Here are some images of Sassolungo, a short but spectacular range of summits in the Italian Dolomites. The highest summit is at 46°31'30" N, 11°44'07" E and all the views is from the south east.
The first image was extracted from a photograph, taken in 2004 by Petter Bjørstad from Marmolada. For better clarity, some of the screenshots that follow have been taken from closer, but from the same angle. From its distance of 17km, I was unable to get FS2004 to create an accurate view from Marmolada. In the photograph, the tops of the mountains in the distance can be seen but these are not properly mapped by the virtual images. The cloud and haze in the middle distance, behind the Sassalungo summits, is also not reflected in the virtual images.
The next image was derived from Google Earth in April 2006. The topography is poor and the satellite imagery is affected by local cloud cover.
The next image was also derived from Google Earth,but in January 2007 after a major terrain update. The difference in the topography is evident. All the summits can be matched with the summits on the photograph.
The next image was derived from Microsoft Virtual Earth. The topography is poor; justics is only done to the feature on the left. The major feature on the right almost ceases to exist. On the other hand, the high resolution imagery is good.
The next image was derived from Italy Explorer. The topography and imagery are better but the range still appears as a continuous ridge rather than prominent summits. The text can be helpful but can also be rather messy.
There follow several flight simulator shots.
The first shot is from the default mesh provided by Microsoft. Quite simply, it is as if Sassolungo does not exist.
The next shot is from a mesh that has been created using SRTM data with a resolution of 3 arc seconds (3"). For most of the world, meshes like these have created much better scenery, but unfortunately, some areas of very high relief were not mapped. As can be seen, very little of Sassolungo was mapped.
In this third shot, a real difference is seen. It is from a 76m-resolution (level of detail [LOD] 9) mesh created using data that has been created from detailed topographic mapping, with a resolution of 1" (31m x 22m) re-sampled down to 3" (91m x 66m). The digital models were downloaded from my DEM page.
In the next image, the source data is the same 1" , but retaining its 1" resolution. The improvements are quite noticeable.
In the next image, the mesh resolution was increased from 76m to 19m (LOD9 to LOD11). There are only minor differences, suggesting that it is the resolution of the source data, not the mesh resolution, that really counts.
Finally, Ultimate Terrain Europe was applied. As with most Alpine mountain shots, it does not make a significant difference, but in areas where there are lakes, roads or towns, this product provides improved photo-realism.