Author: Garrett Cronin, Account Manager IMGS
I was lucky enough to spend some time with the Safe Software team in Vancouver last month. I was there for our annual partner summit plus the Kick off of the FME World Tour 2018. The partner summit was opened by Don & Dale, and they spoke about the exciting new innovations Safe Software are currently working on, and their plans to grow the Safe team over the coming year. I can’t give much away, but there are some very exciting functionality updates coming down the line. I also got a chance to view the new building, Safe Software are moving to later this year.
Don & Dale have secured the top three floors plus a roof top garden space for the Safeer’s with 360-degree views of Surrey. It was an amazing four days in total and the FME World Tour event was the highlight of the trip.
The new version of FME Desktop & Server was heavily discussed over the course of the few days, and I’m happy to say the team at Safe Software have done it again! They have listened to all the global feedback, and FME Desktop & FME Server 2018 are packed with new and useful features to help you wrangle your data.
With the list of supported formats up to 400 with this latest release, I wanted to do a quick top 10 post on some of the new functionality ahead of our FME World Tour 2018 event in Dublin this May 17th.
- Top New Format Reader/Writers
- Microsoft PowerPoint Writer
- Microsoft Word Writer
- PDF Reader (2D/Raster/Text)
- Esri Geodatabase Mosaic Dataset Writer
- Esri Indexed 3D Scene Layer Writer (i3S)
- Apple Venue Format Reader & Writer
- Qlik Writer
- Top New Transformers
- HDFSConnector (for moving files into and out of Hadoop)
- PDF Reading
It has often been said, PDF is where data goes to die. Despite this, it is still a go-to format for most organisations. In FME 2018, a new PDF Reader means you can extract rasters, vector data, and text from PDF documents. In the below example, the image on the left is PDF data viewed in the FME Data Inspector. On the right PDF data viewed in Adobe Reader.
- Indoor Mapping
I’m very excited about the future of indoor mapping. Now organisations have the ability to create indoor maps for venues like shopping centres, campuses, airports and events. No longer will we be losing our friends at concerts or large events.
With FME 2018 you can move data into Apple Venue Format from applications like AutoCAD, Revit and Tririga. Below is an indoor map of YVR airport, viewed in the FME Data Inspector. If you are interested in indoor mapping and would like to learn more, Safe Software recently did a pod cast on indoor mapping you can listen to HERE.
- Generate Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint
I know this will be one of the most popular functions in FME 2018 for most users. The ability to push out data in a friendly styled format like Word or Excel, and enrich it geospatial data will be a huge wow factor for many people.
The new transformers let you style and output your data for Excel spreadsheets, Word pages, and PowerPoint slides. The example below is a map of Canada written to PowerPoint with FME. Each province is its own polygon with a label. The image to the left is a styled Excel sheet, I have also seen the below produced with geotagged images.
It should come as no surprise that 3D is making a comeback. In fact, I was in a meeting recently and we were discussing 5D, due to Hexagon Geospatial’s recent acquisition of Luciad. Luciad’s visualisation technologies support live connections to dynamic sensor feeds in a 3D environment. The result is a 5D digital reality which allows the user to visualise and analyse real-time geospatial information. It is as amazing as it sounds, like it was from a Marvel movie! Regardless of the amount of D’s you have, these technologies benefit all kinds of applications from public safety to smart cities to defence and intelligence.
Empowering individuals or groups, with the ability to spatially understand an area of interest in all three dimensions, is very powerful. It allows for superior visual analysis and informed decision making. With this latest update, you can create 3D visualisations that anyone can view in a web browser, with new support for Esri I3S and glTF for Cesium. In the below example, you’ll see on the left every building in NYC loaded as Cesium 3D Tiles, and on the right with textures added, written to I3S and loaded in ArcGIS Earth via FME.
- Partial Workspace Runs (Tech Preview)
I see this as a very useful new feature, you’ll save so much time when authoring workflows with this new functionality that enables users to run selected parts using cached data. You can now get immediate feedback when authoring FME Workspaces by running only the portion of the workspace you’re focused on.
- FME Python API
With the success of the FME & Python training course last year, I wanted to call out this update – a documentation overhaul now makes the FME Python API much easier to navigate and learn from.
- Workspace Viewing in FME Server (Tech Preview)
You can now view your workspaces directly in the FME Server interface, I see this functionality growing over the coming years to make FME Server a standalone product for creating, editing and publishing workspaces.
- Dark Mode
I know this is only a cosmetic change, but I really like the look of FME Server in Dark Mode. In Safe Software the office has been divided into the “Light & Dark Side of FME”.
I have only scratched the surface of all the new features and functions of FME 2018. If you would like to see more information on the update you can click on the links below or better yet join us at the FME World Tour in May.