Installing & Running Atlas

These installation instructions assume that you are running a UNIX-like system. If you use some other system for development, you are unfortunately on your own. Please provide me with information on the building process on your system if you think it would be usefull here.
  1. If you downloaded the sources as a tar.gz file, unpack the sources:
  2. tar xfz downloaded_filename.tar.gz
  3. cd into the directory where the sources are located.

  4. If you got your copy of the source from the CVS archive, begin by running
    which produces the configure script. Skip this step if you downloaded the source release as a tar file.

  5. Run the configure script:
  6. Make the executables:
  7. Install the executables. You might have to become root on your system before doing this.
    make install
  8. Hope everything went well!
Atlas installs two executables: Map and Atlas.
Map is used for producing the map images that can later be used by Atlas or some other program. To produce the images that can be used with Atlas, run this command:
Map --atlas=path/to/images
This will take from a minute up to hours(!) depending on how much scenery you have installed. Map has a lot of command line switches, and you can get an overview of them by running:
Map --help

Atlas is a combined map viewer/moving map display that can be used stand alone or together with FlightGear. To use Atlas, run it like this:
        Atlas --path=[path of bitmaps]
The default path is $FG_ROOT/Atlas. You can get help on the specific arguments by writing
Atlas --help
One of the most interesting features of Atlas is its ability to connect to a running session of FlightGear and display your aircraft's location on the map. To use this feature, you must add this argument when running FlightGear to make it output positional information using the NMEA protocol:
--nmea=socket,out,0.5,[host that you run Atlas on],[port number],udp
The host is the name (or IP) of the computer you will be running Atlas on, and the port number can be almost anything you like (default is 5500). Then run Atlas like this:
        Atlas --path=[path of map images] --udp=[port number]
(the port number should be the same as the one you gave to FlightGear, of course).
Atlas has a simple GUI that you can use. You can toggle the GUI on and off by pressing SPACE. Other keys that you can use in Atlas:
  • '+' / '-': Zoom in / zoom out
  • 'D': Toggle location information on/off
  • 'A': Toggle airports on/off
  • 'N': Toggle navaids on/off
  • 'T': Toggle bitmap background on/off
  • 'V': Toggle names on/off
  • SPACE: Toggle GUI on/off
Map Resolutions

When you use Map to generate maps from FG scenery, you have the option of generate tiles in different resolutions with command line option --size=pixels. Whit this method you generate pixels*pixels tiles. By default, pixels=256.

But you may want to have better resolution tiles, in order to have a more precise imaging when you are using Atlas with low scales (<1:1.000.000). For example, you can generate 1024*1024 tiles:

Map --atlas=$FG_ROOT/Atlas --size=1024

You will get very high resolution maps in this way. But you must pay with very low performance when you are managing Atlas with large scales, because more tiles are loaded in this case. So, the solution is to generate two sets of maps: one set for high resolutions at low scales and another set for low resolutions at large scales.

Atlas searches the high resolution maps in the default path, lets call it path/to/maps (by default, $FG_ROOT/Atlas), and the low resolution maps in the subdirectory lowres, if exists (path/to/maps/lowres). So, if you want to use the low resolution maps, you have to create that subdirectory and create the new map tiles with a lower size, for example:

Map --atlas=$FG_ROOT/Atlas/lowres --size=64

If the lowres subdirectory doesn't exist, then, for both resolutions, the maps will be taken from path/to/maps, the default path. If the lowres subdirectory exists, then you must have installed both set of maps so you can see them for both scale ranges (as sayd, the frontier between large and low scale is 1:1.000.000)

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