BACKGROUND – An Almost Perfect Flight Simulator 

With multiple training solutions, the Training & Simulation business of Thales supports civil security operators as well as French and international armed forces in the preparation of their missions, whether in the air, on land, or at sea.

With more than 900 employees and an international presence in 4 countries (France, UK, Australia, and Germany), the Training & Simulation business designs and develops simulators and training services for its French and international customers. Thales simulators are in operation in over 50 countries.

Thales develops Full Flight Simulators that are designed to replicate the cockpit and the cabin of actual aircrafts to provide pilots a visual feeling of being in an aircraft. Motion and visual systems that help create realistic environments needed by the pilots. The visual systems are designed to offer them satellite imagery quality 180-degree view. The core of flight simulation lies in the creation of illusion, offering the pilots a real-life experience.

CHALLENGE – Better Imagery to Enhance Flight Simulation Experience 

Database quality is a key element, which adds value to the simulation solution. End users are indeed mostly military organizations, with high-quality standards. The only way to upgrade the database was by changing the satellite imagery background layer.

Therefore, Thales was expecting: 

  • To select a global imagery basemap that would offer a better user experience to all customers by supplying a coherent, color balanced and seamless view of the world.  
  • To work with a supplier who understands their needs in terms of data specifications and quality requests. 

SOLUTION – An Off-the-Shelf Unique Basemap 

PlanetObserver based its response on PlanetSAT Global off-the-shelf imagery basemap that is constantly updated. This imagery basemap with 15m resolution (also available at 10m resolution) offers unrivaled seamless visual quality.

Implementing an off-the-shelf basemap would help save development and production cost. Thales would also benefit from a product that had already proved successful in other similar flight solutions, such as flight planning and real-time aircraft navigation applications.

The project started with a testing phase. For that purpose, PlanetObserver delivered large-scale product samples. Thales was able to conduct product evaluation internally and assess the benefits of the global imagery basemap.

It is important to stress that PlanetObserver was selected from several different options. However, our expertise in satellite imagery processing and mosaicking, and the high-quality level we strive for, made the difference.

RESULTS – A Realistic Experience for Pilots 

By implementing PlanetSAT Global imagery basemap, Thales solutions offer the possibility to provide a better user experience. The visual quality of the imagery basemap helps create realistic environments and near real-world experience for the pilots. It also offers an enhanced virtual environment with hyper-realistic 3D landscapes.

« We selected PlanetObserver global imagery basemap to create a new virtual World Database for Thales Full Flight Simulators. The product met our main criteria which were: enhanced color quality of the imagery, up-to-date data, and standard formats ready-to-use in our solutions. »  

Muriel Amouroux-Fousse Manager, Thales Training & Simulation 

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