Category Archives: FME

Real time bus visualization

Some of you might know that you can publish real time data to FME Server as a KML Network Link, and then visualize data in Google Earth. Safe Software ( has this really great real time taxi demo:

It generates taxi locations with a Python script, and FME Server is used to stream the locations and visualize them in Google Earth.

While I was fiddling with the demo, I throught, could this be used for visualizing buses, which get real-time passenger information, for example current number of passenger. So, I downloaded the demo Safe provides, and started modyfying it.

Modifications included creating 3D features from each bus location, and extruding each feature by number of passengers. Also, the number of passengers is visible on top of each feature with the bus number, for example, 111 | 30, where 111 is bus number, and 30 is the number of passengers.

The bus data is real time data, and is updated in every second. FME provides a really easy way to handle real time data, and publish it to applications such as Google Earth.


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FME 2011 launched!

I’m a week late with my blog post about FME 2011, but it doesn’t make FME 2011 shine any less. During the week after the release, I’ve been trying to understand, how Safe Software does it. FME 2011 is a very big release amongst earlier releases. It takes spatial data crunching to a whole new level. It’s easier, faster and has a lot new transformers and supported formats.

As I’ve found when reading blog or magazine posts about the launch, lots of them mention FME 2011 point cloud support to be one of the most important new enhancements. I agree. Lidar is now going to be mainstream or is already. This means very good times for FME. Read more here,, how Dale Lutz describes the new point cloud support. He says point clouds are “misbehaving rasters” actually. He says adding raster support point helped them in adding point cloud support.

I’m also very happy for the Rest support for FME Server. Now it’s much easier to integrate FME Server to already existing web services.

Rest of the enhancements can be found here:

Last but not least, FME 2011 World Tour starts from Vancouver and tours around the globe in 25+ cities. The events are free! That is indeed very generous. More information:

P.S. Now it’s time to start spamming Safe Software with new enhancement requirements.. 😉


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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.


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Finnish FME User Day 2010

We had our first FME User Day yesterday, and I realized, that Finnish FME users are almost getting ahead of me in FME knowledge. It’s frightening but at the same time challenging. Many users were very intrigued by XMLTemplater and all the other new XML / GML functionality in FME. I guess one of the top problems is, how to obtain complex XML from various data sources, when the source schema and the XML schema change. XMLTemplater and SchemaMapper really make handling XML and GML much easier.

It’s not no to XML anymore!

Some were also interested in reading WFS, and filtering the WFS data in FME. All in all, there were a lot of discussion, and the users are looking forward for the next Finnish FME User Day 2011!

Thank you very much Safe Software and Dean for your commitment to the user day!

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FMEDays 2010

Being a FME user, I just had to travel to Münster, Germany, where FMEDays 2010 was held. After arriving to Düsseldorf, I took a wrong train to Minden, which is not apparently Münster. After totally 5 hours of train travelling I found Münster, which should be about 1 hour 30 minutes from Düsseldorf. Does anyone else, who’s working with GIS, has a lousy homing instinct?

After all, I found Münster. Thank you Safe Software and con terra for a great user conference! I won’t forget all the resellers and users either: Thank you for all the conversations we had. I spilled couple of times coffee, first one happened when I heard the secret word “WFS” and my coffee fell all the way from 3rd floor down to the con terra reception on a poor con terra employee. Again, my apologies, if you’re reading this blog. Anyway, was the conference worth it? I give you 3 reasons, why it was worth it:

  1. FME 2010
  2. FME Users
  3. Future

1. FME 2010 belongs to one of the most biggest releases Safe Software has ever had. Just look at its XML, raster, 3D capabilities and performance. I’m really excited about replacing all those XSLT scripts with a transformer called XMLTemplater. 3D capabilities include raster draping, this one is from Dimitris 3D Place:World DEM

I’ve used FME 2010 since the beginning of 2009, and I’m really impressed of the new functionality such as adding transformers just by typing in the canvas, and the workspace search.

2. FME Community has quite excellent and smart users, if you look at what they’ve accomplished with FME. Here are just a few examples, that I saw:

  • Augmented Reality, Vicrea. FME was used to create 2D and 3D objects (City center) for augmented reality application on Iphone.
  • Building a 3D City Model with FME, HNIT BALTIC. In contrast with earlier CAD to 3D solutions, FME was used to build a 3D city model from GIS datasets. The 3D city model was also published to web, so you could have a virtual walk inside the model!
  • Lithuanian SDI, GIS-Centras: FME Server was utilized in providing download and transformation services for users.
  • Contractor Portal, Dottedeyes: If you’re looking for a solution which combines open source components with a transformation services software, you have to see this presentation.

Remember that FME users are not just FME users, they come from several different product, database, format and coordinate system environments. Just to mention a few, some are enthusiastic ESRI products users, some work closely with databases, and some are CAD software users. They still gather together because of FME, and they have fun together!

3. Safe Software seems to love XML, since FME’s XML support seem to increase in every FME release. They’ve also made a very good progress with metadata support, and that is a tale which is just beginning. Which makes me write a postit note that I should start studying metadata more seriously. Don & Dale show is also one thing to mention. If you don’t have any other reason to attend FME User Conferences, at least do it because of Don & Dale. They’re the rock stars of GIS world!

Now I just have to process all the ideas I got from the presentations and discussions, it’s just hard to cope with the post-conference-melancholy. Coming back to normal weekdays is always tough after great conferences. 😉


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