XCSoar: generate custom maps


XCSoar is an Open Source software for tactical glide computer: run it on any PDA/Smartphone/eBook and you have a powerfull computer for sailplane, paradlider and hang glider. (see previous post about adding a GPS to an eReader)

Generated map can be downloaded here

The geo file format used by XCSoar are:

  • elevation geotiff raster with altitude encoded (custom format)
  • waypoints
  • airspace
  • any shapefile

We will use the latest to add custom geo referenced information on XCSoar (in this case, paragliding skyways from thermal.kk7)

Software requirement

 Processing files

#remove and create temp folder for file processing
rm -rf tmp/; mkdir tmp/
#convert PNG+PGW to GeoTiff and resize for faster processing (resize to any % or none)
gdal_translate ./skyways_all.png tmp/skyways_all.tif -outsize 50% 50%
#vectorize contour to shapefile red layer
gdal_contour tmp/skyways_all.tif tmp/skyways_all_r.shp -i 50 -b 1
#vectorize contour to shapefile green layer
gdal_contour tmp/skyways_all.tif tmp/skyways_all_g.shp -i 80 -b 2
#vectorize contour to shapefile blue layer
gdal_contour tmp/skyways_all.tif tmp/skyways_all_b.shp -i 200 -b 3


Visualisation with QGIS

Import from Layer->Add Vector Layer and select your 3 files

Then if everything is fine, save the 3 as Shapefiles:

Place the generated file into the XCM (XCSoar compressed archive map)

Dont forget to edit the topology.tpl to add the names of the new files:

You can edit color (RGB, 0-255)  and transparency (0-255)

The order is important: element are displayed from top to bottom (first to last)


Original raster file, PNG + PGW format.

Generated shapefile maps in XCSoar (desktop version)

Same in XCSoar but eReader version optimised for black and white gray levels.

Generated map can be downloaded here

4 thoughts on “XCSoar: generate custom maps

  1. Hi,
    I am a german gliderpilot using XCSoar.
    I often have to switch my mapfile in XCSoar during flight. This is not so nice and I want to have only one mapfile in my XCSoar.
    Looking for a solution I found your website. I am sorry not understanding all I read. But I hope you can give me a help.
    How to merge some single maps into only one map for using in XCSoar?
    I am using the XXX_HighRes.xcm maps.

    Thank you very much
    and best regards

  2. Hi! I would love to generate custom maps for my Kobo but I am not able to do this (lost brain cells in thermal air, I think)….
    I´ve installed the QGIS-Software and I have Access to the GDAL library bit I don´t know what to do with the “processing files”. Do you have a YouTube tutorial or so? I Need a map of the Alps (Germany, Switzerland and Austria) with the skyways.
    Thanks for your help!

  3. I would love to help you, but as it’s been 2 years now, I’m not very much in it and unfortunately I cannot give you any hint.
    That’s why I made this documentation, in the hope it would be helpfull to someone. Maybe you should reach the XCS forum, they know generating map is PITA.

  4. Hi, i am a paragliding pilot, i would like to get a map of central italy..
    unfortunately there is no way to retreive skyways_all.png..
    all you get is the tiles mosaic, and i am not so good ad puzzles..
    There any way or procedure to get the raster file of the skyways?

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