Terrain Vector Data

Can anyone tell me what this is exactly?

It has to do with the depiction of rivers, roads and coastline contours.
Think of it as a collection of coordinates which depict the aforementioned features. Higher density of these coordinates means more accurate depiction of river and road bends, lake shorelines, coastline irregularities, etc. Its a pure 2D data, AFAIK it doesn’t have to do anything with terrain meshes (elevation data and such). Same terrain vector data is used in your car navigation software.


Interesting. It’s just odd that there is no official description or explanation of what these things really mean or do.

I’ve not noticed any visual difference using Ultra, Low or anything in between here to be fair! Even on Ultra, rivers go up the sides of hills in a lot of places lol


Inaccurate rivers come from inaccurate OSM data, not from the lower quality settings. Many rivers (especially in Africa, Latin America, Asia) have so few node points (and get added as straight lines over the meandering satellite image of that river) even on the highest quality setting that one wishes they are not drawn at all. You would only miss the reflection effect that is (especially for small mountain brooks) completely overdone, anyway.
They should really use their AI to extract the river vecors directly from the satellite images for MSFS 2024.


Fair enough. I see your point.

Still don’t know what the Vector Data really does then. As I say, impossible for me to notice a difference so would it be less resource intensive for me to use Low setting?

Good question. I’d love to know what some of these options are doing.


Judging by the meaning of this in mathematics & computing, I would assume it means using dense vs. sparse vector data.

The highest setting means you have more accurate vector representation, so the road looks like a fine curve. As you lower settings, you start ignoring intermediate data, so your road starts looking like a zigzag. This becomes easier to compute, which can translate to higher FPS.

Makes sense, yep.
Any idea what I should have in view in the scene in order to test this end result?

As I say, I have tried both extremes when I have got roads curving up and around mountains. Rivers snaking through valleys. And I literally cannot see any difference.

You have to differentiate between roads and rivers as part of the satellite imagery - these are just pixels and visble mainly in a quite good resolution (down to road marking etc.). For the special properties of roads (traffic) and rivers (water), the vector lines are needed.
Vector roads are paths for the AI vehicles and visible from very low altitude as semitransparent overlay. That’s it. The vector rivers are overlay lines of a fixed width (often much wider than the actual river) with reflecting properties, so they glisten in the sunlight when viewed at a certain angle (and often showing the weirdest discrepancies to the true river on the sat image). That’s it.


I noticed the shoreline along the Colorado River west of Grand Junction was quite jagged when the sim first came out. I haven’t checked it lately. I wonder if I crank up the vector data if it would look more accurate, or if the data is incomplete, it wouldn’t make a difference? It kind of seems like a setting that isn’t necessary yet as computer systems are not advanced enough to make a noticeable difference. Is this accurate? I assume that MSFS2024 will incorporate better vector data.

As far as I remember the written tuning guides, having vector data at max setting doesn’t affect your fps much, if any. Just try it out, it won’t hurt. :smile:

Everything counts a bit but it doesn´t have a real big impact. I didn´t find evidence of that that during tests at least and that´s also what most user guides say. The only one that really makes a big difference is TLOD, as it affects both distant details and the effective render distance. On the other hand it will also indirectly control the amount of 3D objects that will be rendered. More render distance will result in more objects if the area contains them or only more terrain details (elevation mesh and ground textures) if area does not contain objects.