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More detail on FSX Hydrology

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

Folks are noting with excitement greatly improved hydrology (water bodies, streams and rivers), in detail and accuracy, in some areas.  In others, with some dismay, people are finding that the hydrology in some areas in FSX is far less extensive than it was in FS9, and in other areas less accurate.  I posted a comment on a local forum, but I thought the topic was of more general interest, so would expand on that here. 

As I noted in an earlier post, the accuracy and detail of the data varies drastically with the source, and MS had to use many sources to cover the globe.  For North America, the  most detailed sources were not affordable, and MS used Navteq, which is quite accurate in some areas (see Victoria and Vancouver harbours, MUCH improved over FS9) and non-existent or inaccurate in others.  In general I think we’re a little spoiled by some of the FS9 third-party addons, and have forgotten just how far off hydrology was in FS9. This is one where I’d cut MS a little slack.

The first comparison is south-central British Columbia, the second South-Western British Columbia (with a bit of the US).  Thanks to Microsoft and Jim Keir for their data-viewing tools.

South-west BC

You’ll note the vastly reduced hydrology in FSX.  But, take heart, FSX (a) is much more accurate in some areas and (b) Allen of Ultimate Terrain and other third party vendors I’m sure will rescue us as fast as they can!

Now, for fun, take a look at the whole world, as you can see the US and Canada is somewhat sparse.  Canada has something like 60% of the world’s lakes, but they are almost non-existant through most of the country.  This image is large, so I’ll let you navigate there.