Last week I finally was able to post some scenery tools builds. This begins the beta period for WED 1.1 (WED with DSF overlay editing) and a release candidate period for the AC3D plugin and MeshTool. I expect the WED beta to take a while; as long as the program is reasonably functional in beta form (e.g. not losing data) there isn't a huge rush to package it up relative to other priorities.
WED will continue to evolve as the primary visual editor for scenery. This will include editing air traffic control data for the new ATC system and editing roads once X-Plane is ready for road overlays. (See this post for why road overlays aren't quite useful in the sim yet.)
I'm not sure what the next features for MeshTool will be - this may depend on user feedback. One thing is clear: MeshTool is not easy to use. Building a base mesh is a complex and low level process, with lots of possible pitfalls. So whatever features MeshTool develops, usability has to be a goal.
There is one more scenery tool I would like to create: a remote render farm. Right now you can make custom base meshes with MeshTool. In the future it will be possible to make edits to the source data used or global scenery (by editing OpenStreetMap itself). You can also edit the apt.dat file and submit the results to Robin.
But once you edit OSM, how do you get a new scenery pack? Using MeshTool is complex, and MeshTool is really aimed at the orthophoto crowd. Waiting 2 or 3 years for the next X-Plane release isn't a good solution.
My idea is to set up a computer to do "remote global scenery" requests. I would set the computer up to periodically pull down new data updates and recut tiles as requested, then post them publicly. This would allow users to edit the source data and then put in a tile request to get the tiles back, without ever having to know how to make scenery. The tiles would reflect all changes from all users.
Such a service wouldn't be of interest to the most advanced authors who want to create a truly original scenery pack, but for authors who want to fix specific problems, this process would be much simpler. I hear the question "how do I fix the lake behind my house" all the time; a remote render farm could be part of the answer.