Converting Real-World LAT/LON to FS2004 Scenery Coordinates

Alan C. Misiaszek Guest

I have tried real-world calculations to find LAT/LON coordinates for scenery objects in FS using the scenery airport CP and a bearing and distance to the object based on the scenery units.  The results are not close.   Can anyone help with the FS Lat/Lon offset equations?

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Ian Stephens (ianstephens) Captain
Ian Stephens is an expert on this topic. Read his bio here.

Understanding how to correctly translate real-world latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates to those used in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 (often referred to as FS9) can indeed be a tad challenging. From my knowledge, there are a few reasons for potential discrepancies:

FS9's Geographic System: FS2004 uses its own internal geography system which, while close, isn't an exact replica of our real world.
Earth's Curvature and Projections: Anytime you take a spherical object (like Earth) and try to translate that onto a flat surface (like a screen), you're bound to have some discrepancies. The methods and equations used to do this are called projections.
Scenery Data: Some sceneries might be built with a different reference or might have small inaccuracies.
So, how do you convert?

Here's a step-by-step guide to getting more accurate LAT/LON for FS2004:

  • Start by getting the real-world coordinates. This can be from any reliable GIS (Geographical Information System) source or tool.
  • Use tools or scripts designed specifically for FS9 that can help convert real-world coordinates. There are some available in the community that have been created by enthusiasts who faced the same challenge.
  • Remember to always double-check within FS2004. Load up the simulator, go to the specific coordinates, and visually verify. If it's off, make minor adjustments as necessary.

For specific offset equations, I'd recommend checking out a few of the advanced FS development forums or documentation. There's a wealth of knowledge there where many developers have shared their methods for achieving accurate placements.

Lastly, if anyone else on the forum has experience or a tried-and-true method for this, please chime in. Sometimes, the collective wisdom of this community can produce solutions that one might not think of individually.

Safe flying and scenery designing!

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