Content Packs Support
Create and share custom bundles of maps, waypoints, procedures, and documents that enhance planning and flying. Share fun places to fly, backcountry strips, seaplane friendly lakes, wildfire locations, company airport information, unsafe airspace, and more!
Content Packs How-To Video
Watch this video to see what Content Packs are all about, from adding your own content to importing and using them in ForeFlight. Scroll to the bottom of this page to download the sample content packs used in the video.
Content Packs are supported for all individual "Plus" plans, Business Performance, and MFB Performance subscription plans.
Watch the video
What are Content Packs?
Content Packs in ForeFlight allow organizations and individuals to create and import bundles of related content that can then be accessed in the app, making it easier to adapt ForeFlight to a variety of specialized uses. Content Pack support is included with all "Plus" subscription plans for individuals, Business Performance, and MFB Performance. This page covers what types of data you can add to a Content Pack, how to create and edit Content Packs, how to import Content Packs, and how to use Content Packs in ForeFlight. Several sample content packs are available for download below to help guide you in creating your own Content Packs.
Sample Content Pack (12.8 MB) - Provides examples of all data types, including notable Texas landmarks and associated Wikipedia pages.
Maine Lighthouses (50 MB) - Shows the location of every lighthouse on the coast of Maine with linked photographs.
Abandoned Airfields (37.7 MB) - Identifies a number of closed or abandoned U.S. airfields and provides related information, including aerial imagery.
UAS Facilities & Restrictions (11.2 MB) - Shows altitude limits around major airports and restricted areas for drone operations in the U.S. Visit this page for more information.
Content Packs support the following types of custom content:
Plates & Airport Diagrams (BYOP): The “Bring Your Own Plates” feature allows you to import PDF files that you can access in the Plates view or in the Airports view under the Procedures tab. Files imported this way behave the same as procedure plates and airport diagrams downloaded through ForeFlight, including support for georeferencing if geospatial PDFs are used.
Map Layers: You can import KML and GeoJSON files to display custom shapes, markers, and labels on the map, and can import MBTiles, FBTiles, and geospatial PDF files to display georeferenced charts and maps.
Navigation Data: You can associate PDF and HTML documents with specific waypoints to allow them to be accessed directly from the map. You can import these types of “rich” waypoints using either KML or CSV files.
Creating Content Packs
The easiest way to create your own content packs is to download one of the sample packs available on this page and modify it as needed, but you can also create a content pack from scratch.
To create a content pack from scratch, make a new folder and name it the name you’d like for your content pack. Inside that folder you will place between one and three sub-folders, each dedicated to a specific type of custom content. At minimum, every content pack must include at least one of the sub-folders, and the folder(s) must use the following names exactly to be recognized by ForeFlight:
“byop” contains procedure plates, airport diagrams, and other PDF files related to specific airports.
“layers” contains georeferenced charts and vector data layers.
“navdata” contains waypoint files and any associated PDF documents.
If you want to customize a content pack's name, version number, and organization name you can add the optional “manifest.json” file alongside the sub-folders within the content pack.
Once the pack's contents are complete, compress the content pack folder into a ZIP file to share or import it into ForeFlight.
byop - Procedure Plates & Airport Diagrams
PDF files imported using BYOP appear in the Airport view’s Procedure tab and in the Plates view. BYOP files imported via content packs use the same naming conventions as standalone BYOP files, which you can learn more about here. BYOP filenames use the following format:
E.g.: “KHOU_Approach_RNAV (GPS) RWY 31L.PDF”
You can omit the procedure type if you want, which will cause the file to be placed in the “Other” category in the Airport Procedures tab.
Standard PDF files without embedded geospatial information cannot show your position on them or be overlayed on the Maps view, but geospatial PDFs support all of ForeFlight's capabilities for georeferenced charts. ForeFlight supports both the Adobe and OGC standards for geospatial PDF files. You can georeference PDF files and export them as geospatial PDFs using a number of different GIS software options, including Avenza MAPublisher, TerraGo Composer, and QGIS, a popular free and open source GIS program.
layers - Georeferenced Charts & Vector Data Layers
Map layers in content packs operate exactly the same as they do on their own, with no required naming conventions. Content packs support the following types of map layer files: MBtiles, FBtiles, geospatial PDF, KML, and GeoJSON. MBtiles, FBtiles, and geospatial PDFs appear at the bottom of the left column in the Maps layer selector, and KML and GeoJSON files appear in the bottom of the right column.
MBtiles are an open source file format developed by MapBox that allows for efficient compression and distribution of large charts. There are a number of tools used to generate .mbtiles files. A good free option is MapTiler, which allows you to import images and PDFs, manually georeference them by aligning them within a coordinate system, and then export them as .mbtiles files.
The MBtiles standard supports both raster and vector maps, but the current implementation in ForeFlight only supports raster maps. If you import and display a file contianing vector data, the part of the chart using vector data (which may be the entire thing) will show hash marks on the map with the words "Unsupported data type".
This video and others in the same playlist will help you get up and running with MapTiler.
FBTiles is a superset of the MBTiles format that adds support for showing and hiding chart margins that typically appear around raster charts, a capability you can access in ForeFlight using the "Map Touch Action" setting found in the Maps Settings menu. This blog post provides an overview of FBtiles, and you can find the full specification here.
Including geospatial PDFs in a Content Pack's "layers" folder will import them as georeferenced charts not associated with any airport, allowing you to access them from the Maps View layer selector like MBtiles and FBtiles.
Vector Data Layers
KML (Keyhole Markup Language) is a common file type used for displaying geographic information. If you want to create your own custom shape files, rather than using pre-built files found online, you will need to build them yourself. There are many programs that allow you to build and export custom map shapes as KML files, one of the simplest being Google’s “My Maps” program. After creating a new map, follow the instructions here to download the map as a KML file.
This video provides a helpful walkthrough of how to use Google My Maps to create layers with points, labels, and shapes. Note: Be sure to check the "Export to a .KML file" option when exporting your map as ForeFlight does not currently support .KMZ files. Not all of the capabilities demonstrated in the video are supported in ForeFlight (see the list of supported data types below), so it's best to limit the contents of your maps to points, lines, shapes, and labels.
Supported Data Types
The full KML standard supports a very large variety of different data types, allowing you to specify things like simple geometries, time-dependent feature, camera perspectives, and even guided tours. A full list of data types supported by KML can be found at the top of Google’s KML developer reference page.
ForeFlight currently supports only a small subset of these data types, contained primarily in the Geometry, StyleSelector, and SubStyle groupings (using the organization defined on the reference page). This is sufficient for creating simple or complex arrangements of shapes, lines, and points with support for labels and icon styles.
Below is the full list of data types that ForeFlight supports. If you import a file that includes elements not listed here, the unsupported elements should be simply ignored by ForeFlight and the rest of the file will display correctly.
- StyleMap (only the "normal" style is supported)
- gx:LabelVisibility (only Google extension namespace currently supported)
The following files provide some examples of the flexibility of vector data layers. You can view the contents of each file by opening them in a simple text editor like TextEdit.
UserMapShapesSample.kml (65 KB) - Demonstrates the supported icon styles and examples of lines, polygons, and circles.
US_Crude_Oil_Pipelines.kml (134 KB) - Basic map showing the network of crude oil pipelines in the US.
US_HGL_Pipelines.kml (71 KB) - Basic map showing the network of HGL pipelines in the US.
Texas_Counties.kml (1.5 MB) - Shows all county borders in the state of Texas.
Alaskan_Coast.kml (3 MB) - Detailed map outlining the state of Alaska. As with other large KML files, there may be a delay of up to a few seconds between tapping on the layer and it appearing on the map as the app works to render the file.
navdata - Custom Waypoints & Documents
Navigation data layers are similar to map layers, but they allow you to associate and access PDF and HTML documents from individual waypoints on the map. The documents and the file(s) containing the waypoints are both placed in the navdata folder. Waypoint files can be either KML or CSV, but only KML files allow custom waypoint styling.
If you import waypoints using a CSV file, each line must be formatted as follows:
PROPERTY_ALPHA,First house to observe,40.588,-80.1295
If no description is entered, you must indicate the empty description column with "". For example:
The document files can be either PDFs or TXT files containing HTML code - files using the .html extension are not currently supported. Every document filename must use the following format to associate it with a waypoint:
“MY_HOUSEStreet View Image.PDF”
The document’s filename must start with the exact name of the waypoint, including case and any underscores, followed immediately by the name of the document as it will appear in ForeFlight. Each document can only be associated with one waypoint, but you can associate multiple documents with the same waypoint. Content packs can also contain documents that aren't associated with any waypoint, in which case they will only be accessible from the content pack's detail view.
Content packs can also include an optional “manifest” file, which provides information about the content pack itself to help identify it and distinguish it from previous versions of the same pack. The manifest is a simple JSON file that includes the pack’s full and abbreviated names, version number, and the organization name. If you don’t include a manifest then ForeFlight will use the Content Pack’s file name and your email by default.
The manifest JSON file has the following structure:
"name": "Sample Content Pack",
You can use a plain text editor to create or modify the manifest file on your computer (make sure the file has the extension .json), or use an online resource like https://jsoneditoronline.org/ to create and download the JSON file.
Importing Content Packs
You can import content packs into ForeFlight via AirDrop, email, iTunes, online hyperlinks, and ForeFlight’s Cloud Documents feature (requires a Pro plan or above). Compress the parent folder into a zip file before sharing it.
Importing via AirDrop
Importing via AirDrop from a nearby Apple computer is fast and convenient, especially if a Wi-Fi network is not available. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi must be enabled on both devices for AirDrop to work.
Command-click on the zipped content pack in your computer's Finder window and hover over the Share menu, click Airdrop, and click on the device in the list that you want to send the file to. A popup on the receiving device will ask which app should open the shared file. Tap "ForeFlight" and the file will be immediately added in More > Custom Content.
Importing via Email
Importing content packs via email is also easy, and allows you to import packs to more than one device at a time.
STEP 1: SEND THE FILE AS AN EMAIL ATTACHMENT
Attach the content pack to an email and send it to whatever recipient(s) you want to have the file (which may be your own email address).
STEP 2: IMPORT THE FILE TO FOREFLIGHT
Open the email in the Apple Mail app and tap-hold on the attachment. After the share modal appears, scroll through the app list in the middle until you reach ForeFlight, then tap "Copy to ForeFlight". This will open ForeFlight and add the content pack in More > Custom Content.
Importing/Hosting via Hyperlink
If you have a content pack hosted somewhere that you want to make available for download in ForeFlight, you can configure the hyperlink to make the content pack download through ForeFlight using this URL scheme: “https://foreflight.com/content?downloadURL=<The URL to the Content Pack location>”. When someone clicks this link on a device that has ForeFlight installed, ForeFlight opens and automatically adds the content pack as a new download in More > Downloads.
Tap this link on an iOS device with ForeFlight installed to see this in action.
Importing via iTunes
Importing content packs via iTunes is slightly more involved than the previous methods, and since it requires a direct USB connection between a computer with the files and the device that the files will be imported to, this method of importing can only be done with one device at a time. The upside of this method is that it can be performed without an internet connection or email access.
Step 1: Connect your device to iTunes
Plug your iPad or iPhone into your computer via the Apple USB cable. Start iTunes on your computer, or wait for it to automatically start.
Step 2: Click on your device name in iTunes
Inside iTunes, click on the icon for your iPad or iPhone. The connected device icon is near the top left of the iTunes screen.
Step 3: Click on the “File Sharing” tab for your device
Inside the window for your device, click on the “File Sharing” tab on the left. It should show all of the apps you have installed on your device. Click on “ForeFlight” in the list.
Step 4: Drag your files into iTunes
On the right, you will see a table called “ForeFlight Documents”. Drag the content pack you want to import into the blank space underneath “ForeFlight Documents". This will open ForeFlight on your iOS device and add the content pack in More > Custom Content.
Importing via Cloud Documents
If you have a Pro subscription plan or above, or a Business Performance or MFB Performance plan, you can import content packs into ForeFlight or share them with all the pilots on your account using a linked cloud storage account like Dropbox, Box, or Amazon S3.
To import via Cloud Documents, add a folder named “contentpack” inside the folder you use to import documents to ForeFlight:
- Dropbox: ~/Dropbox/Apps/ForeFlight/contentpack/
- Box: ~/Box Sync/ForeFlight/contentpack/
- Amazon S3: folder is selected at the time of account linkage, so add the “contentpack” folder inside that one
Once the “contentpack” folder is created, copy or move any zipped content packs you want to import into that folder. Any content packs placed in the “contentpack” folder will automatically appear as available for download inside the app in More > Downloads.
Note: Individual files imported via Cloud Documents, including zipped Content Packs, must be below 500MB in size.
Using Content Packs
Once a Content Pack is imported to ForeFlight it appears in More > Custom Content. Tap on it to view its details and component files. You can tap on document and BYOP files to view them directly, and tap the Send To Map button next to chart and map files to load them on the map.
The contents of a pack cannot be shared or deleted individually, but you can share the pack as a whole using the Send To button in the top right, and delete it using the Delete button at the bottom of the page.