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L-15: FME as a Two-Way Bridge between Proprietary Systems and Open Source Databases

Over the last decade, open source GIS software, and formats it supports, have become widely accepted in the geospatial community. But open source technology and proprietary GIS systems are often two different realms separated by data interoperability issues. Data is stored in a diversity of formats, standards and structures. This workshop demonstrates how Safe Software.s FME technology provides a bridge between open source systems and proprietary technology, preventing isolation of these two realms. FME integrates this technology in six different ways, and the workshop will showcase each of these situations in turn. Discussion will focus on how FME is applied in each situation and lessons learned in taking each approach, and will be accompanied by demonstrations.

The initial demonstrations will show how FME provides a two-way bridge between proprietary systems and open source databases. Firstly, FME allows PostGIS, MySQL and SQLite to serve as backend spatial data sources for proprietary GIS systems such as ArcGIS and GeoMedia, since these applications can read directly from any FME-supported format. Secondly, FME.s data model restructuring capability and extensive format support allows data to flow in the opposite direction: a host of proprietary formats can be easily loaded into PostGIS, MySQL and SQLite and PostGRES, with the option to apply FME.s quality assurance and data cleansing capability during data loading.

A third and fourth demonstration will show how FME acts as a wrapper layer around open source format libraries, bridging the gap between these formats and formats required by proprietary systems. FME enables GDAL supported formats to be loaded into Oracle Georaster and ArcSDE. Similarly, FME allows easy conversion of OGR formats such as S-57, NITF, and MITAB into dozens of proprietary formats and offers diverse data transformation options.

The fifth demonstration will explore the reciprocal relationship between FME and open source FDO data access technology. FME enhances the value of this technology by consuming data from FDO data providers, transforming the data to provide the exact view needed, then delivering the data in the model required by numerous proprietary applications. Conversely, FME also acts as a data provider to FDO, greatly extending the number of formats supported by FDO. Any application that accesses data through the FDO can automatically also access data provided by FME.

Finally, a concluding demonstration will show how FME acts as a wrapper for GEOS, allowing the functionality of GEOS to be applied to data in many different formats.

User Level



Dale Lutz is one of the co-founders of Safe Software and has over 16 years of experience in spatial data interoperability solutions. He recently completed his Masters of Software Technology degree with focus on usability. In his position of Vice President of Development at Safe, his technical focuses include oversight of the FME Suite product, refining and optimizing the user experience in interactive data transformation environments, and integration of spatial data ETL technology into third-party GIS applications. He also is instrumental in leading and coordinating the development team, and presents and participates in numerous conferences and tradeshows.

Robyn Rennie and Dean Hintz of Safe Software will be co-presenters.