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Orbx FTX: AU Canberra, Cityscape Canberra
For FSX/P3D Published by Orbx
Reviewed by Andrew Godden
December 2013


Every so often a flight simulator add-on comes along which, for the sheer magnitude of the scope of the project alone, you cannot help but marvel and be impressed. Orbx FTX: AU Canberra, Cityscape Canberra is one such project. With over 100 custom models for major points of interest across a coverage area of approximately 466 square kilometres (180 square miles), the herculean nature of this project becomes apparent. Certainly a labour of love for the developer, Maurizio Giorgi, and one which has taken three years to complete.

Location and History

Canberra is the capital city of Australia, the seat of the Australian government, and is located in the Australian Capital Territory, 280 km (170 mi) southwest of Sydney, and 660 km (410 mi) northeast of Melbourne. It is an entirely planned city with construction commencing in 1913, some 12 years after Federation. The seat of the Australian government, which was temporarily located in Melbourne, finally moved to Canberra in 1927 with the opening of the provisional Parliament House.

Availability and Installation

FTX: AU Canberra, Cityscape Canberra is available from the FlightSim Store as a 'download only' product (a master back-up CD/DVD service is offered for a minor additional cost). It is priced at AU$32.95, or the equivalent on currency cross rates. The file size of 1.7GB, whilst quite large, is reasonable considering the detail and quality of the scenery and it requires approximately 1.7GB of HDD space for installation. A key code is issued and used during installation.

The installation process is easy and intuitive and the scenery installs seamlessly as part of the FTX: Australia or FTX: AU Blue products, either of which, you must have installed. As with any Orbx product, it is highly recommended that after installing the product you install or reinstall the latest version of the Orbx Scenery Libraries (ORBXLIBS).


As part of the installation, a 17 page User Manual is provided in Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf) that is accessible from the FTX Central application. Other than providing an overview of FTX: AU Canberra, Cityscape Canberra, it also provides comprehensive information on the following:
    ● manual scenery library configuration;
    ● quick reference FSX/P3D settings;
    ● recommended FSX/P3D slider scenery settings; and
    ● autogen density slider settings.

Scenery Coverage

The scenery coverage FTX: AU Canberra, Cityscape Canberra is nothing short of incredible. Covering more than just the city CBD and major points of interest, such as Parliament House, the Australian War Memorial, and other major government buildings, Cityscape Canberra extends to cover the residential districts from Belconnen and Gunghahlin in the north to Woden Valley in the south and from Queanbeyan in the east to Molonglo Valley and Weston Creek in the west. This represents a coverage area of approximately 466 square kilometres (180 square miles) and this entire area is covered by 60cm resolution photorealistic scenery and a 5m DEM resolution mesh.

The urban areas of Canberra are organised into a hierarchy of districts, town centres, group centres, local suburbs, as well as other industrial areas and villages. Of the seven urban districts, six are covered in the coverage area of Cityscape Canberra. Cityscape Canberra is designed to blend seamlessly with Orbx's FTX: AU YSCB Canberra Airport, but can be used stand alone with either FTX: Australia or FTX: AU Blue.

The Google Earth image below shows the extent of the coverage area of FTX: AU Canberra, Cityscape Canberra.

Coverage Area

Level of Detail

The level of detail in FTX: AU Canberra, Cityscape Canberra is astonishing to the point of unbelievable. There are very few, if any, add-on scenery products which have been meticulously annotated to this scale, tree by tree and building by building. Cityscape Canberra has over 100 custom models for the major buildings and points of interest in the coverage area. Now this might not seem terribly impressive, if not for the fact Canberra is an architect's paradise.

Canberra CBD 1

Canberra CBD 2

Canberra CBD 3

All major capital and government buildings are represented with the Canberra CBD defined with extreme accuracy. The iconic Lake Burley Griffin and it's surrounding shoreline, with the Captain James Cook Memorial and the National Carillon, the Australian-American Memorial outside Russell Offices (Australian Defence Force Headquarters), and Black Mountain Tower on Black Mountain are unique features and points of interest included in exquisite detail in FTX: AU Canberra, Cityscape Canberra. Likewise, Scrivener Dam, which creates Lake Burley Griffin, is represented nicely.

Government Precinct 1

Government Precinct 2

Government Precinct 3

Russell & Lake Burley Griffin

In the surrounding urban districts, all the major shopping centres, hospitals, and industrial areas are represented to the same high level of detail. Using Google Earth and the 'Street View' feature, the placement and alignment of these appeared near perfect.

Woden Business District

Woden Valley & Weston Creek

Belconnen Business District


Fyshwick Industrial Area

Queanbeyan West Industrial Area

Having been a resident of Canberra for a number of years, I am very familiar with the city and area covered by FTX: AU Canberra, Cityscape Canberra. After spending quite a few hours exploring this product, I can honestly say, within the context of FSX scenery, this was very much like revisiting the city. The detail gave me the sense of actually being there and being outside the uniquely designed buildings, including where I used to work. The 60cm resolution of the photorealistic base scenery also meant I was able to physically identify houses in which I actually lived in Chapman and Giralang and the 3-D models for both of these properties were oriented accurately. This level of accuracy and detail easily facilitates VFR navigation for those who enjoy that type of flying.

Royal Military College, Duntroon

Australian Institute of Sport

ANZAC Avenue

Black Mountain

The night lighting effects, as with other Orbx products, are excellent and individual buildings displayed unique lighting effects.

Night Lighting 1

Night Lighting 2

Night Lighting 3
Quality of Buildings

This is a product resplendent in detail and quality. FTX: AU Canberra, Cityscape Canberra has not cut any corners in one area at the expense of another. The same level of exceptional quality already seen in the product overall is also evident in the quality of the buildings.

Parliament House

High Court of Australia & National Gallery of Australia

Australian War Memorial 1

Australian War Memorial 2

Captain James Cook Memorial Water Jet

National Carillon

When you boast over 100 custom models in a product, it automatically creates an exceptionally high expectation and FTX: AU Canberra, Cityscape Canberra delivers both in the CBD and government precincts, and the surrounding urban district areas. What's more, Cityscape Canberra does this without any superfluous "eye candy" to distract the flight simmer from areas of less detail.

National Library of Australia

Old Parliament House 

Australian Defence Force HQ - Russell Offices 1

Australian Defence Force HQ - Russell Offices 2

Overall, the detail of individual buildings are incredibly accurate, in both their geographical positioning and physical size and scale. A comparative review of images from FTX: AU Canberra, Cityscape Canberra, Google Earth, and images researched on the internet clearly demonstrates the incredible level of accuracy and detail represented in Cityscape Canberra.

John Gorton Building - Department of Finance

Edmund Barton Building - Australian Federal Police

Black Mountain Tower

Scrivener Dam

Whilst the scale and representation of specific building models is exceptional overall, two notable exceptions were the original provisional parliament building, now known as Old Parliament House, and the current Parliament House, which is built on Capital Hill in a partially earth covered design. The former appeared disproportionately large whilst the latter appeared under scaled, particularly the facades. The enormous spire that tops the edifice that is Parliament House, also has the Australian Flag flying from it 24 hours a day in the real world and whilst the representation of the spire is excellent, the flag is not present.

Two omissions I personally considered obvious were 'Yarralumla', Government House, the official residence of the Governor-General, the representative Head of State of Australia, and 'The Lodge', the official residence of the Prime Minister of Australia. Both of these imposing residences are only represented by generic 3-D models.

Technical Requirements

With the exception of requiring either FTX: Australia or FTX: AU Blue installed, there are no other stated, specific system technical requirements, other than a system capable of running FSX. The FTX: AU Canberra, Cityscape Canberra User Manual provides some excellent advice on the various scenery slider settings for a range of hardware specifications that will maximise the performance of the software and FSX.


FTX: AU Canberra, Cityscape Canberra performed excellently within the existing settings I have in FSX. I have my frame rate locked at 30 frames per second with most of my settings set high to very high and there was no need to make any adjustments to compensate for performance issues. There was some marginal impact on frame rate performance, but this was no more than I have experienced with detailed default FSX scenery. Having said that though, and as I have mentioned earlier in this review, paying heed to the relevant sections in the User Manual should avoid any disappointment and provide optimum performance for your particular system.

Value for Money

Normally, I am conservative in my comments regarding Value for Money due to it being difficult to assess and often subjective, depending on the user. In this case though, FTX: AU Canberra, Cityscape Canberra is considered excellent in the Value for Money stakes. For coverage area, and the shear level of detail and the quality of the buildings, you definitely get your monies worth. When coupled with FTX: AU YSCB Canberra Airport, it raises the value stakes further and is a scenery add-on that you will want to have and you will not be disappointed.

Review Computer Specifications

The specifications of the computer on which the review was conducted are as follows:
    ● Intel i7 990X Extreme 3.46GHz;
    ● NVidia GTX580, 1536MB graphics;
    ● 12GB Kingston DDR3 2000MHz;
    ● Windows 7, (64bit);
    ● Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX Acceleration; and
    ● additional major add-ons include: Orbx FTX: Australia, Orbx FTX: Global BASE, FS Global 2010, REX Essential Plus Overdrive and
       Ultimate Traffic 2.


Orbx FTX: AU Canberra, Cityscape Canberra is a superb scenery add-on, rich in detail and quality, and Orbx have excelled with this product. It complements FTX: AU YSCB Canberra Airport beautifully and really adds to the experience of flying in this area. With the quality of the 60 cm resolution photorealistic base scenery, this easily facilitates VFR navigation. For anyone who flies in this region regularly or is simply a fan of Orbx products, FTX: AU Canberra, Cityscape Canberra will be an addition to your scenery library you will enjoy having.


     ● Superb quality.
     ● Brilliant level and attention to detail.
     ● Excellent value for money.


     ● Minor perceptions of scale noticed on two prominent buildings.

 Verdict:   silver
• Scenery Coverage: 10/10
• Level of Detail: 10/10
• Quality of Buildings: 9.5/10
• Performance: 10/10
• Value for Money: 10/10
Mutley’s Hangar score of 9.9/10, "Outstanding" and a Mutley's Hangar Gold Award.