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Aerial View HUD

Just what is that town down below?
  [vote for,

When I travel by air on a clear day, I like to get a window seat (despite being very tall), and enjoy the view. Often I see a body of water or town or large building below and end up wondering: "What is that?" Unless you're Rain Man and have memorized the entire atlas, the question will go unanswered.

Many planes (particularly trans-oceanic flights) have a view on the in-flight video that shows where the plane is, but it only provides a rough idea. Lets take this obviously GPS-driven idea one step further.

Take those map databases that are already common in car navigation systems, and cut out all the minute detail. Just leave names of neighborhoods, towns, large buildings, geographical features--all of the things that are clearly visible from the air. Put this data on a DVD-ROM in the plane, and tie it into the GPS similar to existing systems.

My original idea was that it would be displayed in "Heads Up Display" (HUD) form overlaid directly on the window of each seat. So you would see the captions "floating" right over what you were looking at. However I realize that this would be very expensive, and probably wouldn't work too well in bright sunlight anyway.

So just mount two webcams (right-hand and and left-hand views) in forward windows or in a fairing on the outside of the plane. Overlay the map data, feed them into the in-flight video system, and allow the person to choose them as channels from their seat. (If you haven’t flown recently, per-seat video is increasingly common on modern planes).

This would have the additional advantage that you could see out either side of the plane and the folks in the middle of the plane (or on a wing, etc) could still get a view out a (virtual) window. Great for those times when your chatty pilot points something out, but you aren't seated on the correct side of the plane to see it.

I wrote this one as a result of my objection to "Cityname Light Beacons" (see link). This has the advantage of not polluting the skies with light, and working day or night.

krelnik, Nov 01 2002

Cityname Light Beacons http://www.halfbake...e_20Light_20Beacons
I objected to the light pollution of this idea by [BartJan], hence this solution [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

HUDs originated in military jets, I believe http://www.howstuffworks.com/f-154.htm
Link for snarfyguy [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Still looks like a related idea http://www.halfbake...7s-eye_20viewscreen
[DrCurry, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

What's That Hill http://www.halfbake...7s_20That_20Hill_3f
the ground-based version by [Mickey the Fish] [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

AirTrack by Lufthansa http://www.lufthans...irTrack_Content.xml
Not in HUD form, but the data display part appears to be baked now. [krelnik, Jun 07 2005]

Fly Delta app for iPad "glass bottom jet" feature http://mashable.com...p-glass-bottom-jet/
Also baked by Delta airlines. [krelnik, Jan 14 2013]

Airbus filed for patent on the window HUD version http://www.flyertal...-of-the-future.html
(Compare with fourth paragraph of this idea) [krelnik, Apr 01 2015]


       Sorry, what is HUD (Google did not enlighten me)? I like the idea.
snarfyguy, Nov 01 2002

       "Heads Up Display"....it's in there, I'll make it more obvious. Also see link for early uses of HUDs.
krelnik, Nov 01 2002

       Merged, how? This display will float the name of the city on the screen right over your view of it. What more do you need?
krelnik, Nov 01 2002

       Given the current propensity of certain people to fly airplanes into clearly identified large buildings, I don't see some aspects of this going very far until the world has been made a safer place (if and when).   

       Having said that, you should be able to do this yourself with a little research before your trip and a decent map or fifteen. (Interestingly, the amateur pilots I know all tend to follow Interstates for navigation, so road maps might well suffice.)   

       Some of the most thrilling sights I've seen have been from airplanes - the Alps breaking through the clouds on the way to Milan, Los Angeles at night, the Rockies, etc. (And I remember straining to see the Niagara Falls, but not being able to, from being on the wrong side of the airplane.)   

       If you put together a web site for sight-seeing on common plane routes, I would be sure to visit it before flying. You could couple it with a guide to which side of the airplane you should sit on to get the best views.   

       [Btw, didn't someone suggest an exterior view cam for airplanes before?]
DrCurry, Nov 01 2002

       //to fly airplanes into clearly identified large buildings//   

       I see no sense in this comment at all.   

       How would a system like this, which is available to the passengers only, help a hijacker who would need to be in the cockpit? And if they have enough training to take over control of the plane, why would they even need this? The cockpit has a much better view and much better instruments than this would provide.
krelnik, Nov 01 2002

       Yeah, and I still don't see the Federal government allowing you to label buildings.
DrCurry, Nov 01 2002

       //didn't someone suggest an exterior view cam//   

       Yes, "Pilot's-eye viewscreen" which is in this category (see upper right), but it was just a simple camera with no labeling. (And also is baked, unlike this idea).   

       //put together a web site for sight-seeing on common plane routes//   

       That's "Scenic Air Routes" also available in this category as a link at upper right.
krelnik, Nov 01 2002

       How about a GPS-linked map, projected onto the clouds below?
phoenix, Nov 01 2002

       Neat, phoenix! But isn't there an inherent Catch-22 there? If there are enough clouds to project a good image, there's probably nothing else visible.
krelnik, Nov 01 2002

       Before reading this idea, i just posted this annotation at City Beacons, 'recycling' the wasted light;   

       "In line of your annotation [krelnik], which I support, it should be created with the light that's allready been wasted. Recycling of light. Blocks of houses in formation of the city's name. And even better, especially here in Holland, the greenhouses waste so much light in such a bright way, that it allso could be used that way."
BartJan, Nov 01 2002

       Mostly baked, but still a bit doughy in the middle - on a recent BA flight to NY, one of the TV channels was flight info, and showed the craft's position on maps of various scales (but only showing detail of "land/sea" and "this dot is Philadelphia, this dot is New York" level). Nonetheless, it was quite good.
friendlyfire, Nov 01 2002

       Yes, I mention that in the second paragraph of the idea, ff. It's quite common. But the two changes I'm proposing here are: (1) more detail and (2) integrate it with a video view out the side of the plane.
krelnik, Nov 01 2002

       I've always wanted some kind of super-imposed map over the windows of airplanes, but matching the view with the maps is pretty much impossible. I like your idea, [krelnik]! Have some bread...
XSarenkaX, Nov 01 2002

       On a recent trip, can't remember if it was Emirates or Singapore Airlines they have a forward looking camera near the nose somewhere.   

       When you are sitting for loading to complete you can see them running around kicking the tires and throwing your Prada luggage on the ground.   

       You can watch as he follows the blue taxiway line and lines up on the runway.   

       But once in the air it only looked straight ahead which got a bit boring, it would be better angled down a bit.   

       On that aircraft the display came up on one of the multi video channels available at each seat.   

       A map would be nice but usually there is one in the in flight magazine and it is sort of fun to calculate you position using the map and your watch. Sometimes the airline would rather you did not know just where they were taking you, some airlines flew over Afghanistan throughout the wars with the mudj and the Taliban era. Did you know commerical airlines now fly over North Korea? Would you like to discover you were looking down on Pyongyang?
KiwiJohn, Dec 04 2003

       Lufthansa appears to have baked something closely related. Instead of a the cheesy maps seen in current in-flight position displays, it shows satellite photos ala Google Maps. See link.
krelnik, Jun 07 2005

       Delta has also baked a version of this idea in their latest iPad app. Not only can you call up Wikipedia pages and geo-tagged photos on landmarks below the plane, but if your Facebook friends have checked in to locations you are flying over you can see that too. (See link).
krelnik, Jan 14 2013


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