How to do Google Maps conversion?

Hello all,
I’m always interested in making a scenery especially from Google Maps. How do I start by doing “Marionville, MO”? What applications beside SDK would I need to do that?

Thanks! THartmann9374

Well first of all, welcome to the forum! Hopefully someone gets back to you that can steer you in the right direction… Because I would love to see what you have in mind for the Home of the White Squirrel. :wink:

Hello from Barry County

Hello, it is neat to meet someone from that area. I used to live in Marionville from 1981 to 1987. In MSFS, Marionville doesn’t look right according to Google Maps, so that was why I want to “modify” by using Google Maps.

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How to import Google Map Objects into Flight Simulator 2020

INITIAL STEPS
To begin you need to download two Freeware programs, Blender and Renderdoc (latest versions, earlier ones may not work). Install them on your PC. You’ll also need to install Google Chrome if you don’t have it
Blender uses two plug ins, MapsModelsImporter available on GitHub.com (you want the release which is on https://github.com/eliemichel/MapsModelsImporter/releases) and Blender2MSFS toolkit which can be found on FSDeveloper.com. These will come as zip files which should be stored in a convenient directory. DO NOT UNZIP THEM! They will be accessed directly by Blender
Open Flight Simulator 2020 and click OPTIONS – GENERAL – DEVELOPERS and set DEVELOPER MODE to ON, then click APPLY & SAVE at the bottom of the screen. You’ll see that you now have a Developer toolbar at the top left of the screen.
• If you’re doing this for the first time you’ll need to install the SDK Installer so in the Developer Toolbar go to the HELP menu and click that and click SDK Installer. This will bring up a Save As box. Click the Save button and remember where you saved it. It’s about 1.3 GB. When it’s downloaded click it to install it. I installed it in a directory I set up called MSFS SDK.
STARTING A NEW PROJECT
In this example we’re importing Marionville scenery.
To start the new Project go into the MSFS SDK directory, click into the Samples folder then into Simple Scenery where you will find two folders, PackageDefinitions and PackageSources along with a file called SceneryProject.xml.
Set up a directory called CustomFS2020Scenery and within it another directory with the name of your project in it, in this example ‘marionville’, (I think FS2020 may not like capital letters, numbers or special characters so I name everything, folders and files in lower case). Copy (not Move) these three items into it and rename the XML file with the name of your project (‘marionville’).
Then click into the PackageDefinitions Folder where you’ll find a Folder called mycompany-scene and an identically named XML file. Rename them with the project name (in this case ‘marionville’)
Go back to the marionville root directory and click into the PackageSources Folder. This has two Folders, ModelLib and scene. If you go into the ModelLib Folder you’ll find three folders called Light_Sample, SampleMyBox and texture. These aren’t needed so delete them. Also delete the file called objects.XML in the scene Folder.
Now you need to amend the marionville.XML file. Using Notepad or a similar text editor, open up the file (if you’re using Notepad make sure you change the file type to ‘All Files’ otherwise you won’t be able to see it).
This is what you’ll see:

. _PackageInt PackageDefinitions\mycompany-scene.xml

Change ‘mycompany-scene.xml’ to ‘marionville.XML’ and save the file.
If you now open the PackageDefinitions Folder the XML file you renamed to marionville also needs amended, so open it. There are three instances of mycompanyscene which need to be renamed to marionville then you can save the file. We’ve now finished setting up the Folder and File structure of our project.
EXTRACTING GOOGLE MAPS DATA USINE RENDERDOC
Start the Renderdoc program. This is what you’ll see but before we use it we need to set up Google Chrome.

Open a Command Prompt box by typing CMD in the search box at the bottom left of the screen then type:

C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /c “SET RENDERDOC_HOOK_EGL=0 && START “” ^“C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe^” --disable-gpu-sandbox --gpu-startup-dialog”

• *If Chrome is in the (X64)Program Files Directory you need to amend the command

You’ll then be presented with a blank Chrome page . If you click on the Chrome avatar at the bottom of the page you’ll see there are two pages, one with a Pid number

Your unique Pid number will be different (if you can’t see the box it may be on a separate Google Chrome window so check that). Take a note of that number and go back to RenderDoc. Click File – Inject into Process. Then type your Pid number into the Filter box and your Google Chrome session will appear. Click on that and then click the Inject button

Now go back to the Google Chrome Alert box with the Pid number and click OK. Chrome will now load up and all we need to do is to search for Google Maps and load it. You now need to find the location to capture. Make sure you’re in Satellite view (be aware that this won’t work if Google maps doesn’t have 3D data for the object) and switch to 3D mode.

Make sure you turn Labels off in the menu. Don’t’ go in too close as it’ll result in a much larger file and you don’t need to see that level of detail from a plane flying past!
Now we need to capture the image in RenderDoc. To do this you click the button marked Capture Frame(s) Immediately, at this point you should go back to Google Maps and move the image around a bit to ensure that all the info is captured. You’ll now see the image in RenderDoc and if you double click it the program will process the data.

Then click File – Save Capture as and name it marionville. It’s a good idea to have a separate folder for captures called Google Map Captures so save it there. If you look in the folder you’ll find it saved as marionville.RDC. You can now close down RenderDoc.

PROCESSING THE IMAGE CAPTURE IN BLENDER
When you open Blender, this is what you’ll see three objects

We don’t need them so get rid of them by pressing the A key and then Delete.

Installing the plug ins
Remember the MapsModelsImporter and Blender2MSFS Zip files you downloaded back at the start? This is where you’re going to need them. Click Edit – Preferences – Add-ons and click Install.

Install both those Zip files and make sure they’re ticked on the list.
Now click File – Import – Google Maps Capture (.rdc) and browse to the Google Map Captures directory where you saved the file and import it. It usually takes a few seconds to load up so be patient.

To move the model around hold down the shift key and the back tick key to enter Walk mode.
You can then move the model around with the mouse or the W, A, S, D keys. you can also grab and move the selected model with the G key. Next you add the texture by turning on texture mode by clicking the ‘beach ball’ icon underneath the ‘Options’ button (Viewport Shading).

Google exports far more details than we need so we can get rid of the unwanted bits by clicking on the parts of the model we don’t need and deleting them. Make sure you don’t delete a part which contains a piece of the building you want.

EXPORTING THE BLENDER FILE
When you’re ready to export the model, press the A key to Select All (it won’t work unless everything is selected) then click File – Export – Extended GlTF 2.0 (.glb/.gltf) for MSFS. We want to export it into the Project we created earlier called marionville which had the folders PackageDefinitions and PackageSources:

Go into PackageSources and then into ModelLib. We need to create two new Folders called marionvillemodel and texture.

Go into the marionvillemodel Folder and in the panel on the right (see graphic) set the format to GlTF Separate (.gltf +.bin + textures).

In the Textures box underneath type: …/texture/ so that the program can find the textures.
Then click MSFS, tick Generate/Append XML and type the filename in the XML Filename box, give the file the name marionville and tick Generate GUID.
After that click Include and tick Selected Objects and Custom Properties.
Make sure that +Y Up is ticked in the Transform menu and Apply Modifiers in the Geometry menu.
When you’re happy with that then hit the Export extended GlTF button.
If you look at the marionvillemodel and texture directories you’ll now see the files and textures have been created. The file called marionville.XML needs to be altered because it’s outdated. Open it in Notepad and you’ll see:

<?xml version="1.0" ?>
<ModelInfo guid="{2cc07789-8b1f-4f9c-aaa0-929a6449fbc2}" version="1.1"/>

Change this to:

<?xml version="1.1" encoding=”utf-8”?>
<ModelInfo guid="{2cc07789-8b1f-4f9c-aaa0-929a6449fbc2}" version="1.1">

then save it. Close Blender as we won’t be needing it anymore.

We’re now ready to import our scenery into FS2020.

Importing the scenery into FS2020

Open Flight Simulator 2020 and put it into Developer mode as described at the start. Set the Departure Point for your flight as close as possible to the object location and start flying.
Once you’ve arrived over the location, pause the sim and go up to the Developer Toolbar and click Camera – Developer Camera this switches on the developer camera and allows you to manipulate the view using the mouse (with the Alt key held down) and the W, A, S and D keys. Then click Tools – Project Editor and two boxes will open, the Project Editor box and the Inspector box. In the Project Editor box click Project – Open and select the marionville file in the CustomFS2020Scenery root directory. Open that and you’ll see the project name appear in the Project Editor. Click that and you’ll see that the project details are now in the Inspector box.

Hit the Build package button and the Console panel will appear with details of the package. Close the Console down by going to the Developer menu click Windows and untick the Console option. We now want to go into the Scenery Editor so click Tools – Scenery Editor and the Scenery Editor box appears. Click marionville in the Project Editor and then click myscene. In the Inspector box you’ll now see a Load in Editor button. Click that and the Materials Editor box appears which you can close as we don’t need it. In the Scenery Editor we want the Objects menu so click View – Objects and the Objects box appears. Our Scenery is in there and to quickly find it type marionville in the filter box and marionville will appear. We don’t want to add it to the landscape yet because first we have to get rid of the automatically generated scenery.
In the Objects window we want to change the Object type from Scenery to Polygon and then click the Add button at the bottom of the Objects window. This gives you a small orange cursor. Click around the edge of the building(s) you want to get rid off and finish with a double click. If you then double click inside the polygon which you’ve just defined a little three legged gizmo will appear with a small white circle in the middle. Right click on the circle and a small box will appear, click Properties and in the box which then appears, tick Exclude all. This will get rid of the existing buildings.

ADDING OUR SCENERY
Change the Objects Menu to Scenery and click marionville and the Add button. Your scenery will now appear on the map but it’s probably the wrong size. You can change the scale and other parameters by clicking View and Gizmo in the Scenery Editor. You can also use the grab squares on your scenery to move it around and up and down. You can also tilt it to match a slope.
SAVING YOUR SCENERY
When you’re happy with your scenery it’s time to save it. On the bottom right of the Scenery Editor click Save Scenery. Open Scene folder within the PackageSources Folder. You’ll be saving a shape file so name it marionvilleSHP and click Save and then a Scenery file so name that marionvilleSCN and click Save. IT’S IMPORTANT THAT YOU NOW CLICK THE ‘Build Package’ BUTTON IN THE INSPECTOR BOX again otherwise your scene won’t appear in the game.
Now you want to open the Packages Folder and copy the marionville Folder containing all the files and folders you’ve created over to the Community folder which you’ll find buried somewhere in the User folders.

If you now close and open the game again you should see your scenery.

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Thanks! I’m going to try that out. I will contact you if I have any further questions.

“Now we need to capture the image in RenderDoc. To do this you click the button marked Capture Frame(s) Immediately, at this point you should go back to Google Maps and move the image around a bit to ensure that all the info is captured. You’ll now see the image in RenderDoc and if you double click it the program will process the data and you’ll get something like this:”

The paragraph above is where I got stuck. I tried to capture which I moved my mouse click to the map screen and click. I kept getting black screens. And importing from Blender failed.

Can you explain more deeply for that part?

Many thanks! THartmann9374

Try using Capture Frame with a delay of 2 seconds.

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With all due respect. Please don’t copy the entire post you are referring to just to say thank,s copy the first sentence.

What you are looking for is here, awesome video tutorial.