Pablo's Mission Planning Website
Greetings Mission Planners,
One of the biggest limitations in FalconView has been it's inability to display CHUM (i.e. towers) on either Imagery or TLM charts. This omission is by design - CHUM includes obstructions added since the paper chart was published and excludes the obstructions that were printed on the original map. Experienced fliers (i.e. you) know the CHUM doesn't include all the towers but someone less experienced might not be as smart and plan based on the (incorrect) assumption that all towers were plotted.
FalconView 3.2 has the ability (thanks to Air National Guard funding) to display an obstruction database on all maps using "VVOD" - VPF Vertical Obstruction Database. This was added in anticipation of NIMA producing the required data. Due to funding and production concerns, that didn't happen. In the FalconView 3.2 Overlay menu you'll see a menu choice for "Vertical Obstructions". It was disabled when 3.2 was shipped because it couldn't be tested without VVOD data.
After years of coordination between the Services and NIMA a new VVOD prototype is being produced. Hopefully it will follow the earlier prototype spec closely enough so the data will work with 3.2. VVOD will allow obstructions to be displayed on any chart or image. FalconView 3.3 can automatically calculate a "TSA" or Terrain Safe Altitude based on DTED. TSA must be compared to the avoidance altitudes calculated from obstructions - but it gets you out of the business of scanning contour lines inside the corridor. With VVOD it'll be possible to develop tools to completely calculate obstruction avoidance altitudes like MSA (Minimum Safe Altitude) and ESA (Emergency Safe Altitude).
Mission Planning Tip: Map Data Manager Part 5 - New Data
We've talked a lot about the Map Data Manager, but what exactly should you do when you receive new data from NIMA? Today we've just received a new NIMA SAC (Special Aeronautical Chart) disc containing LFC (Low Fly Chart) and TFC (Tactical Fly Charts) over Europe:
Before doing anything else do a Chart Update. Go to the Tools - Data Administration - Chart Currency menu choice:
In the lower part of the Chart Currency window you'll see the "Chart Update" tool. As the descriptive text makes clear you can "replace older CADRG data, CIB Data and CSD chart currency information". Many folks think of chart currency as being limited to the NAVPLAN (JOG-GNC) scale charts (because that's all that is included in the "Currency Report") but Chart Update works with all CADRG/CIB data.
The dropdown lists the available map data paths. Select the path with the new data and press "Update Now". CADRG and CIB files on any read/write data path that are less current than the ones on the selected path (G: in this case) will be updated.
After the update you'll get a report of how many files were replaced - in this case 108 files. You don't know what the files were or what path they were on. This dialog leaves a bit to be desired - the Chart Currency Tools were added to FalconView 3.01 as a last minute kludge. GTRI's JMPS implementation should be much better.
The Chart Update Tool works with any source path, i.e. it doesn't have to be a NIMA CD. A great technique is to update the chart data on your Geospatial Product Library (GPL) Storage Device (either a dedicated PC or a shared external hard drive) then use the GPL's paths as the source to update other PC's. Beats schlepping a stack of CD's to every laptop in the squadron. Remember the Chart Update only works with NIMA RPF (CADRG and CIB) data. The RPF spec was smart enough to build the necessary "digital versioning" number into the filename. It doesn't work with DTED, GeoTiff, VMap, DNC or MrSID (FV 3.3.1).
After the chart update (always do your chart update first) check if there's any new chart data. Set the target path to the one containing the LFC/TFC's using the "Target data path" at the bottom of the "paths" tab in the Map Data Manager.
In this case there's two new day LFC frames that aren't on the target path:
Using the Map Data Manager I'll select just those two frames to copy:
The Map Data Manager now shows I've selected "527.3 KB" of Day LFC files to copy:
After pressing the "Copy" button the two frames are copied to the target path and change color from Red (data on any path except the target path) to Green (data on the target path - may be on another path as well).
You might wonder what's on these two new frame files. A zoomed out view of the lower frame file shows:
The only part of the file that has any "map" data is the small portion in the upper right corner. Frame files cover a preset geographic area and don't align with chart borders. The Map Data Manager shows CADRG "coverage", but you may find no map data near the edges. If you move past the edge of chart coverage you'll get:
In this case there's no data (not even black empty data) displayed on screen.
One final foot stomper - ALWAYS DO A CHART UPDATE FIRST!! It can take a while (especially with a large network path source) but it don't cost nothin' to launch at the end of your day.