Airport Design Editor Help ADE DisplayHow do I Add a Background Image?

How do I Add a Background Image?

Background images are used to help layout airports.  These images are not photo scenery and ADE does not compile them into the simulator.  There are a lot of different types of background image that can be used.  These can be images taken from something like Google Earth or perhaps a published airport layout diagram.  The important thing is that these need to be in a recognized image format for ADE to use.  Also it is a good idea to keep the size of images as small as possible,  If you are working on a large airport then consider using several small images rather than a large one

Add the image

Add the image

Right Click > Add Image

  1. Click this button to select the image file
  2. Choose your image file
  3. Click Opem
  1. The file name will be shown in this box
  2. If you have an image where you know the top left and bottom right coordinates then check here
  3. and the coordinate boxes will be open for you to enter the details
  4. Click Save to insert the image into the ADE Display


NOTE  If ADE has difficulties with the size or format of the image file it will issue a warning.and won't load the file.  In this case check the format of the file and make sure it is a normal image file such as a jpg, png and so on.  Also look at the size.  If it covers a big area then consider cropping it to a smaller area.

The image is now in ADE - not quite aligned with the airfield yet

Size and align the image

If you have used the coordinates method to place the image then it should be accurately aligned with the airport in ADE.  In many cases you might not have the actual coordinates of the image.  For this case ADE provides a method of sizing and placing the image with respect to the airport.  This is done by identifying an object in the ADE display where the details are accurately know.  Runways are the best for this because they are often the largest features and there dimensions and heading are well known.  We will use this method to set up our image.

  1. First drag the image so that the ADE runway is roughly aligned with the runway in the image
  2. Then make sure the image is selected.  Selected images have a red diagonal X on them
  3. Now right click and select Position Image

Position the image with the Position Image Tool

Position the image with the Position Image Tool

This looks a bit complicated but is divided into two distinct functions:

  1. Controls to size and position the image
  2. Controls to pan or zoom the display
  3. Scale will make the image larger or smaller while maintaining the aspect ratio
  4. Use Width if you just want to change the width of the image without affecting height
  5. This changes height without affecting width
  6. Sometimes images may not be accurately aligned to North and you might need to rotate the image a bit
  7. Move the whole image with respect to the ADE airport
  8. Pan the display - this does not affect the relationship between image and airport
  9. Zoom the display in or out



It can take a little while and be a bit fiddly but the  ADE runway is now aligned with the image.  

Lock the image now so that you don't accidentally move it!

and save the project before doing anything else.



Francis C Lotocki

How do I remove the image when I am finished with it?

Jon Masterson

Select it an click Delete. If it is locked then you need to first unlock it via the right click menu

Alvaro Escorcia

Using ADE I added a background image obtained with SbuilderX 64 bits from a google image server. All looks OK in the SDE project.
My problem is that the BGL's created by ADE do which I put in the scenery folder of FSX do not put the background image. Do I have to put the image file separately, since I understand the image is not complied into the BGL's by ADE?

Jon Masterson

Background images in ADE are used only to help position airport elements. They are not compiled. For photo scenery you will need to use something like SBuilderX


problem rezise image!

Jon Masterson

OK but you need to explain what problem otherwise we cannot help


My problem is that placing the image the following error is please resize image But there remain good


speaks Spanish ? Use translator might not understand me

Jon Masterson

I think the best place to get help is on the support forum at Some of the folks there will speak Spanish

Phil Suter

Hi John, I stopped playing FSX some years ago because of the constant app hangs but bought the steam version on offer to give it a try and it is superb, so since I was a ADE pro subscriber I downloaded ADE and have started my own airport projects using ADE and I am well pleased, my question is this when using Plan G3 most large airports have a map of the airport show rough outlines of the taxiways and runways etc, is it possible to do such a thing with ADE? regards

Jon Masterson

Thanks for the feedback Phil, However I am not quite sure what you mean by rough outlines. Do you mean fuzzy edges or something else?

Phil Suter

No John, in Plan G V3, when going to an airport you can see a image on the plan G map of the airport map showing taxiways and terminals etc, when I made my own airport using ADE the map in plan G only shows the ILS images, this may not be the fault of ADE but maybe Plan G I shall have to check this out, I have started to make the Airport which used to be near me, but now closed EGSY Sheffield, though it is still present in FSX, into an International Airport using ADE and it is superb, Im so pleased with the results, thanks for a wonderful piece of kit (ADE)

Fabio Ferrari

Hi i follow this discussion and i replied same the procedure, but when i compile the file in the scenery folder, i don't see the background under the afcad scenery. Why?

Jon Masterson

As per the paragraph at the top of this article ADE uses background images as a template for placing airport facilities and scenery objects. It is not compiled into the Sim. If you want photo scenery then you need to use a different tool

Ian P

Does ADE support transparency with .png files, Jon? I'm trying to overlay an airport diagram on top of photo images, to align and create missing taxiways/paths. Unfortunately, because the areas of a .png, .tif or .gif that I have applied a transparency to appear as solid colour in ADE, I can't do that.

Jon Masterson

Sorry for the delay - I have been away. I need to check. In some situations ADE allows transparency and others not. I don't think this includes background images

Tom Perry

I added an image. It worked fine, except that in ver 1.75, once I pulled the image to the front, I couldn't send it to the back, and I couldn't see any of the items I had created in the airport. So I exited, assuming maybe that would help. When I opened it again, even though the image shows up in the list and says it's visible, it's gone and not visible. I can center on the image with list but it's gone.

I finally figured out how to upgrade to ADE 1.76.6715. I'm still having the same problem. Is this a known bug?


Tom Perry

I fixed it by copying the image file to the same directory and then adding a new image to the project. The original image is still listed. I haven't attempted to bring the image to the front and back yet (I'm scared ;) ). But when I reopen the file the image is visible.

Jon Masterson

For more help with this please ask on the support forum at

John Burtenshaw

Would it possible to add into a later version the ability to "pin" a corner of the background image so it could be resized by moving another corner. I've seen it in another FS Scenery programme and its very useful to have.

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