Quick Start Guide to FalconView Open Source
- 1. Installing FalconView
- 2. Starting & Using FalconView
- 3. Acquiring and Loading Additional Map Data
Quick Start Guide to FalconView Open Source
Follow these instructions to get FalconView running on your PC. Please keep in mind that FalconView 4.2.1 is in a beta phase. Some of the features are still under construction. Keep your hard hat on.
1. Installing FalconView
a. Downloading the Software
Download the FalconView software from the Downloads tab at the top of this page.
b. Running the Installer
First, uninstall any existing version of FalconView. Next, decompress the FalconView install package to a folder. You should see the following items in a folder:
- FalconView (folder)
- SqlExpress2008 (folder)
- WindowsInstaller (folder)
- dotnetfx35 (file)
- Setup (file)
Run the setup file that you see among the contents listed above. This will begin the install process. The install process is typically self-explanatory. Please follow the on-screen prompts. The default options are usually sufficient for most FalconView users. Note that during the install of FalconView prerequisites, you may be prompted to restart your PC.
c. Trouble-shooting MSSQL problems
InstallIssues describes a number of problems installing various versions of FalconView and PFPS.
2. Starting & Using FalconView
a. First-time Startup
The first time you start FalconView, FalconView will perform its initial coverage generation. This is the process by which FalconView catalogs the map data that comes with FalconView (see the section below on the Map Data Manager). After the coverage generation appears, the main FalconView window will be displayed. (You may be prompted by Windows that Windows Firewall is blocking some features of FalconView. You must select "Unblock" to allow all features of FalconView to work.)
b. Look at the Online Help
FalconView has exhaustive help that summarizes key features and how to use them. From the FalconView main window, press F1 to access built-in FalconView help.
c. Navigating Maps
When you first start FalconView, You will have the main window with only a few broad area maps which we refer to as TIROS, from the name of the satellite that first produced this imagery. You will have a series of "Static overlays" which you can toggle on or off using the "Overlay" menu and a group of "Editors" which you can activate using the "Tools" menu or the Editor Toolbar buttons on the top of window.
You will not have much data available at this time. We will discuss adding map data later in this document but for now you can move around on the limited data you have.
The easiest way to navigate FalconView maps is to use your arrow keys to pan the map and the page up / page down keys to scale in and out. The mouse may also be used to pan the map and the mouse wheel can scale in and out on a point. The main toolbar (below) also contains many map navigation features. The best thing to do is to play with the map some to get a feel for the capabilities.
- Pan the map:
- Use the Keyboard arrows to pan north south east west.
- Use the arrows in the tool bar to pan
- Press the "Hand" tool in the menu bar to then click on the map to grab it and drag the map by moving the mouse (Pressing the space bar while clicking on the map will also grab it).
- Double Click on the map to center on that location.
- Scale in and out on the map:
- Press Page Up to scale "in" to a larger scale or Page Down to Scale Out to a smaller scale. Notice that the map will recenter wherever your mouse pointer is located allowing you to scale in to a desired location.
- Use the "In" and "Out" button on the toolbar
- Roll the mouse wheel forward to scale in or back to scale out.
- Choose a particular map scale from the Map Menu or using the "Map Tabs Bar" on the bottom of the window. (You may need to toggle the map tabs on under the "View" menu)
d. Creating an Overlay
One conceptually simple Editor is the "Drawing Editor" you invoke it by selecting "Tools->Drawing Editor". This will place a toolbar on the right hand side of the window which allows you to add lines, text, polygons and other geographically referenced data.
The resulting data can be saved as a ".drw" file by selecting "File->Save". The resulting file can then be shared with other FalconView users. You also have the ability to save the Drawing File as a "Shape File" using the options under "Save As...". A shape File can be used in most other GIS applications.
3. Acquiring and Loading Additional Map Data
a. Introducing the FalconView MapDataManager
One of the primary features of FalconView is its Map Management tools which have been designed to allow users to catalog and use very large sets of map data. Data is set up using the Map Data Manager which is available under "Tools->Map Data Manager". You need to add a path to the location of your map data (using the "Paths" tab). In the examples below, you need to add a path to x:\Map Data.
Each type of map data is storred in a different subdirectory under the primary map data path. In the case of GeoTIFF or MrSID files you can point to the folder that has the files in it but most of the time you organize your data in different subdirectories. For for instance if you added a path in the Map Data Manager to x:\Map Data, then it would look like:
x:\Map Data x:\Map Data\GeoTIFF file1.tif file2.tif ... x:\Map Data\MrSID file1.sid file2.sid file3.sid ...
FalconView reads many DoD standard data formats and they normally are stored in the same directory structure in which NGA distributes the data on CD. For instance, CADRG and CIB formats look like the following, where the files are broken down by product and then by RPF Zone numbers:
x:\MapData\RPF\ x:\MapData\RPF\clfc\1\ 006f5043.lf1 006f6043.lf1 006f7043.lf1 ... x:\MapData\RPF\clfc\2\ 000gr043.lf2 ...
If you download individual DTED (Digital Terrain Elevation Data) tiles (.dt1, .dt2, .dt3), you will have to add them to the correct place in your map path. DTED is broken down into directories by the longitude:
x:\MapData\DTED\w084 n31.dt1 n32.dt1
(Most DoD users never have to look at the directory structure of most map types because they copy the data from CD using the map data manager. In this case they insert the CD and let FalconView find and catalog the data on the CD. They use the single or multiple tab to select a region to copy. Pressing the copy button automatically copies the data into the desired directory structure on their PC.)
If, for some reason, you need to manually copy data into an existing map data path, you will need to perform a "data check" by selecting the path in the map data manager and pressing the "Data Check" button. This will update the FalconView catalog of your map data.
b. Using Web Mapping Servers for Maps
c. Downloading Sample Datasets
Sample datasets are available from the Downloads tab at the top of this page.