X-Plane Ortho4XP Guide


Yay for this tip. Saved me a bunch of head scratching.



So just FYI (and this might be old-ish news)…the most recent build of Ortho4XP is now 1.30 and they made some improvements. The reason I revisited this is that I’m writing an article about the old Sucre airport in Bolivia and all I had was the alpilotx mesh, but no overlay ortho, so I dove back in. Using the old 1.20 version was giving me fits because the airport, which features a heavily contoured runway, was ending up with huge dips and sharp gradients that made it unusable. I could have just flattened the whole thing by adding a line to the airport data file, but part of the unique features of the airport is the sloping runway that causes some interesting illusions.

So I found out that Ortho4XP 1.30 is out, and it has been cleaned up a bit to make it look more user friendly (although all the functionality is still there). As well, it uses some sort of comparative database to smooth out airport locations (or something) and the end result for me was a smooth runway, but still with the gradual slope. And all of that with just one push of the “All In One” button. Just highlight a tile, mash the button, and wait a few minutes for the tile to output, drop it in the Custom Scenery folder, and that’s it.

The results are just jaw dropping. Only problem is that I don’t have roads or autogen buildings on top. I’m not sure if that is because the area I’m building doesn’t have OSM data (Open Street Map) or if I’m missing a setting. Doesn’t much matter for my purposes…but if anyone has a tip I’d be interested to know if I can get that working too.

Link to 1.30: HERE



Hmm…a lot to explore here. If you click on each of these grey boxes, it gives you an explanation of what they do…very useful…!



An example of Ortho4XP 1.30 smoothing over the airports in a selected tile…

1 Like


So it only took me about six attempts at building a test tile to figure out what I was doing wrong with regards to roads and autogen. First of all, if you are new to building orthos, I would highly recommend removing all of your custom scenery for your first few tries. It makes ordering the scenery_packs.ini file much easier, and you can easily see what “layers” you have in there. The really nice thing about X-Plane is that adding and removing scenery is as easy as simply copy and pasting the scenery files in and out of the custom scenery library.

So basically I renamed the custom scenery folder to back it up, and started with a fresh scenery folder to observe how the orthos were coming out. I finally realized that I had not set the custom_overlay_src directory in Ortho4XP, and I suppose that is where the program tries to find things on street data and building layouts or something. So since it was not pointed at a directory to get that data, it wasn’t generating the “yOrtho4XP_overlays” directory that goes in the Custom Scenery directory. The yOrtho directory works with the zOrtho directory and they must be ordered in your scenery config file with the y over the z to layer the scenery correctly.

This shows the custom_overlay_src directory that I had not set and that was why I was not ending up with OSM data output to the yOrtho4XP directory.

One quick question for anyone in the know - should I be pointing that custom_overlay_src directory to my alpilotX mesh directory instead (zzz_hd_global_scenery_v4)? Does the alpilotX mesh directory contain street and city layout data too (my assumption is that it does). I’m going to try it anyway…but just curious if anyone knew. The only problem with that of course is that you would have to make sure you had the mesh installed prior to building your ortho or it won’t find any data there.



See post #4 of this topic

1 Like


Ah…I missed that…! Thanks!

“The OSM overlay data seems pretty good, so it might even be just as good to point the overlay directory to E:\Games\X-Plane 11\Global Scenery\X-Plane 11 Global Scenery anyway”



Thanks for your efforts! I had no idea the regular overlay data could be used as well



Thank the @fearlessfrog - he is the one that got us started down this road. I’m honestly amazed that some of this data hasn’t been locked down by the entities that provide it (Bing?). I mean, I can’t imagine how much data has been downloaded from them over the past few years from sim pilots. Eh…maybe it is a drop in the bucket compared to their commercial users…I dunno…

1 Like


I tried this and it didn’t work. I only get the OSM data when I point the program to the default X-Plane global scenery directory.



Curiously though…the alpilotX page says this about the HD Mesh Scenery:

“OSM data is updated (its “date stamp” is 1st October 2017) . Which makes it newer than current XP11 default mesh data and of course much, much newer than the data in HD Mesh Scenery v3.”

So I don’t know why Ortho4XP isn’t building that correctly when I point it in that direction. I’ll have to experiment more tonight…

1 Like


…and now I’m confused again. Sigh… I’ll start again from the top later this week.



The struggle is real. Fortunately, most of the orthos are already properly built and don’t require anything more than unzipping them and using the included conversion process to make them work for these regions:

The only reason I ever mess with Ortho4XP is areas of the country or world that don’t already have them built. I have a feeling, once I establish a workflow, I’ll be fine. I’m just struggling to find out what that is at the moment…

1 Like


Lucky you revisited this thread. Yesterday or day before I started reading from top.
So hopefuly you will figure out all the bits for us so I can build my orthos with overlays quick and easy :slight_smile:



Well…I would point everyone to this free scenery that puts all the trees exactly where they are supposed to be on your Ortho for the US. It is magic and cleans up all the trees that end up on the beaches or highways and what not. It is in the World2XP section but does not require that and works well with ForkBoys pre-builts.

I would argue that US Ortho needs this, it is that big a difference.


X-Plane releases thread

can you pls check, the link doesnt work for me, thx

Edit : probably this is the link to 1.30 for win users

Edit2 : building tiles with 1.20b already… I hope the diference between 1.2 and 1.3 are only the UI :slight_smile:



Built 2 areas yesterday w zoomlevel 16. Final size was not bad at all and first tests were very positive. Made also work the overlays.

Encouraged with it I went for 6 areas and zoomlevel 19! building over night. Early in the morning I was half way through the proces and at 100GB ! …

Stop Proces -> Exit :smile:

Edit: Now building 5 areas with ZL 17…

following this tutorial for Ortho4XP 1.20b



So it was 5 areas with ZL 17, size of tiles + overlay cca 50GB ( I didnt get further then tiles and overlays yet, need to continue with the tutorial video :slight_smile: )
plus I use XEurope2.0 for the OSM data I gues.

LZNI… hmm, not that bad imo :+1:

Number of world objects : HIGH

Number of world objects : MAXIMUM



I found particular areas with no coverage or with clouds from BI source. So if anyone is looking for best Base source for his country :



Having “fun” converting the JPEGs to DDS format - I’ve got a fairly fast computer with a good graphics card but it is taking forever with the recommended batch file program. Any secrets?