Ortho sceneries

Photo or ortho sceneries are available or can be generated in different resolutions. The bigger the zoom level (ZL) is, the more file size, download time, decrease in frame rates in your simulator. So if you look at the pictures below, showing different ZL at 500 and 2000ft, which is a appropriate altitude for VFR pilots, you’ll see ZL 16 or 17 is sufficient. Otherwise you get in trouble with memory overflow, decreasing frame rates, loading time before and during flight and maybe harddisk capacity.

If you do your own orthos using Ortho4XP, I recommend to do it in ZL 17 and around airports in ZL 19. Generating overlays is not needed if you use simHeavens continental X-… packages.

ZL17 tiles are available

For tiles in ZL16/17 for Europe please refer to

A tile – which is 1 x 1 degree – needs in ZL16 2 GBytes, in ZL17 8 GB and in ZL18 32GB space on your harddisk, 7-zip-compressed to download it is 1,5GB for ZL16, and 6GB for ZL17.

View from 500ft AGL

View from 500ft / ZL16

View from 500ft / ZL17

View from 500ft / ZL18

View from 500ft / ZL19


View from 2000ft AGL

View from 2000ft / ZL16

View from 2000ft / ZL17

View from 2000ft / ZL18

View from 2000ft / ZL19

Variants of ortho sceneries

Normal photo sceneries have one ZL for one tile. Sure you can mix ZL e.g. having ZL17 for Manhattan and ZL 16 in the neighbourhood. But you can also mix within the tile, having a “IFR” scenery in ZL18 at the airport, ZL17 around, decreasing to ZL16 at 10 miles. That means, if you fly IFR, you have the same impressions from cockpit, the closer you get to the airport the greater ZL you have. This reduces file size dramatically, as you see in the example.

Using some tools you can create night tiles and also seasonally tiles for winter flying. Night tiles don’t need the resolution of day tiles as there have less contrast and less colors, they can have one or two ZL less. A 8GB tile in ZL17 with an additional night tile in ZL16 results in a file size of 10GB, are 25 percent which is affordable. 😉