the new monitor/projector. While having this window in focus it will behave like the main FSX window so all controls will work (e.g. Pan, look around, move the eyepoint) so you can adjust it to show the right view.
To undock a new window just follow the above steps while having main window in focus (press [, right click, undock....). You can open as many windows as you like, just watch out on the framerate. Same applies to instrument panels, which can be undocked and moved as well.

2) How to connect multiple projectors/monitors to a single computer.
Here there are some options:

If you wish to connect only two monitors, most video cards have already a dual output(VGA+DVI) just make sure you have the right cables and monitors.

With three monitors the things become a bit more complicated:
You need either to add two separate video cards (not SLI) and connect two monitors to one and the third to the second. This might not work on some systems/OS, also Mother board needs to be suited to fit two video cards same time.


You will use Triple Head 2 Go (or a similar hardware).

Triple head 2 go creates a huge extended desktop on which you can drag and size the windows to have either a continous image or diffrent (e.g front left+ front right and left side).

3) How to save the windows to be able to start nextime on the right screens.

From what I saw saving the situation in windowed mode will also save the position of each windows on the diffrent monitor. Next time you just need to load the flight and windows will be exactly where they should be. Unfortunately on Windows vista this didn't hapeend for me. As far as I understood Microsoft released a hotfix for this. For fine tuing you can edit manualy the situation file (ususaly in Documents/FlightSimulator X Files) to change sizes or get rid of unwanted windows.

4) How do I do that full screen
Steps above work as well in Full screen. After positioning the windows in windowed mode press ALT+ENTER to go Full screen. If all goes well, windows should also go full screen in the right position, otherwise you will need to manually move/resize them again.

Important note: When pressing ALT+ENTER the active window will fill the entire screen of your main monitor and will become unmovable. If this is a showstoper I recommend creating a top down view (less frame-rate impact) to fill the entire screen and position the needed windows over it. I understood it can be manually adjusted afterwards from the situation file to be made smaller.

If anyone has more experiences with a simialr setup please feel free to comment. I will edit the post and update it as necessary.