Monthly Archives: October 2010

From Smallworld to 3D PDF

I’ve worked with Smallworld for several years now. One of the useful ways to visualize all kinds of spatial data is utilizing 3D PDF. PDF itself is widely known format, thus why not use 3D PDF for visualizing data derived from Smallworld database. First I built some electricity network in Smallworld (Poles and cables), then forests around them and a few buildings. Poles, forests and buildings had height attributes, so that helped to transform them from 2D to 3D. Also I had a DEM from the area, so the task was to transform all the features to 3D and place them on the DEM. Also, a raster was added on the DEM.

The main challenge

The main challenge was how to transform data from 2D to 3D world. FME has a couple of useful transformers for constructing and transforming 3D objects: Extruder and SurfaceDraper.

Extruder stretches your 2D features to 3D by a specified height or a vector.

SurfaceDraper places your 2D features on an elevation model. You should use SurfaceDraper first and then after that Extruder.

An other challenge were to make the cables hang. It worked well with a bunch of transformers. The result of the hanging cables can be seen in the picture.

Here is a picture of the result, where you can see the cable, forests and buildings in the left.

Here is another picture of the result 3D PDF.

From Smallworld to 3D PDF with FME

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FME Scandinavian User Conference 2010

Over 110 FME enthusiasts, lots of presentations, great conversations with FME users and Safe guys, FME 2011, good food and of course So you think you can FME. That’s what happened in Malmö, in FME SUC 2010. Thank you Sweco, thank you Safe, and other organizations and participants!

Ken and Dale did a remarkable job with presenting FME Server, CAD <-> GIS use case, and FME 2011. Ken and Dale gave separate presentations, when previously Don&Dale have given the main presentations together. I guess some hyperventilation was reduced in this way. Ken pointed out some top challenges people face when moving between CAD and GIS worlds. Styles, valid geometry, and valid attributes. It was also interesting to hear that when Safe went to this one GIS fair, they had CAD and GIS words on their posters for the first time, people were stopping by their booth a lot more than previously. CAD to GIS is still one of the main largest needs for data transformation. And FME does CAD and GIS transformation well!

FME 2011 is going to be awesome! I have already used the beta, but I didn’t really know all the new stuff, that Safe’s been working on. FME 2011 has inspection point functionality. You can set inspection points to any link, and really see what features go to the inspection point. It’s really handy to use for debugging. It has a window, where you will see the feature, and below it has the feature attributes. You can even set rules. For example, if you know that certain type of features are sensitive for crashing, you can make the inspector stop to first one of those type of features, and you can check, why it crashes. Clever!

I’ll try to post more of the conference later, when I get to see the presentations again. I lost my notebook there, and I need to through the presentations again, and hopefully I then recall the visions and ideas that I got in the conference. Stay tuned.


Filed under FME