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