FME Desktop Tour and Examples

Learn the basics in 15 minutes. No download required.

Welcome

FME Workbench

Readers, Writers, and Transformers

FME Data Inspector

Example 1

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Example 2

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Example 3

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Next Steps

Welcome!

If you're curious about FME Desktop and want a quick peek at how it works - you're in the right spot!

Tour of FME Desktop

(4 min)

Meet FME Workbench and FME Data Inspector and get to know some of the core FME terms.

Starter Examples

(10 min)

Find out how to build your first workspace, with three simple examples (with animated GIFs).

Free Training Info

(1 min)

Learn about free instructor-led online training and where to find all of our tutorials.

FME Workbench

Everything starts in FME Workbench, the authoring environment where you configure and run your workspace. A workspace is the name of the workflow that you design on the canvas. It generally includes at least one reader to pull data into the workspace, transformers to manipulate data, and at least one writer to output data.

  1. Navigator: Provides a list and definition of all workspace objects including data, feature types, transformers, and specific parameters.
  2. Transformer Gallery: Contains 450+ transformers which can be added to the canvas to restructure features between source and destination data.
  3. Canvas: Build your workspace by adding readers, writers, and transformers in this area.
  4. Help: Displays documentation related to the selected workspace object, e.g. transformer help.
  5. Translation Log: As a workspace runs, this pane updates to indicate current status and end result.

Two datasets are combined, creating a map depicting areas susceptible to flooding.

Readers, Writers, and Transformers

Reader (left): A reader is like an input. It brings data into an FME workspace to get worked on.

Transformer (center): A transformer is a tool that is used to modify the content and structure of data.

Writer (right): A writer is like an output. It sends the product of your workspace to its final destination and format.

Readers, writers, and transformers are the key ingredients to building an FME workspace. As you add them to the canvas, you’ll need to link them together by connecting output ports to input ports. Once everything’s connected and properly configured, press the run workspace button. This will cause the data to travel along the connecting lines from left to right, following the logic you created. In this example the Tester transformer has been used to filter a list of parks into dog parks and regular parks.

FME Data Inspector

FME Data Inspector is a viewing application that allows you to inspect data – before, after and during translation. Most users create workflows in FME Workbench before viewing the results in FME Data Inspector. Different options allow you to inspect your data in 2D mode, 3D mode, and in a table view.

  1. Display Control: Shows a list of open datasets and their feature types and includes the ability to show or hide individual components of the dataset.
  2. View: Displays a single dataset, or multiple datasets at the same time.
  3. Table View and Feature Information: Displays information about a queried feature, including feature type, attributes, and geometry details.

A flood map has been visualized, allowing for a thorough inspection of data quality.

Your tour is complete! Click next to see FME in action with three simple examples

Convert an Excel Spreadsheet to CAD Spatial Features

In this exercise, we'll convert tabular data from a Microsoft Excel file into CAD points. Click Next to get started.

Step 1: Add a Reader

Click Add Reader icon on the toolbar above.

Paste the following Url into the Dataset field. FME will automatically download this sample data from the web when you run this workspace:

http://demos.fmeserver.com/getting-started/Bees.xlsx

The format will be automatically detected as Microsoft Excel. Click OK.

Step 2: Add a Writer

Click Add Writer icon on the toolbar above.

In the Format textbox, begin typing dwg, and set the destination format to Autodesk AutoCAD DWG/DXF.

Choose an output location and name it Bees.dwg. Click OK.

Step 3: Connect the Reader and Writer

Drag a connection line from the Reader feature type to the Writer feature type.

Congrats! You now have a working FME Workspace that does an Excel to DWG conversion. Now let's add a Transformer to modify the data.

Step 4: Add a Transformer

Click anywhere on the canvas and begin typing VertexCreator. Add this Transformer to your workspace.

Connect it between your Reader and Writer feature types.

Step 5: Edit Transformer Parameters

Double-click the VertexCreator to open its parameters.

Use the down arrows on the right to set the X Value to the Longitude attribute and the Y Value to the Latitude attribute. Click OK.

Step 6: Run Workspace

Ready to roll! Click the Run icon in the toolbar. The number of features being translated will appear on the connection lines.

Step 7: Inspect Output

Right-click the Writer feature type (to the right of the VertexCreator) and choose Inspect. This will open the FME Data Inspector.

Click a point to see its attribute information in the Feature Information pane.

You Did It!

Well done. You've turned simple spreadsheet rows into spatial features. Told you it was easy! Ready to show off with a more complex exercise?

Convert CAD to GIS

In this exercise, we'll convert CAD (.dwg) to GIS (.shp), and turn the CAD layer names into a GIS attribute. Click Next to get started.

Step 1: Add a Reader

Click the Add Reader icon on the toolbar above.

Set the format to Autodesk AutoCAD DWG/DXF

Paste the following Url into the Dataset field. FME will automatically download this sample data from the web when you run this workspace:

http://demos.fmeserver.com/getting-started/VancouverStreets.dwg

Click OK. On the Select Feature Types dialog, uncheck the 0 layer (the AutoCAD default layer), and click OK to read the rest.

Step 2: Add a Writer

Click Add Writer icon on the toolbar above.

Set the Format to Esri Shapefile, choose an output folder, and change the Shapefile Definition to Manual... so you can manually define the output GIS feature class. Click OK.

In the Feature Type Properties dialog, set the Shapefile Name to VancouverStreets. Click OK.

Step 3: Add a Transformer

Click anywhere on the canvas and begin typing FeatureTypeExtractor. Add this Transformer to your workspace. It extracts the feature type name, i.e. the CAD layer name.

Drag connection lines from all the Reader feature types to the Transformer, and from the Transformer to the Writer feature type.

Step 4: Modify Transformer Parameters

Lookin' good! This workflow reads AutoCAD data, takes note of the layer name, and writes to Esri Shapefile. Now we need to do something with that layer name.

Double-click the FeatureTypeExtractor to open its parameters. Set the Destination Attribute to road_type. Click OK.

Step 5: Modify Destination Attributes

Double-click the Writer feature type, VancouverStreets, to open its parameters. In the User Attributes tab, choose Automatic. Note how the road_type attribute from the transformer is automatically copied to the schema definition. Click OK.

Step 6: Run Workspace

The moment of truth! Click the Run icon in the toolbar. The number of features being translated will appear on the connection lines.

Step 7: Inspect Output

Select the Writer feature type, VancouverStreets, and choose Inspect. This will open the FME Data Inspector.

Click a line to see its attribute information in the Feature Information pane. Note the road_type attribute.

You Did It!

Well done. You've converted CAD to GIS without losing important information, and that's something to be proud of. Ready for more? Try another exercise.

Import JSON Data and Send a Tweet

In this exercise, we'll pull JSON from the web, decipher it, then send a tweet to brag about how great you are at using FME. Click Next to get started.

Step 1: Add a Reader

Click Add Reader icon on the toolbar above.

Set the Format to JSON (JavaScript Object Notation).

Set the Dataset to http://fme.ly/tweetme (this URL points to a JSON feed). Click OK.

Step 2: Add a Transformer

Select the Reader feature type (JSON Feature) and begin typing JSONFragmenter. Add this Transformer to your workspace. Note how it automatically connects when an object is selected.

This Transformer fragments a JSON array into a separate data feature for each element.

Step 3: Modify Transformer Parameters

Double-click the JSONFragmenter to open its parameters.

Set JSON Document to inspirationalQuotes.

Set JSON Query to json[x], where x is your favorite number from 0 to 5. This will retrieve that element in the array. Set Flatten Query Result into Attributes to Yes. Under Attributes to Expose, enter name and quote. Click OK.

Step 4: Add Another Transformer

Add a Tweeter Transformer to your workspace. Can you guess what it does? It sends a tweet when your workspace runs!

(If you do not have a Twitter account, complete these steps using a Logger Transformer. This will write the message to the Translation Log below.)

Step 5: Build your Tweet

Open the Tweeter parameters. Click the arrow beside the Text field, then Open Text Editor. (If using the Logger, do this for the Log Message field.)

Double-click the attributes on the left, under the FME Feature Attributes section, to build your tweet: quote, then name, then tweet. Click OK.

Enter your Twitter Username and Password. (Not applicable if using the Logger.) Click OK.

Step 6: Run Workspace

Let's tweet some JSON! Click the Run icon in the toolbar.

(If using the Logger, your tweet will appear in the log pane below.)

You Did It!

Well done. You've imported JSON data from the web, processed it, and sent it out in a tweet. Your followers will be so jealous. Ready to try another exercise?

Next Steps: Free FME Training!

We want to help you learn FME, so all of the online training provided directly by Safe Software is free of charge.

On-Demand Training

Watch videos as our FME Certified Trainers take you through our course exercises.

Live Online Training

Take our full FME Desktop course free of charge, complete with virtual machine and live Q&A.

Tutorials

Access a range of getting started tutorials in our Knowledge Center.