Comparing Landclass addons is a labour intensive task. I visited eight areas that I have been to myself and photographed recently. My findings were surprising and I had much hoped for a different conclusion, but here it is:
1) The quality and accuracy of all landclass products and the default scenery can’t be trusted. They are very inconsistent to say the least;
2) Prepar3D has replaced much of the FSX landclass for Europe, but in terms of accuracy it isn’t necessarily an improvement;
3) Ultimate Terrain X wasn’t as accurate as I had initially thought, still best of the bunch, although it just covers half of Europe;
4) Neither SceneryTech Landclass Europe or Cloud9’s XClass Europe will give you geographic accurate landclass for Europe, but XClass looked better to my eye by a hair. What these landclass products do is add more variety to the default FSX scenery.
So when the time comes to install FTX Global I will do the following:
1) Set up FSX with Ultimate Terrain X and XClass. SceneryTech will be uninstalled.
2) AS for Prepar3D I’d say it does the job just as good as the dedicated landclass products, so they aren’t really needed.
For anyone interested in flying in a geographic accurate simulator world there isn’t really a good product out there. The landclass addons aren’t really needed, and if I had known what I know now I would never had bought SceneryTech or XClass. However, if you don’t care about realism they will add a bit more variety to the drab default FSX landscape and make looking out the window a bit more enjoyable. Looking through the set of screenshots it is apparant that at least one product hits a home run for each area, meaning that realistically it is possible to create a fairly accurate landclass addon even with the restrictions the default scenery grid system and limited selection of textures. The freeware scenery FinlandX shows how it can be done for some countries with a large degree of automation by converting real world data to polygons, hence avoiding the FSX grid system.