Access Global, Photorealistic Flight Simulation with GeoFS
by Sarah Chow
GeoFS started nearly six years ago. With the increasing quality of aerial images offered by Google Earth and as an aviation (and simulators) enthusiast, I felt frustrated that no flight simulator made good use of this data and decided to build my own. The goal of GeoFS was, and still is, to give users simple access to flying within these environments and the chance to enjoy the view. GeoFS grew more sophisticated as more people started to enjoy it, too. Today, it offers about sixteen aircraft ranging from the Piper Cub to Concorde and A380. Some aircraft are fitted with virtual cockpit rendering.
GeoFS is massively multi-player: users can see and chat with other players. Is also includes joystick support, autopilot, wind system, sound and light effects, replay mode, a map of restricted airspace, and a selection of over 30,000 referenced runways to take off from. The physics engine aims to be as realistic as possible while trying the keep the experience enjoyable for every skill level.
Cesium is a relatively young platform, and the inevitable quirks had to be dealt with. But this is where the open source approach is making a real difference: I could easily browse through the code to understand problems, and even fix them myself if needed. And of course, much improvement and growth is expected in the near future. The API documentation has proven to be very good, and there are now plenty of examples to get inspiration from. Overall performance and stability are very satisfying, without much effort put into optimization.