Some thoughts on instrument displays in FlightGear

I only have one PC monitor, but I have a tablet and a smartphone. Is there any way I could save monitor real estate in FlightGear by offloading the display of the most necessary flight instruments to a internet-capable device?

Here are a few ways to go about this.

1) Application developed in tablet/phone native environment (iOS/Android) that uses sockets to receive flight data and display it. This would be a very interesting exercise. I have a few iOS devices and I know enough Objective-C to get by. The only downside is that it would only work on iOS devices.

2) Application developed to use a web browser. I’ve played around with Javascript/HTML5/Canvas, but not to the extent that I could do something from scratch. That’s only half the problem – the other half is getting the data TO the browser. I can’t open an internet socket in Javascript to receive TCP/IP or UDP data. The only solution I can think of is to have a middle-man program running (on a web server that’s also hosting the web page that shows the display?) that connects to FlightGear, and then forwards the relevant data to the browser. But what mechanism is there for that? Is that what WebSockets are for? The great benefit with this approach is that any device (phone/tablet/laptop/PC/etc) with a Canvas-capable browser could run the display. The big downside is I’m completely unfamiliar with any of these technologies.

The appeal of option #2 is pretty strong – I’d like to see what web applications are all about and it would give me an excuse to fiddle with web servers again. That being said, option #1 would let me continue my study of iOS app development.

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6 Responses to Some thoughts on instrument displays in FlightGear

  1. vps says:

    This blog is great. I realy like it!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been getting very interested in Flightgear, especially offloading instrument panels to other devices/monitors. While the multiple monitor setup seems pretty robust, there is also still a lack of good documentation. I have found this app that does what you are wanting to do with airspeed/alt/rpms, etc onto an Android device. Seems to work fine with minimal setup:

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.juanvvc.flightgear

    Love the blog too, keep it up.

  3. fgfs says:

    You should probably join the FlightGear forums, for instance see:

    Slaving multiple fgfs instances: http://wiki.flightgear.org/Property_Tree/Native_Protocol_Slaving
    FGPanel: http://wiki.flightgear.org/FGPanel
    FGCanvas: http://wiki.flightgear.org/FGCanvas
    REST/AJAX/JSON support: https://code.google.com/p/flightgear-bugs/issues/detail?id=396

    There are tons of other options, the simplest option probably being the telnet/props protocol: http://wiki.flightgear.org/Telnet_usage

    so, pick your poison!

  4. fgfs says:

    Announcement from the May/2013 newsletter: http://wiki.flightgear.org/FlightGearMap

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