Simlink and Moving Maps - Getting Started Guide

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Simlink and Moving Maps - Getting Started Guide

Postby maxholt » Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:58 am

Last edited: 9 Sep 2017

0. Install Simlink

a) "Single computer": If you'd like to run Charts Desktop only, and you'd like to run it on the same computer as your simulator

Download the Charts Desktop app from https://www.navigraph.com/ChartsApps.aspx#Desktop - it comes bundled with Simlink.


b) "Networked config": If you'd like to run Charts Desktop on a separate computer, or you'd like to run Charts iPad, Android or Cloud apps

Download the standalone Simlink app from https://www.navigraph.com/ChartsApps.aspx#Simlink

(If you are running X-Plane on macOS you need to install the Desktop bundle in (A), there is no standalone Simlink app for macOS.)


1. Start SimLink

If you get any notifications that there is a new version available, please download and install this new version. You may install a new version Simlink directly without uninstalling the previous version.

2. Log in

Make sure you are logging in using the same account as the account with which you are logged in on Charts Cloud or Charts Desktop or any of the Charts iOS or Android apps, or any other app where you want to be able to read your aircraft position. If you are already logged in, you can check which account you are using by right-clicking the Simlink tray icon and got to Status. The username is shown in the top of this view.

3. Install the simulator plugin

Right click the Simlink tray icon and got to Settings. In this view you install the Simlink plugin into the correct simulator. What this means is that Simlink will put a plugin file in the simulator directory and this plugin file will be loaded on simulator startup. The plugin will then report the aircraft position to Simlink, which in turn will relay it to Navigraph servers using your account.

Simlink will show a grey check mark for all simulators it can automatically detect on your computer. It will prefill the path for you. Press Install Simlink button to install the plugin file. The check mark will turn green for successful installations. Grey icon which look like no entry traffic signs, horizontal bar, indicate simulators which we cannot detect automatically, typically XPlane. These paths you have to set for yourself.

You will notice that once you have installed a plugin, you may also use this interface to uninstall the plugin. What this means is that Simlink removes the plugin file from your simulator directory so that the plugin file is no longer read by the simulator at simulator startup. Notice that you will need to shut down your simulator to successfully uninstall a plugin file as it is continuously in use by the simulator. Also notice that in addition to placing a plugin file in the simulator directory, Simlink also makes necessary adjustments to other files. E.g. in the case of P3D, Simlink also edits C:\Users\[your username]\AppData\Roaming\Lockheed Martin\Prepar3D v3\dll.xml. You are not advised to make any manual adjustments but trust Simlink to do the file manipulation for you.

18881809_1642571245783138_3537315028173531807_n.png

By now you understand that the plugin files and the Simlink software are relatively independent of each other. This means that Simlink may have been updated by Navigraph developers, while the plugin may not have. This could lead to a discrepancy between Simlink version and plugin version. This situation should ideally be handled by Navigraph, but in the rare case it isn't, you can uninstall the plugin and reinstall it to ensure that you have the latest version of the plugin which also matches the version of Simlink.

4. Start your simulator

Currently we support FSX, FSX Steam Editition, P3Dv1, P3Dv2, P3Dv3, P3dv4, XPlane 10, XPlane 10 Steam Edition, XPlane 11, XPlane 11 Steam Edition. Note that FS9/FS2004 is not supported because of the current design decision to use SimConnect directly and not FSUIPC.

If you are suspecting that your plugin file is not loaded, you may turn on a console. For P3D, you can do this by placing a file named simconnect.ini in your C:\Users\[your username]\Documents\Prepar3D v3 Files folder. It should contain these lines:

Code: Select all
[SimConnect]
level=verbose
console=1
RedirectStdOutToConsole=1
OutputDebugString=1
file=<any path>\fsx.log


Where <any path> can be replaced to a path where you want to save your log file.

In the console, and in the log, you can check which version of the plugin file that is loaded.

5. Starting a flight

Even when the simulator is running, the Status interface in Simlink may say "Navigraph Simlink cannot detect a flight in your simulator". The reason for this is because the simulator has not started to report any aircraft position. You must place your aircraft at a runway to make the simulator start reporting.

6. Broadcasting flight data

Now that the aircraft is located on the runway, and your simulator is not paused, you should see the position report in the Status interface, in the Simulator group box. If you pause your simulator, it may stop reporting positions. After five seconds without position reports, Simlink will say [old data] next to the last position report. At this point it will also stop broadcasting the position (and other flight data) to the Navigraph server. You can see this because the text in the Status interface, changes to "Old data. Not broadcasting flight data to server." In effect, this means that your airplane disappears from any moving maps you might have running.

Even with the simulator reporting aircraft position via the plugin to Simlink, you can turn off the broadcasting of flight data to Navigraph servers by right-clicking the tray icon an uncheck "Broadcast flight data".

7. Showing your aircraft position on enroute charts

Now you may open Charts Cloud, Charts iOS or Android app, or Charts Desktop and go to any enroute view. You click the purple arrow, usually located in the top right section of the interface, to display your aircraft's position on the map. On the map, also in the upper right corner, you shall see something that resembles a crosshair, like a sight on a gun. Press it to center the enroute map on your aircraft and to keep the map moving along with your aircraft as it moves.

ec770ec6-1f72-4ed3-ba65-d89873276025.png


Moving the enroute chart side to side with your mouse will interrupt the aircraft following function. This is only logical because you may want to check other parts of the chart without being forced back to the aircraft position. Whenever you are done looking at other parts of the chart, press the crosshair again to return to the aircraft position.

8. Showing your aircraft position on airport charts

You may also show your aircraft position on airport and procedure charts. A requirement to show your aircraft position on a chart is that this chart is geo-referenced. This means that the chart is drawn to scale using a predictable coordinate system. Sometimes charts are drawn schematically, shortening and warping areas to fit important information. In these cases we do not have a predictable coordinate system or useful yardstick. These charts are often marked with a Jeppesen logo with a stylistic north arrow and the text "Not to scale". To make this even more clear, we display a red text telling you that this chart cannot be used for moving maps.

Which particular airport charts support moving maps?

  • Airport diagrams, which are numbered 10-9 or 20-9. You may use these diagram while taxiing to find your way around terminal buildings and taxiways.
  • Approach charts, charts under the APP section.
  • Enhanced SID and STAR charts. All SID and STAR charts are undergoing an enhancement process, and one result is that these newly formatted charts are true-to-scale and therefore support moving maps. For a current list of airports that have enhanced moving maps-capable SID and STAR charts, please see http://ww1.jeppesen.com/aviation/micros ... s-List.pdf

Similarly to the enroute charts, make sure the purple icon in the top right of the interface is clicked. Your aircraft position will be drawn with a purple arrow. The arrow is not to scale, and the location of the aircraft is in the middle of the icon, not the point.

9. Verifying the position report

You can also use Simlink to verify that your aircraft position is being reported correctly to the Navigraph servers. In the Status view, in the Server group box, there is a button which reads "Retrieve flight data". If you press it, Simlink will ask the server for your aircraft position. In the ideal case, it will return with a coordinate and a timestamp in UTC. You can compare the coordinate and timestamps (preferably when your aircraft is stationary on the runway) to verify that your position report is correct.

If your position cannot be found, the Simlink will show "No flight data found on server". It will display this result as soon as a position report on the server is older than 1 minute.

It is also possible for the server to be broken. In this case Simlink will show something like "HTTP Status 500". If you computer does not have Internet connection, Simlink will say that, or show "HTTP Status 0".

If you can read your position report using Simlink in the way described above, but cannot show the aircraft in your Charts software, then it's the internet connection on the computer or device running the Charts software which should be investigated. Start by changing to another Internet network, another Internet Service Provider, to check if it is a temporary DNS problem preventing you from accessing the Navigraph server managing the aircraft position reports.

10. Other types of troubleshooting

In Simlink's tab Plugin Status you can check if the necesssary plugin file exists in the simulator directory or not. If you for some reason are making manual changes yourself (which we do not recommend), you can use the "Update plugin status" button to have Simlink recheck the simulator directory for the status of plugin files. For example, if NavigraphSimlink.dll is missing in C:\Program Files (x86)\Lockheed Martin\Prepar3D v3\gauges it will say [MISSING PLUGIN].

In the tab Logs, you may press the "Update log file list" to check for any logs that may have been produced. Please note that restarting Simlink will automatically remove these logs, so if you experience an error, you may want to copy the log file somewhere else before closing Simlink. You do this by double-clicking the entry in the list of logs. If no list is shown, press "Update log file list". The log probably opens in Notepad or some other text editor. Move the file by saving it somewhere else. It's default location is C:\Users\[your username]\AppData\Roaming\Navigraph\Simlink\logs. If you accidentally closed Simlink but want to save the latest log file, this is where you find it.
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