Wishful Thinking - MSFS 2020 + Google and Apple Maps Data Integrated Into Bing Maps

I cannot imagine a world where Google and Apple would just agree to any sort of (including a commercial arrangement) to give up their map data with Microsoft, but I keep thinking, man, if this could happen, this game would be kick ■■■.

The maps would be so detailed and incredible. Ah. Yes, it would be incredibly gorgeous and even more out of this world than i already is.

I as looking at Swiss Alps, as an example. Or London or New York or any Major city in the western world. Google Maps and Apple Maps have this incredible 3D View, but of course Bing Maps, not so much. there is no 3D view to start with. the regular map itself has like 5 images taken at different times overlapping on each other. So, you have green mountains and suddenly a perfect rectangle of snow out of nowhere.

I think, I hope, I wish, that perhaps this game will become popular enough that Bing Maps can up its game. Or, (in some bizarre parallel universe) Google and Apple will give their data, in the spirit of gaming :slight_smile:

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Also had this thought, not sure if Microsoft is on good footing with Google, but I suppose technically it could be possible. Not sure though.

I am convinced Google absolutely hate MS. I remember back in the windows phone days, they flat out refused to release any google apps and actively stopped MS from creating replacement even with public APIs.

Apple might be more amenable I think, but again, its just a big wish that will never come true. Ultimately, it comes down to Bing Maps but I dont think that will ever happen either. I doubt MS will splurge so much money just to get better view in a game.

This is not going to happen but just like Google and Apple bought their photos and photogrammetry from other companies, Microsoft can buy the same materials if they really want to. There is nothing the others have that Microsoft can’t buy.

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Maybe the cost of providing really high quality 3D data everywhere in MSFS would make the game too expensive and maybe most computing hardware in use now for MSFS isn’t good enough just yet to really take advantage of including much better 3D renditions. And on top of that, maybe there are not enough simmers willing to pay extra, too, for super high quality visualization even if it were a special “ultra” premium deluxe edition or an extra monthly subscription, like Xbox Game Pass.

But if it were almost feasible, I think the way to do it would be to charge a small extra monthly fee for some amount of downloadable better quality data. The manual cache idea could be expanded to hold that data and the manual cache could serve as a DRM-managed reservoir. Maybe like XPA and sharing Kindle books, etc., there could be a way to share caches of data within limits amongst friends or host streaming some of your really high-quality cached regions for group flying trips with friends.

I don’t want an Xbox Pass for $10-$15 a month but I might be willing to pay that sort of monthly fee for access to up-to-date (and continually updated) really high quality 3D data where you’d see what the area you flew over actually looks like within the last year or two, not three or four years ago. Even better if someday in the not too far away future the updating was even faster so within days, say, you could fly over an area a natural disaster had ravaged and see a realistic 3D rendering of the impact of the event.

Sorry, but acquiring that data as you mention high quality and updated is way more expensive than money got from a few hundred thousand people (at best) paying a monthly fee of 10-15 dollars. Not even Google has updated recent data for most regions and they have a fleet of planes flying full time doing image capturing for photogrammetry. They would have to expand their fleet beyond reasonable. It is just not feasible without hundreds of millions of dollars.

When I wrote my suggestion, I had expense in mind and cut out an even more far out suggestion rolling around in my mind - that flight simmers weren’t enough in number to support better 3D data but given that the video game industry is now larger than the movie industry, if the video game industry in general made use of such data, e.g., Call of Duty versions in real world locales, etc., that the video game industry as a whole consuming real world data might help support the cost. I was also thinking of all the satellites that private industry now has flying around in the sky that are driving astronomers crazy and wishfully thinking that private industry with its teeming space efforts and drone ambitions might be a source of cheaper data but it seemed going way too far afield to imagine the video game industry as a whole carrying water for flight simmers - and much of Fortnite’s success is it lowered the quality of graphics it delivered compared to whatever it was that preceded it, PUBG, I think it was, so it’s certainly not going to want to inject high-quality 3D into its gaming.

Edit To Add Note: What actually motivated me to cook up a subscription idea is what’s going on with some simmers now - “stealing” data out of Google 3D Maps to improve certain objects in MSFS. So by focusing on the really up-to-date data in the subscription suggestion of mine, that would be letting the tail wag the dog of the idea. The main idea was actually just to give simmers a way of getting reasonable amounts of high quality data from the best sources a minimal fee without “stealing” it from Google or from whomever Google bought a limited right to use the data. It would be great if MS could provide higher quality data for selected regions each person wants at a reasonable subscription rate and it wouldn’t have to be as up-to-date as I suggested at the end of my previous post.

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I don’t see this happening in MSFS2020 or bing maps, BUT it could happen in another flight simulator made by a dev with no Microsoft ties. Thought I don’t know any big game studio that is interested in a civilian flight simulator and only a big studio could pull this off.

EDIT: maybe we could see this in another type of sim like a car, truck, ship or train sim.

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That is absolutely true!

enough of these pointless and useless "I wish/hope/pray google and msft dot dot dot "


This will never happen. Period.

MSFS uses integrated MS technology. Example, Azure and Bing maps. All of the articles state this was developed as an integrated platform. It is entirely feasible that Azure AI would not even play well with othe map products. Behind the curtain there is more to it than just pointing a line of code at a map.

Wishing for this is like wanting McDonald’s to use Burger Kings meat patties or Ford to use Chevy engines. Unrealistic and entirely cost and brand prohibitive. You don’t undercut your own technology.

Google maps has some good points around cities but look at the non populated areas and you’ll see alot of mosaic satellite pictures taken in different seasons/angles ect.

Google is not a 100% perfect mapping solution, it just has better brand recognition so people think that way.

Yeah! We need more time to speculate on when the next patch is coming and what it will contain or what “there will be an update to the prospective next update date on August 27th” actually means! :slightly_smiling_face:

Perhaps folks who don’t think there’s room for wishing things were “more better” may have heard of Dr. Pangloss living in the Candide world of Voltaire, always proclaiming, no matter how bad things actually were, “this is the best of all possible worlds!”

The only way that Microsoft learns that there could be a better world is by comparatively complaining about the software experience world that we are living in now. MSFS is great but it could be even greater. It is not the best of all possible flight sim worlds.

Where is Microsoft’s Street View?

Look at these comparative pictures that I’ve posted of MSFS, Google Maps, and Windows Maps views of the same area outside of Philadelphia, PA. I think it shows that the end result, what the user actually sees, gets a far better treatment from Google than Microsoft. Microsoft needs to find some way to fix that. Consumers have already cast their votes. How many people do you know who’s first choice of mapping software is Bing Maps or Windows Maps??? I think one needs to be realistic in making claims. Mann Gulch, Montana, near Helena, MO, is a pretty remote region. Google Earth and Google Maps represent the geography and vegetation there far better than Microsoft’s offerings.

  1. Google Maps 3D vs. MSFS 3D Still much too many trees #1

  2. Windows Maps 3D Still much too many trees #2

  3. Bing Street View: https://www.bing.com/maps?osid=75687140-3d38-47ca-b172-335a120bd618&cp=39.999703~-75.28394&lvl=19&dir=12.738511&pi=0.40502828&style=x&mo=z.0&v=2&sV=2&form=S00027
    Not bad! On the ground in same area as aerial 3D and shows far fewer trees than MSFS - maybe MSFS should check Bing Street view at least in urbanized areas before it goes wild with the vegetation!

Mann Gulch comparisons (last 3 pix in post):

  1. MSFS vs. Google Earth Pro vs. real life photo: I9 9900K + RTX 2080 TI = Low FPS ?!?!

I didn’t say all remote regions. The argument is moot. It will never happen. Everyone can boycott the game because of it. All that would happen is they would cancel the sim project. It is cost prohibitive and a direct competitor to their business, not just mapping.

The trees are added via autogen AI, they never claimed every tree would be the same as in real life. They have already stated world updates for Bing data would be ongoing

Simple fact is it will never happen and I seriously doubt Google would welcome any collaboration either for the exact same reasons. If you don’t like the terrain, which is the best ever seen in a simulation to date, then don’t play it but hoping MS will use Googlemaps data is a pipe dream, I don’t care how many people complain, boycott, or whatever else they do in protest.

Back in the day of FSX, one could apply the same logic. There is no point in asking for anything better than FSX or X-Plane 11. Can never be done and if one says given the advances in computing that anything better could be done, it’s just going to turn people off to FSX and X-Plane 11. Well, MSFS proves that at least in visual immersion that one can do a lot better than FSX or X-Plane 11 at a reasonable starting cost and Google Maps in 3D proves that you can still do a lot better than MSFS over at least most of the world. It’s not speculation. There’s hard evidence that is so. A lot of MSFS’ers on YouTube are turning in commentary that this is so compared to their own real life experience and Google Maps. Perhaps Google will come along and create an arcade-like flying game (no plane controls or taxiing procedures, ATC, etc) with Google Maps 3D and take the wind out of Microsoft’s sails hoping to recruit casual recreational gamers to MSFS just for the sight-seeing experience - something they advertise as one of the reasons to go with MSFS. Those who rest on their laurels are going to find that laurels by-and-large are actually a relatively toxic plant to be sitting around on forever (most laurels are poisonous to humans and animals in real life).

The Flying Theston video on YouTube shows a guy who went to great lengths to replace the VillaPark stadium in Birmingham with that from Google Maps 3D. His video is quite long but useful in teaching how to use the MSFS SDK to replace existing structures with imported structures although his instructions obviously violate Google’s Terms of Service for Google Maps. So we have lots of people already “illegally” making MSFS better in small ways for their own personal experience, which shows with better data you can make parts of MSFS better visually quite easily. Use of Google Maps in Scenery Modelling