Installing Grand Canyon HD Photoreal Scenery

Pro Member Trainee
Jez88 Trainee

Hi all,

I'm still very new to X-Plane so apologies if this is an obvious question!

So far I've had great success adding a few extra aircraft and plugins.  I've also successfully installed both HD Mesh Scenery v4 and UHD Mesh Scenery V4.  I appreciate these are 'generated' scenery and so have downloaded the Grand Canyon HD Photoreal Scenery as my first attempt at some orthophoto.

I also appreciate the photos in the zip available here has already been processed - thank you! - so all I need to do is copy the correct files to my Custom Scenery folder.  But, and here's the rub, the instructions aren't quite in line with the contents of the zip.

The readme.txt says:

The newer packages contain multiple versions of the yOrthoXP overlays file. You will just pick one of them.  You can delete the ones you decide not to use, or save them for later in case you change your mind.

yOrtho4XP_Overlays_XP11 - Default XP 11 roads, trees and buildings (will only work with XP11 only)
yOrtho4XP_Overlays_XP10 - Default XP 10 roads, trees and buildings (will work with XP10 or XP11)
yOrtho4XP_Overlays_HDv4 - HD v4 roads, trees and buildings by Alpilotx (will work with XP11 only)
yOrtho4XP_Overlays_HDv3 - HD v3 roads, trees and buildings by Alpilotx (will work with XP10 or XP11)

But, the package only contains 2 such folders:


I've tried looking at a specific dsf file (e.g. +35-114.dsf) in both of the included folders and comparing those to the same file in my folders for XP's default Global Scenery, HD Mesh Scenery v4 and UHD Mesh Scenery V4.  However, none of them match.

So, I guess my questions (finally!) are:

  1. What are these folders?
  2. Do I need them?
  3. Or, given I've already got the UHD and HD meshes, do I just copy the z_ortho_Arizona_Grand_Canyon_HD folder into my Custom Scenery folder and ensure it's over the mesh folders in the ini file?

I'm likely to download more orthos, and I do like to understand things (!), so any explanation will be much appreciated.

With thanks,


Answers 3 Answers

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Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

I hope this helps.


Pro Member Trainee
Jez88 Trainee

Dear RadarMan,

Thank you.  I *think* the penny has dropped!

(This excellent description - that I had already read several times - is now increasingly making sense!

My confusion was three-fold.  First, it didnt help that the 'readme.txt' referred to 4 overlay folders when in actual fact there are only two in the download.  Not helpful for a newbie like me!  Second, I couldn't understand why you needed both mesh and ortho given they are mutually exclusive.  Three, I couldn't understand why none of the mesh files matched the HD mesh files I already have.

The answer *I think* is that I've already got HD mesh scenery files (from AllpilotX) whereas the ortho needs HD mesh overlay files.  The HD mesh scenery files already tell XP where to put objects (trees and houses etc.).  This 'where to put objects component is extracted from the HD mesh scenery files to create HD mesh overlay files which tell XP where to put objects on top of the separate ortho photos.  That's why, when I compared them, any given HD mesh scenery dfs files I already had weren't the same as the HD mesh overlay files included in the download.

As I said, I like to understand things so I'll try and explain it one more time to see if I'm right!

  1. Mesh and ortho scenery are mutually exclusive.  At the most basic level mesh tells XP what to put on each section of ground (dirt, water, grass etc etc) whereas ortho has an actual picture of the ground.
  2. Actually both 'mesh' and 'ortho' dfs files are mesh files as they describe the 'lumpiness' of the terrain using trianges and plygons etc.  That's why they're mutually exclusive; XP can only use one such file at any given location to draw the 3D ground terrain.
  3. The HD Mesh Scenery v4 files include where to put objects in the each dsf file.
  4. The Ortho files don't include where to put objects in the dsf file.  So, you need a separate overlay dsf file for the objects and their locations.  These overlay files can be derived from either XP's default scenery or some HD mesh scenery like the HD Mesh Scenery v4 files.
  5. As it stands at the moment I have zzz_hd_global_scenery4 in my Custom Scenery folder.  So I see HD mesh scenery at the Grand Canyon.
  6. If I just added the z_ortho_Arizona_Grand_Canyon_HD folder to my Custom Scenery folder (and my scenery_packs.ini at the correct place!) I'd see beautiful photos but go back to XP's default - non-HD - objects.
  7.  If I add the yOrtho4XP_Overlays folder as well above it, I'd have both the ortho photo terrain plus the HD object locations etc. I had before.

(Oh, and I understand that the resolution of any given object isn't changed with an HD mesh scenery file or overlay, it's just how they're placed and what they are etc.)

So, the final, million dollar question is, am I right?!!!

With thanks in advance,



Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

😏 I guess we'll find out when you finish.
I hope you are right.
Let us know how you do.


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