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Resource Usage

Page history last edited by David-Taylor 8 years, 7 months ago

Bev posted these notes in the Plane Plotter Yahoo group recently to help those with more modest PCs.  He writes...


I thought it might be helpful, in the light of recent comments about the demands made on processing power, to suggest a few ways that you can minimise those demands in Plane Plotter.  If you experience sluggish behaviour in the Plane Plotter user interface, it will pay you to look closely at your various settings, to see what you can change, to reduce the load.  These are only suggestions and if you are not experiencing any signs of strife, then you can ignore them all.



Chart Area

A significant part of the load is related to the number of active aircraft.  That depends partly on the number of aircraft you are receiving with your own receiver, of course, but it also depends on the number of aircraft acquired by sharing.  If you reduce the geographical area covered by the chart, or outline, on the screen, then the number of aircraft downloaded will be reduced.  This, in turn, will eventually reduce the demands made on the processor.  It will also reduce your Internet bandwidth, which also might be important if you are on an upload/download limited service, or if you are using a PAYG (pay as you go) mobile service.

Omit/Delete times

Similarly, the number of active aircraft can become unnecessarily  large if you have very long Omit/Delete times.  Keeping those times short, will remove obsolete plots and hence save processing power.  Options..Chart..Options.

Chart symbols

When the option to make more creative aircraft symbols was introduced, I made the point that it will increase the processing load, especially if you have lots of aircraft on display.  Simply deleting all the files called planesymbol[*].txt from the application directory, will cause PP to revert to the original arrow-like symbols with a significant saving on processor load.

Log files

Depending on the type of receiver, Plane Plotter may offer two or three different log file formats.  Each one will add something to the processing load so turning them off, if you don't need them, will reduce the load somewhat.  I often smile when people complain about massive log files that they did not want, when turning them off is one click.  Options..I/O settings and File..Report..Setup.


I have been surprised at the number of users who have enabled Google-Earth and TCP servers but who make no use of those features.  The G-E server, in particular, is very thirsty of processing power, so unless you are actually using Google-Earth as a display means, turn that server off in Options..I/O settings.

Similarly, if you are not using DDE output or sending local UDP traffic to some other user (by arrangement) then disable those two options in Options..I/O settings.  It may be that some users mistakenly think that they have to enable UDP output to make Mlats and Hypersharing work.  They don't.  Turn them off unless you need them.

Database size

The time it takes to consult the registration/type database (e.g. BaseStation.sqb) is related to how large the file has become.  For reasons that I do not understand, some users have BaseStation.sqb files that are large enough to contain the world's entire airline fleet several times over.  I think they must have enabled some sort of session logging so that all the aircraft appear in the database many times over.  Purging such files may not be easy but it would be worth pointing PP to some alternative, more modest, database file (remember that you can switch around which file PP uses for this purpose) to see if it makes a difference to the performance.  Options..Directories..SQB database

Other stuff going on

There are two kinds of "other stuff":

Programs that interact with Plane Plotter


Programs that interact with Plane Plotter, either directly or indirectly can increase the processing load.  With an external script controlling PP through the OLE/COM interface, it would be possible to make it work very hard indeed.  The scripts that Curt and others have kindly made available, are aware of this and exercise appropriate restraint in what they ask PP to do.  Other scripts and home brew modifications to the available scripts may not be so considerate.

Given that PP interacts with the registration/type database (e.g. BaseStation.sqb), then intensive manipulation of that database by some other application, could slow PP down considerably.  You could test this hypothesis by making a copy of the database and pointing PP to the one that the other application is not accessing.  Options..Directories..SQB database.


Applications that do not interact with Plane Plotter


Applications that do not interact with Plane Plotter at all, can still absorb considerable resources, leaving insufficient left for PP to do its work.  The Task Manager is your friend here.  It will show you what each task is consuming.  I was astonished just this afternoon to see that Windows Explorer (explorer.exe) was absorbing 50% of the CPU time when all it was doing was displaying a directory.  Apparently, if you have the icon/preview displayed in a directory listing, some file types cause Windows Explorer to try to read the whole file looking for an icon or preview.  If it is a large file (e.g. video), it can take forever.  This phenomenon happens when you have those files on view in Explorer, without actually doing anything useful with them.  Closing idle windows can sometimes make a big difference.



Others may wish to add to these suggestions but I hope this introduction might resolve the difficulty of some users of more modest machines, to continue to enjoy PP.

If you are just driving your Fiat 500 to the corner shop, unhitch the caravan from the tow ball before you go.



Suggestion for Kinetic SBS-1 BaseStation software


David Taylor notes: you can dramatically reduce the CPU load of the SBS BaseStaion software by editing the BaseStation.ini to include, in the [DrawingSettings] section:



I recall that 1 is the default.


Suggestion for routes lookup


To minimise resource usage, you could consider using the pre-compiled flight route data available here:




It's usually updated twice a week, and has quite a lot of manual input as well as automatically derived data.  Using it saves you CPU power and network I/O.  From David Taylor.

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