XCSoar and LK8000 data sources

This page was last updated on 18 March, 2017.

This page tells you where to find the data files that XCSoar and LK8000 need and where to put them on the SD card. Once the files are in place you still have to start the program and use its Config|Setup System dialogue to tell it which files it needs to use via the 1 Site page. Once that's complete and you've made any other changes to suit yourself (such as the units to use for speed and height), restarting the program should show you the information you require.

UK data files

File type Updated Download Importance Purpose Note
Airfields 06/07/2009 airfields.txt Low Sets the default airfield. 1
Airspace - Download the OpenAir Format file or the ASSelect application from the Soaring Server's UK Airspace page.. High Defines controlled airspace in the UK.

Since both the OpenAir file and the ASSelect application are refreshed each time AIS updates published airspace details, copies are not kept here. You should regularly check the Soaring Server for updates.
2
LK8000 Topology and terrain - Download from the LK8000 website. Optional Mapping data comes as pairs of files: you need both. 3
XCSoar Topology and terrain 24/04/2011
31/03/2011
31/03/2011
UK_2011.xcm
UK_2010_20K.xcm
UK_2010_9K.xcm
Optional Contains the digital mapping used to paint the moving map and to set the context of turnpoints.
UK_2011 was created by David Mansfield by modifying a map generated from the LK8000 mapping database. It now shows the inland water that was missing from maps created by the new XCSoar terrain generator. I have checked it with XCSoar 6.0.6. I'm leaving UK_2010_20K and UK_2010_9K maps (20 and 9 arc-second resolution respectively, which were generated with the older terrain generator) online for the time being.
4
Turnpoints 18/03/2017 bga_2017.dat
bga_2017.cup
High The complete set of BGA turnpoints in Cambridge and CUP formats, generated from Tim Newport-Peace's master file with TpSelect 3.5. 5,6

UK Landout and CGC Field Book Databases

The CGC Field Book files were generated against the BGA turnpoints list dated 28 March, 2016 and should be used with that version.

File type Updated Download Importance Purpose Note
CGC Field Book 18/03/2017 cgc_field_book.dat
cgc_field_book.txt


cgc_field_book.cup
cgc_field_bookCUP.txt
Optional Winpilot (CAI) format
LK8000 and XCSoar users need both .dat and .txt files

SeeYou (CUP) format users only need the .cup file but LK8000 and XCSoar users may want both.
5,6,7
All known landouts 18/03/2017 uk_landouts.dat
uk_landouts.txt



uk_landouts.cup
uk_landoutsCUP.txt
Optional CAI/Winpilot, LK8000 and XCSoar users need both the .dat and .txt files and should customise them for your location.

SeeYou users need only the .cup file. This needs no customisation, but note that, in the case of landable BGA turnpoints, the BGA turnpoint details take precedence over landout information.
SeeYou (CUP) format users only need the .cup file but LK8000 and XCSoar users may want both.
5,6,7

Notes

  1. This airfields.txt file is the one I used to set GRL as my home field before the UK Landouts Database was available. It is only useful if you are NOT using the database because this information is incorporated in it.

    Although you can set your HOME airfield from the waypoints list in either XCSoar or LK8000, this is only a temporary setting that will be lost if you close down and restart the program. However, if you set it by editing airfields.txt this setting will become permanent. If you don't permanently define your HOME airfield and you're using Simulate mode or there is no GPS signal, the program starts up showing some place to the far north-west of the terrain map. If you'd rather it started at your field, download airfields.txt and edit it, changing the airfield name and description to match your home field. The airfield name (GRL GrnsdnLd) must match the name of a turnpoint on your field exactly as it appears in the Turnpoints file: spaces, punctuation and capitalisation must all match. The second and subsequent lines are descriptive and can contain anything you think is useful.

  2. XCSoar and LK8000 use OpenAir format airspace files. You can either download the OpenAir file or, if you want to customise the information displayed, download the ASSelect application, which allows you to select the details you want to see and the area it covers. Once these details are selected, it generates an OpenAir format file that you install in your navigation system as usual. ASSelect now offers the option of displaying IFR feathers on the approaches to suitably equipped runways, so if there is a nearby IFR-equipped field that only has an ATZ you'll probably want to select this as a reminder to avoid loitering on an IFR approach.

    As both XCSoar and LK8000 can handle two airspace files you may want to download and install SPINE and use it to check NOTAMS when you're planning a task because it offers you the option of generating an OpenAir format file that includes all the plottable NOTAMs for the selected day. This can be loaded into your navigation device to show NOTAMs alongside permanently restricted airspace.

    It is a good idea to check the accuracy of these files against a current map covering your task area before using them because they may be missing updated details. Neither the OpenAir file nor the ASSelect application has official approval.

  3. The pair of mapping files used by LK8000 are: Neither contains airfields: these are defined in the turnpoints file. Their use is optional: if you don't want to see topology or terrain, don't install them. If they are installed the Display menu controls whether topology and/or terrain is displayed.
  4. An .XCM file defines the topology (towns, roads and water) and terrain (shaded 3D countryside) but not airfields: these are defined in the turnpoints file. It is optional: if you don't want to see topology or terrain, don't install it. If it is installed the Display menu controls whether topology and/or terrain is displayed.

    The files made available here were generated by Dave Mansfield and myself for our own use. They cover the area occupied by all the BGA turnpoints and vary in size between 1.9MB and 3.3MB. Generate your own if they are too big for your PNA or PDA.

  5. CAI Turnpoint File specification.

  6. CUP file format description.

  7. The UK Landouts Database is an unofficial list of airfields, microlite strips and fields that may be used at your own risk for landing out: some of them may be unsuitable for use depending on the time of year, the type of glider you are flying or your skill level. It is your responsibility to determine whether a field is suitable: the description includes obstructions and runway details that were visible with Google Earth when they were added to the database.

    Follow this link for a more detailed description of the database contents and how you customise and install it.

  8. If you're still using Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 to access this website you may find that it wants to save .CUP files with a .HTM extension, which, of course, means that the file won't be recognised by any navigation program. If IE8 is going to do this you'll see the changed file name in the file saving dialogue and can change it back to .CUP before you hit Save. If you missed that and save it with a .HTM extension, just use Windows Explorer's rename dialogue to change the extension back to .CUP before you download the file tp your SD card, Oudie or PNA.

Non-UK Data files

If you need non-UK data files, search these sites:

  1. Either the LK8000 or the XCSoar web site depending on which program you're using.

  2. The Soaring Server. XCSoar uses Cambridge Instruments format turnpoint and airspace files. If you can't find any suitable airfield files, copy mine (referenced above) and modify it to suit, so at least XCSoar will know where your home airfield is.

Installing data files

XCSoar

LK8000

Polars

The programs have a collection of built-in polars which can be added to by using Winpilot format polar files (.plr). Many predefined polars are available from http://www.winpilot.com/polar.asp. If the polar for your glider isn't built in or available from the Winpilot site you'll have to modify a similar file or create your own. Polars are defined in files that conform to the XCSoar polar format.

Put the polar file in the XCSoarData directory, start the program and configure the polar using the 7 Polar page of the Setup System dialogue:

Note: if you're using a file to override a built-in polar the Polar file box will show a name ending in .plr if your file is selected: if the name does not end in .plr you're using a built in polar.

Generating UK turnpoint files under Linux

Wine can be used to run TpSelect, the BGA turnpoint file generator, on a non-Windows computer. Its always advisable to run unrelated applications in separate Wine prefixes so I use .wine_tpselect. There are two tweaks needed:

I launch TpSelect with a small shell script:

#!/bin/bash
export WINEPREFIX="$HOME/.wine_tpselect"
cd $HOME/.wine_tpselect/drive_c/Program\ Files/TpSelect
wine tpselect.exe

TpSelect appears to be fully functional when run this way though, as normal when Wine is used to run Windows applications, it may run a little slower than normal. It checks for updates, retrieves the latest BGA turnpoints file, allows you to select turnpoints or add your own and generates a Cambridge format file that XCSoar uses without complaint. The help system works though it is fairly slow and may pop up a Mozilla firefox error, which can be safely ignored.

Generating OpenAir airspace files under Linux

Both ASSselect and SPINE run successfully under Wine. See the preceding section for details. Initial set-up is the same except that you do not need to install mfc42.dll or set msvcrt.dll to (native,builtin).

SPINE is straight forward. Install it, preferably in its own Wine environment, and run it. Everything works including its self-updating feature.

ASSelect is similar. To install, create an empty Wine environment, Change directory into .wine_prefix/drive_c and use unzip to extract ASSelect.exe from the zip file. Running ASSelect lets you set your home location and preferences and generate an OpenAir file, which is left in drive_c. A new version of ASSelect is issued each time AIS update airspace. To install this, just change directory into .wine_prefix/drive_c and unsip ASSelect.exe over the top of the existing copy and then run it. Your existing preferences etc. are preserved and will be reused.