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[Feature Request] Leap ahead of Space Engine Pro (STEAM): LunaServ 'add image' ROI ultra high resolution VT .dds tiles for Solar System objects

The paid version of SpaceEngine now uses data from LROC's LunaServ.  GIS applications like qGIS can pull data from the public www server of LunaServ.  However LunaServ can also be run on one's own server with its own data set.  i set up my own LunaServ for example in a Ubuntu VM.

[Key purpose]
Starry Night, Celestia & Orbiter all support the same “levels of 512 x 512 pixel virtual texture tiles” concept for texturing 'plain sphere' Solar System objects. But, Starry Night appears to currently draw fewer levels.

Old 32 bit Celestia 1.6.1 & Orbiter support around 13 virtual texture levels. This is implemented in a very disk efficient way because in those programs a user may place just a few very high resolution image tiles of only Regions of Interest (ROIs) in the higher level folders to provide excellent detail comparison images of ROIs for purposes such as:

Checking ‘what is that feature really that I glimpsed at the edge of visual or imaging resolution with my scope’
Observing changes on Mars surface features e.g. storms, melt, visible in various Mars public data sets.
Comparing how Moon & Mercury features appear with E v W shadows
Adding very high resolution Regions of Interest (ROI) to the Moon or other solar system object for EDU study & presentations: e.g. Lunar impact crater types.
Using the great Starry Night environment as a personal & edu ‘library/index’ to the best publically released & personal extremely high resolution imagery for ROIs e.g.sources APOD, Hubble Gallery, LunaServ/ODE/PDS portals to public tax funded planetary science data, (& maybe a future LiveSky community generated content Portal for Starry Night like Celestia Motherlode)

Request in summary:

a) Adding additional FULL VT 512x512 .dds tile levels up through level 7 already works just fine in Starry Night.

b) the key new value is for Starry Night to draw further levels like 8,9,10,11,12,13 as has been available in Celestia & Orbiter for 10+ years now...

c) I definitely want to draw VT level 8 at full tile coverage which takes 4GB of space for that level but is highly worth it

d) for now, VT levels 9+ I would mostly use to add partial tile sets = bands of coverage & ROI tiles from various data sets I want to study.  Ideally this would use an automated algorithm  (e.g. better than Celestia's calculator worksheet) just like with adding DSS images to the celestial sphere but in this case pulling tiles from LunaServ & creating/adding to the appropriate VT level for the given Solar System body.

The above links to an album that includes images on this topic for reference....specifically:

at the top of the album...I placed a video & some images that show the levels drawing & draw behavior at max level where Starry Night draws stars behind the max level and eventually a 'blank' = no star field and a mix in between.


[Key request Details]

I appear to have encountered a shorter than expected virtual texture (VT) level drawing limit for Solar System Planets & Moons that is surprising to me for a product like Starry NIght Pro Plus.

I have included HiRes images to help clarify & if there is additional info to help clarify, please just ask me.

This is a very useful feature for me,

I hope this is an easy config other words that Starry Night can actually already render the levels I want just I need to tell it to look for those VT levels 8 and higher as adding through Level 7 has work very well already.

If you want more info about VTs after reading my issue below, then this Cornell page concisely explains Virtual Textures (VT) in Celestia (use is similar for Starry Night up to level 7) very well:

The most important info on the above page at:

[Brief Description]
Starry Night, Celestia & Orbiter all support the same “levels of 512 x512 pixel virtual texture tiles” concept for texturing 'plain sphere' Solar System objects..

The naming convention of the files is the main difference between the programs.

For test purposes, I have successfully renamed & added my favorite Celestia Motherlode & Orbiter VT tile levels to Starry Night (this type of data can also be pulled from public tax funded portals then made into tiles).

However, Starry NIght will currently only draw for me a max of Levels 0 to 7. Level 7 has 8,192 tiles at full coverage.

Level 8 e.g. Mars8 & Moon8 folders I added (in Starry Nights naming convention) & above are not drawn. At Level 8, a full Planet/Moon sphere coverage is 32,768 tiles (4 GB for this level in .dds format).

<SN_VALUE name="Mars7" value="65536, 32768, 1, 128, 64, .dds"> // Draws just fine in Starry Night 8pp
<SN_VALUE name="Mars8" value="131072, 65536, 1, 256, 128, .dds"> // Not currently drawn by Starry Night 8pp

Again the significance of Celestia & Orbiter support for very High Levels is the very efficient disk usage feature of placing ‘only a few’ (e.g. hundreds or thousands rather than millions) of very high resolution comparison image tiles in adjacent levels 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 for only the desired Regions of Interest (ROIs) . To quote the link above:

"If a tile at the requested level of detail is not available, Celestia will fall back to the next lower level of detail that's available. This allows you to map planets with very high resolution at particular locations without forcing you to map the entire planet at that resolution.”

Starry Night Pro (& Plus in my case) is a wonderful platform for a personal or edu fast access 'library' for current human celestial knowledge &

The "Starry Night 7: High Resolution Planetary Texture Collection" is a great start but it is now 2019 & public tax money in both North America & Europe have made easily available amazing high quality data to the public whether as images like the Hubble Gallery or as massive curated planetary satellite mission data with excellent projection like LunaServ as well as the older access points for PDS…

... that people like me can access & add to Starry NIght (= LiveSky opportunity just like people did for Celestia Motherlode or Orbiter which share the same 512x512 VT tile system just with a different tile file naming scheme):

QuickMap3D Messenger Data: E v W shadows etc:

QuickMap3D LROC Lunar Near side Crater project:

LunaServe projections 'Drop down menu' for data for many Solar System Objects:

Mars' ODE:

I have been populating my Starry NIght with public data such as my favorite APOD data, Hubble Gallery Images, & Planetary data levels beyond those included by default.

With the added levels, now when I spot something at my limit of resolution in my scopes I can go to Starry Night to 'see what is actually there' plus study features I can never see in my scopes or from Earth.

Plus Through the scope I only see a snapshot in time (of the Moon), where as with Starry Night VT levels I can quickly compare the view of a Region of Interest (ROI) the same (Moon or amazing Mercury or Mars or Titan, etc details I will never see in a scope) planetary feature with different shadow angles using publically available data.

Plus the other uses I described above.

Thank you for considering this valuable way to use Starry Night!


[Reference Forum Posts]

Starry Night 7: High Resolution Planetary Texture Collection

Starry Night 7: Streaming Data On-Demand

Starry Night 7: Motivation, Process, Future

Adding images to Starry Night

1 comment

  • 0
    moody hameed

    I have both SNPP8 and SE Pro 0.990 and both are amazing.  I love exploring the surfaces of exoplanets and journeying to other galaxies.  SNPP used to have this ability when it integrated Deep Space Explorer, the feature needs to return.

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