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TerraGear GUI

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Revision as of 15:32, 4 April 2011 by Gijs (Talk | contribs) (Small update)

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TerraGear GUI
Developed by Gijs de Rooy (original by Alex Park)
Initial release March 24, 2009 (original)
Written in C++ (Qt)
OS Windows (Linux, Mac OS X)

The GUI tool for TerraGear allows people to create scenery for FlightGear without using commandlines.

Using the GUI

The GUI exist of several tabs. For normal scenery creation, all the tabs should be gone through in the order they are arranged.


  1. Set the TerraGear directory, in which you'll find ogr-decode, fgfs-construct etc. TerraGear must be downloaded/build seperatly from the GUI!
  2. Set the project's directory. In this directory, all project related stuff will be stored throughout the process. You best choose an empty directory specific to your project.
  3. Set your FlightGear's root ($FG_ROOT). This is used to retrieve the list of available terrain materials.

HGT chop

This will convert the .hgt.zip files you have downloaded earlier on and converts them into a form that TerraGear can read.


What is scenery without airport in a flight simulator? If your tile does not contain any airports, you can skip this part and continue with ogr-decode.

First create the data/Airports/ directory. Then locate FlightGears apt.dat.gz file, which is usually in $FG ROOT/Airports/ in the just created directory. Unpack the file before you continue.

Use the button to browse to the (unpacked) .dat file. If you only want to create the scenery for a specific airport you can enter the ICAO name into the relevant field. If you do not enter any information in any of the boxes, the tool will run through the entire apt.dat file, which can take a long time.

OGR Decode

Now we need to decode the shapefiles into TerraGear format, which we do with OGR Decode. After clicking the "Retrieve shapefiles" button, the left list will be populated with the shapefiles from your project's data directory. On the right list you'll add the materials, per shapefile. Each single shapefile on the left, should have a material assigned on the right. By dragging materials up&down, you can finetune the material assignments.

Warning: *_landmass MUST be mapped onto the material Default.

You can delete shapefiles and materials from the lists by double-clicking on them. A single click on a material will allow you to edit it; to create custom materials that are not (yet) in materials.xml (do note that FlightGear will apply the default material to those landclasses, untill you create the material in materials.xml!).

FGFS Construct

The fgfs-construct tool brings all your gathered data together, throws it in a washing machine and spits it out the otherside in format ready for use with FlightGear. Click the "Update list" button to populate the field with all decodes shapefiles. In the list you select all types that you'd like to include in your scenery.

Then set the center of the to-be-created scenery area; and the radius, all in degrees.

After clicking the "Generate scenery" button, it may take a long time for TerraGear to finish. Depending on the size of the area you are creating the scenery for and the level of detail in your shapefiles. Simple and small sceneries will take a couple of minutes, where larger, more detailed areas can take over an hour! So trying new things on small areas first will save you a lot of time.

The folders and files in your project's output/ directory are ready to use as scenery. You can set the scenery path of FlightGear to this directory to check if the scenery is generated correctly.

GUI development

The GUI is currently undergoing a complete rebuild and re-written in Qt. This will allow us to build the GUI on multiple OSes (Mac OS X, UNIX, Windows).

The current source code can be retrieved from Gitorious.

Feel free to add feature requests and/or bug reports.

Requested features

  • Maybe error reports possible? So you get a message when a certain file isn't found, or a certain path isn't set.