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Author Topic: Nav data for PSX: A new solution  (Read 21928 times)

Hardy Heinlin

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Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 00:40 »
Good evening all.

Bad news and good news. First the bad news. Then the solution.

Navblue have increased their PSX fees by 300% and on top of it added a 5% price increase every year; that is, the price is 3 times higher and keeps rising exponentially. I can't pass such a drastic increase on to you; only some of you would buy it, perhaps. And that wouldn't help either. Because of the reduced number of customers, the price would have to be even higher, so high, that even the richest would think twice before buying it. Who would purchase one cycle for 15,000 USD? -- I, for one, can't pay these costs either. I'm not rich. In fact, I haven't made any profit from the nav data sales since the release of PSX in 2014. It was even a negative deal, considering the annual cycles I had to buy during the development of PSX, which started in 2008. I had no income in the six years before PSX came out.

There are over 1300 PSX users, but only a few purchase the nav data updates. Just about 200 nav data updates are sold per year, and a part of the retail price goes to the retailers. We're in a very special niche market here. I know there is a company in Switzerland that sells Airbus sims to professionals. They offer 13 cycles (Lufthansa data) per year for about 50 USD. I don't know how they achieve this price. With the offer I got from Lufthansa, I'm completely unable to provide a similar deal to my customers.

Some of the newer forum members may ask: Why not let NaviGRAPH or AeroSOFT provide nav data to PSX? This isn't possible because their suppliers (Jeppesen, Navblue, Lufthansa) don't allow them to sell their data to professional products, and PSX is in that category, no matter whether your are a hobbyist or a 747 instructor.

Solution:

I will cancel the deal with Navblue. I will provide free tools that allow PSX users to edit the existing nav database at any time. You will be able to remove and add navaids, airways, SIDs, runways and so on.


Edit 28 APR 2021 -- Please refer to this new program:
https://aerowinx.com/board/index.php?topic=6371.0


Edit 1 JUN 2021 -- Aerosoft has released cycle 2105 for PSX (for entertainment only!):
https://www.aerosoft.com/en/flight-simulation/simulators/3486/aerowinx-psx-nav-database-update-2021
They plan to integrate it in their monthly NavDataPro service some day. I don't know when. Maybe next year.
Note: You first need to install PSX update 10.137 or higher.


Edit 11 JUN 2021 -- Aerosoft's database for PSX is now also available at Aviation Megastore:
https://www.aviationmegastore.com/179795


Best wishes,

|-|ardy
« Last edit: Fri, 11 Jun 2021 17:58 by Hardy Heinlin »

Will

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 01:56 »
This sounds exciting. It would be fun to sculpt some challenging approaches into impossible airports. I'm thinking of the bottom of the Grand Canyon for example. (Seriously, I do think that user modifications to the database would be fun and useful.)

It's also worth reminding anyone who is tempted to panic over this that both SimBrief (which is free) and PFPX export PSX .route files with everything the PSX FMC needs to display and fly a route using current real-world nav data. So if you create a flight plan on SimBrief or PFPX using their real-world data, the corresponding PSX .route file will have current real-world waypoint names and positions. (This won't help you if online ATC says "fly direct ABC," and the position of the ABC VOR has moved 50 miles, but it is nonetheless a very powerful feature.)


« Last edit: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 02:30 by Will »
Will /Chicago /USA

evaamo

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 02:38 »
Hi Hardy, thank you for sharing the news.

You wrote:

>>But there shouldn't be any automated mass data convertions from other copyrighted products.

Can you please further elaborate on this?

Would it be against the "rules" (so to speak) to create an open source converter between Navigraph data and PSX data format, for personal use?.

For example:  I have an active and legal Navigraph subscription, and let's say I'm able to create a program that understands the format used by PFPX (again, as an example) which Navigraph produces on every cycle, and converts the data so the output would be the format used by PSX. I understand it would be ilegal to share the "converted" navdata files, but the program that PSX users would use to perform the conversion (for personal use, not distribution of converted data) is totally legal (unless you decide to prohibit such a use case in the EULA of your conversion tools).
Am I correct?.

Thanks for the clarification!.
Take care,
-Enrique
Enrique Vaamonde

Hardy Heinlin

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 03:37 »
Hi Enrique,

maybe it's legal as long as you don't share your private conversion with other users. I don't know. Your Navigraph terms & conditions may have the right answer. I'm not familiar with these products.


Regards,

|-|ardy

asboyd

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #4 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 04:03 »
For version control you could use Dropbox in the same way that we get our 747 model info for PFPX from Stephen.
Dropbox informs the user when the files have been updated and all you have to do is sync the files and, voila, you're done.

:)

As far as Navigraph goes I use PFPX to generate my route and so long as there are no conflicts it works pretty well, maybe if a conflict arises it is then just a matter of removing or adding the problematic way point....

Cheers,
AlexB

PS I have bought all the Navblue releases as I believe in supporting the developer.... having produced code myself on occasions.... !!
Alex Boyd... Sydney, Australia

Mariano

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 04:05 »
Hardy,

Thank you for the update. I, for one, am very excited about this.

I remember many enjoyable hours spent creating and updating SIDs, STARs and approaches in PS1.3; I somehow find it very therapeutic.

Question. In theory, will I be able to create Kai Tak’s runway, add the surrounding NAVAIDs from the 1990s, and therefore recreate a PSX Kai Tak?

Looking forward to all these new exciting features.

Best regards,

Mariano

« Last edit: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 15:35 by Mariano »

Hardy Heinlin

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #6 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 04:25 »
Dropbox informs the user when the files have been updated and all you have to do is sync the files and, voila, you're done.

But you don't know whether, say, on Tuesday multiple editors downloaded the Monday-file and then modify the Monday-file differently, and then upload their different Tuesday-mods on Wednesday. Is that correct? In that case, the last uploaded Tuesday-mod will overwrite the other Tuesday-mods. Or, if they aren't overwritten but listed side by side, they need to be merged. Is Dropbox able to do this? With zipped files?


... will I be able to create Kai Tak’s ...?

Yes, you can set whatever you like. (But no curved approach lights.)


Regards,

|-|ardy

asboyd

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #7 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 06:00 »
Dropbox professional allows version checking under its team settings but that is not going to be available to all... plus it is limited in the team numbers.
There are other ways as you mentioned like GitHub, but most of them are usually associated with an specific application package/modelling tool.
However, maybe what can be done is a way of adding in data, based on local knowledge, which can be merged with the complete database....
Maybe using a front end app that you input the data into and it parses it to the complete package, which then gets flagged as modified... (sort of like an SQL query/update).. As the info gets added into a central package, there is only one "full" package which users can copy.

AlexB
Alex Boyd... Sydney, Australia

Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #8 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 11:55 »
A common way to manage this kind of collaborative project is by having a "maintainer" or "benevolent dictator" sitting on the pile of contributions and deciding what to incorporate and what not, and when.

The idea is that individual contributions are text file fragments that can be written, contributed/offered, and incorporated individually. If they don't overlap each other, they won't bite. Logical units of contribution are whole STARs, whole FIRs, etc.

If we figure out how to divide the central file up in parts then we don't need to version-control the whole file and hope that people don't step on each others modifications.

Systems such Git, SVN etc. are 100% geared towards this model, where text files are diff(erenc)ed against each other and only modifications are stored. Dropbox and friends are geared towards whole (binary) file stacking where the last file wins even if all previous revisions remain accessible.

An SQL option is also possible but probably overkill as the target is text anyway.

99% of the OpenSource contributions to software are text file based and there is a reason they all use Git or SVN or comparable text-patch based systems to keep their sanity.

Git is ultra-complex to use if you approach it the wrong way (nice joke here), but the success of Github suggests that a large number of people are able to fruitfully contribute. It may be a natural filter: if you cannot set up your own Github account to submit pull requests to the authority (like Hardy could be), you probably have trouble writing proper text file fragments for the nav data base, too. This is just my opinion but it is based on decades of experience with this kind of gear.

And the system allows for multiple parallel authorities anyway so making a 'fork' is natural, in case somebody wants special things.


Hoppie

I briefly searched for existing projects that do kind of this thing, but have not found any yet. Still there may be some. Anybody know?
« Last edit: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 12:22 by Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers »

Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 12:12 »
Separate thinking thread.

It's pretty clear that re-distributing somebody else's data without consent is illegal. Nobody should convert, say, Navigraph data and re-distribute it re-formatted for PSX.

It depends on the actual end-user license agreement of said data whether re-formatting data "for personal use only" is allowed. I bet it is not, but I haven't read the EULA. If it would be legal, then we could maintain a piece of software that converts this data, and leave it to legal owners of data to convert for their own use. You would buy a license of, say, Navigraph and then use the distiller on it to get a PSX variant of the original Navigraph data every four weeks. Can somebody read the EULA?

This still would leave our professional users in the cold, so probably it won't be a real option anyway.

As a side note, it also means that if we go for a stack of contributions to a central kind of repository, we need to keep a good track record of where data comes from. Individual contributions should reference the publicly available (AIP) resource and be traceable to individual people, so nobody can accuse anybody from just ripping commercial data. As such ripping is quite straightforward to do, this will remain a permanent challenge to the contribution, so thinking ahead will be required.

But if we do it well, it may even spawn off an OpenSource resource of AIP data that can be used also for other simulators.

And the pro users of PSX may either contribute what they need themselves, or pay somebody to do so. This model is very common in the OpenSource communities.


Hoppie
« Last edit: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 12:24 by Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers »

Hardy Heinlin

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 12:30 »
How about a "nav edit" thread here on the forum?

User X posts: "I'm working on VHHH SIDs."
User Y is planning to work on VHHH SIDs too. So he checks the "nav edit" thread for the latest replies, and notices: User X is already on it.
Two days later, user X posts: "New VHHH SIDs are finished."

Version control by forum thread.

The version code could be a UTC time stamp, e.g. 2021.01.23.1339

I could merge the latest edits manually and upload it.


|-|ardy


P.S.: I will probably make for each ARINC record type a dedicated world file. The types are:

VHF Navaid
Enroute NDB Navaid
Terminal NDB Navaid
Terminal Waypoint
Enroute Waypoint
Enroute Airway
Enroute Holding Pattern
Airport (reference point, TA, TL, ICAO region)
Gate
Runway
ILS
ILS Marker
Approach
SID
STAR
Airport Communication

Each record type gets a "hide" file and an "add" file.
The "hide" file contains a list of objects that are to be hidden in the original database.
The "add" file contains a list of objects that have to appear in addition to the original database.
« Last edit: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 12:45 by Hardy Heinlin »

cavaricooper

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 12:59 »
For those without access... here's Navigraph's EULA's pertinent section.

3. Use of Service
3.1. License
When your purchase a subscription for the Navigraph Service we grant you a personal, revocable, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-assignable, time-limited, worldwide license to use the Data without the right to copy, modify, publish, sub-license, disseminate and otherwise exploit the Data for any other Purpose and on any Technical Platform other than what is described in these Terms.

3.2. Additional Terms
The Data is provided by Jeppesen who is the owner and authorized licensor and therefore reserves all rights to the Data. For this reason you must also agree to the Jeppesen’s Additional Terms attached to these Terms.

3.3. Purpose
You may not use the Service for real world navigation. You may only use the Service for Game-based Learning in Personal Computer Flight Simulator Software where “Game-based Learning” refers to Gaming explicitly designed for educational purposes, or which have incidental or secondary educational value; and “Gaming” means the activity of using a personal computer for problem solving for the purpose of amusement, entertainment, or passing time.

As a list of examples, you may not use our Service for any of the following purposes, including, but not limited to:

1. Real world navigation: Any usage with application for real world navigation is not permitted.
2. Flight schools: Training or education organized by a flight school, or with the intention of logging flight hours towards any type of pilot’s license is not permitted.
3. Military training centers: Training or education organized by any military center, or similar, is not permitted.
4. Professional training centers: Training or familiarization as a part of a professional occupation, is not permitted.
5. Research institutions: Usage by research projects conducted by a school, university, governmental institution, research institution, consultancy firm, or similar, is not permitted.

If you are a uncertain about how we may interpret the purpose of your usage, please write to us at dev@navigraph.com. Please note that we only issue personal licenses (see 1.2. Personal Account and 3.1. License). Group licenses, or any form of shared licenses, are not available at this time.

3.4. Technical Platform
You may only use our Service in “Personal Computer Flight Simulator Software” meaning simulators which

a) consume directly, or indirectly via auxiliary addon software, navigational data parsed into a non-ARINC 424 format,
b) are ground-based, and
c) are available as Commercial-of-the-Shelf (COTS) including, but not limited to, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Lockheed Martin Prepar3D, Laminar Research X-Plane.

3.5. Demo
If your account does not have a valid subscription, the account will be set to demo mode which limits access and functionality of the Service.

3.6. Network Connection
There are some functions in our software which depend on a continuous network connection. To use the Service your Compatible Device must remain connected to the Internet.

3.7. Bugs and Service Interruptions
While we have taken great precautions to provide a reliable Service you may at times experience service interruptions or even bugs. We appreciate if you tell us about ways in which we can improve, but cannot offer any compensation.

3.8. Simultaneous Logins
Navigraph Services are offered on several types of Devices: Windows Desktop, Mac Desktop, Android Apps, iOS Apps and in most web browsers. While a Subscription includes access to all Devices, a Subscription is limited to a maximum number of Devices onto which a user Account may be logged in simultaneously. The number of Devices you may use at the same time depends on your Subscription and is detailed on the Subscription page of the Navigraph webpage.

3.9. Changes in Data
While our ambition is to provide predictable uniform worldwide data we sometimes need to offer airport charts of mixed design as a new design is being implemented. Moreover, we may need to remove outdated airports or navaids, or change data formats as new information becomes available. Navigraph therefore reserves the right to change the Data from time to time, in any aspect, including but not limited to, geographical coverage, graphic design, data format, currency and update frequency.

3.10. Changes in Technical Features
Since we are continuously developing and improving our services Navigraph will launch new technical features of the Service. The newly introduced features may change the appearance and functionality of the Service. Sometimes we will remove features which we deem are no longer frequently used. The feature set can also differ between Devices.

3.11. Personally Identifiable Information to Third-Party Software
Navigraph makes it possible to access your Subscription and parts of the Service in some Third-Party Software. You recognize that the Third-Party Software is not developed by Navigraph and that Navigraph is not responsible for actions, functions, design or content in any such Third-Party Software. You are also made aware that such Third-Party Software may have its own privacy policy and set of terms. Upon authorizing Third-party Software to use Navigraph Services on your behalf we will tell you which personal information Navigraph shares with the Third-Party Software. Navigraph and the Third-Party Software are individually, separately, and independently, responsible for the personally identifiable information.

3.12. Unauthorized Third-Party Software
You must only log in to authorized Third-Party Software. The authorized Third-Party Software developers are listed on the Navigraph website.

3.13. Scraping
The Navigraph Service is designed to download Data to user interfaces with the volume and frequency corresponding to that of normal user interaction. You may not use any other automated means including, but not limited to, bots, scrapers, and spiders, to download Data from the Navigraph Service.





Doesn't sound positive for PSX workarounds.  I DO grasp that in the big scheme of things, this is a micro issue in a microcosm... but for the few hundred that use PSX for long haul flights, this is indeed a veritable blow.  I will watch this space closely, as the issue is near and dear to my heart.

C
Carl Avari-Cooper, KTPA

Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 13:16 »
How about a "nav edit" thread here on the forum?

For nearly every project holds: start out with something you are familiar with and expand only when that begins to hold you back from making progress. So, yes, by all means. This nav aid project is not about re-inventing the collaboration wheel, for which the Forum has been great for a few decades.


Hoppie

I vaguely remember having some sort of online database thing for PS1.3 that did basically the same... anybody with better memory than I have?

Will

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 13:18 »
The part in red above talks about home use for entertainment, but the idea of a Navigraph-to-PSX translator is prohibited by an earlier clause:

3.1. License
When your purchase a subscription for the Navigraph Service we grant you a personal, revocable, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-assignable, time-limited, worldwide license to use the Data without the right to copy, modify, publish, sub-license, disseminate and otherwise exploit the Data for any other Purpose and on any Technical Platform other than what is described in these Terms.

Similarly, if you accept Navigraph's EULA, you also have to accept Jeppesen's additions to the EULA, which similarly state:

3. RESTRICTIONS ON USE. The Products may not be used for any other purpose, nor be sold or given by End-User to any third party for any use. Use of the Data by End-User to generate aviation charts or maps, whether for reference only or actual air navigation, is expressly prohibited. The Products cannot be used for performance based navigation procedure design (RNAV-RNP). End-User will NOT: (a) copy, reproduce, reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble or publish the Data; (b) electronically transfer the Products to multiple computers over a network system; (c) distribute copies of the Products or accompanying materials to others; (d) modify, adapt, or translate the Products or create derivative works based on the Products; or (e) assign, rent, lend, sell, transfer or sublease the Products.

Which is kind of a pity, because many of us have real-world, accurate data on our computers; it's just not readable by PSX.
Will /Chicago /USA

masselli

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 15:27 »
What about changing the license of PSX to include a "Gaming" version and a "Pro" version.  Maybe the "Pro" version costs a little bit more but it includes the NG, etc.

Training schools can only purchase the "Pro" version and individuals can get the "Gaming" version.

If the license is for "Gaming" then maybe Navigraph data can be used?

Unfortunately, Hardy would have to maintain two different products, but the "Gaming" version would have the hooks to include Navigraph and the "Pro" version would not.

Lockheed did something similar with Prepar3D because Microsoft didn't want them selling it as a game.

https://www.prepar3d.com/prepar3d-store/

Just my two cents worth  :)


Mark

Will

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #15 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 15:46 »
Mark has a good idea... maybe the "game" version of PSX has a disclaimer on the "About/Quit" page that says "For entertainment purposes only."

For the "Pro" version, you can pay an extra $35 and have the disclaimer removed. ;-)

Actually, now that I think about it, Navigraph and Jeppesen don't want their simulator data used in a setting where people are paying for real-world training. So maybe the solution is to have Game and Pro licenses, where the Game license requires you to attest that PSX will not be used for anything prohibited by the Navigraph/Jeppesen EULAs. The Pro license allows real-world training, but contains a switch that prevents updates from Navigraph. Or else just an agreement that the user won't do an upgrade.


 
« Last edit: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 16:04 by Will »
Will /Chicago /USA

Markus Vitzethum

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #16 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 17:15 »
I, too, like the idea of introducing different licence types and go for the Navigraph/Aerosoft option.

To be honest, I also like the idea of being able to edit the datbase (in particular, add new airports or navaids, there many airports in China or Russia which are missing).

But there is a reason why I started to created NavData for PS1.3 some 18 years age (*). The reason being, to have complete and, more important, consistent coverage. I kind of doubt that the system will work for the airway system without any kind of automated bulk conversion of every airway around. It will work for one particular airway, but you'll never know what kind of airway route your planning system will print out for your flight. It seems more plauisble to use the export function of PFPX or Simbrief.
Then again, SIDs and STARs are somewhat different than 20 years ago ... lot of RNAV routeing which is prone to change and more often than not, the coordinates are no longer published on the charts (only in the AIP; and there are plenty of RNAV waypoints). To be honest, I expect submission only for major airports which kind of takes the fun out of flying into e.g. small mountaineous airports like SELT.

Don't get me wrong .. the NavData editor system is something I really like to see. But in my opinion, it needs an additional system to feed the editor with quality data. Not sure if there is possibility for tools that can read various input format (and be it ARINC424) and output PSX-NavData-Editor format on each users system...

Going along the dual licence path seems a more straightforward solution to me.

Markus

p.s.
Needless to say, I personally would pay an increased price. But I agree, it's the statistics that counts.


(*) Note:
... which I cannot and will not repeat these days for a number of reasons.

DougSnow

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #17 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 18:13 »
Hardy

Before you do anything, let me reach out to someone... I have contacts.

I am assuming that you can accept a fully ARINC 424 compliant database before you convert it to a PSX-compliant format?

asboyd

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #18 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 21:48 »
I find it hard to believe that Navigraph do not want anyone to use the data for commercial platforms, (except for those that have a special deal with them????).
If I read the Lockheed Martin Prepar3d EULA correctly, Prepar3d is not for entertainment or gaming, therefore why do Navigraph include them explicitly in their EULA...

"
3.4. Technical Platform
You may only use our Service in %u201CPersonal Computer Flight Simulator Software%u201D meaning simulators which

a) consume directly, or indirectly via auxiliary addon software, navigational data parsed into a non-ARINC 424 format,
b) are ground-based, and
c) are available as Commercial-of-the-Shelf (COTS) including, but not limited to, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Lockheed Martin Prepar3D, Laminar Research X-Plane.

"


Makes you think if they have read other EULA's....

AlexB
Alex Boyd... Sydney, Australia

Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers

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Re: Nav data for PSX: A new solution
« Reply #19 on: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 22:09 »
It's the ARINC 424. There most likely are heavyweight safety regulations in place that aim to completely control the production and distribution of ARINC 424 data that by definition can be loaded into real airplane navigation computers. I think (but do not know) that the original producers of the ARINC 424 data, such as Jeppesen and NavBlue, could only allow external export of said data if they guaranteed by process (not by promise) that the loadable airplane parts would never ever leave the controlled environment.

ARINC 424 LSAPs are expensive and too many shady airplane operators would probably like to bootleg these resources. Or at least this is what the FAA/EASA thinks, I guess.

Relatively recently there are severe security regulations around the LSAPs as well, as the authorities are (unfortunately rightfully) afraid that nefarious organisations would like to sabotage airplane software and databases. A bad database can be very dangerous. Modern cryptographic solutions can safeguard databases during transport, but the actual avionics does not have the capability to decrypt or analyze digital signatures. This opens up attack vectors up to the (usually) PC used to load the databases onto final media, which still are often 3.5" unencrypted diskettes. Having true 424 data available makes the attack process simpler. And it surely makes it easier to fumble and mix up.

All educated guesses only; I am far away from the database industry.

The same protections should be in place for the chart material, produced by the same manufacturers, from the same publicly available AIP data.


Hoppie
« Last edit: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 22:22 by Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers »