ArcGIS Data Interoperability is an extension for ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap that’s available for purchase from Esri. The extension is developed by Safe Software and is based on a subset of FME functionality.
While an upgrade from the extension to FME Desktop provides additional functionality (see table below), both products let you load data from hundreds of sources into your ArcGIS environment and include tools for spatial ETL, data validation, data export, workflow automation, and much more.
|ArcGIS Data Interoperability||FME Desktop|
|Extension for ArcMap / ArcGIS Pro||FME Desktop Esri Edition|
|Graphical authoring environment||Yes||Yes|
|Direct read into ArcCatalog, ArcMap, ArcScene|| Yes for ArcMap version
N/A to ArcGIS Pro version
|Integration with ModelBuilder||Yes||Yes|
|Access to FME Hub (hundreds of additional transformers, web connections, templates, and more)|| No for ArcMap version
Yes for ArcGIS Pro version
|Ability to publish to FME Server and FME Cloud for enterprise automation (scheduling, notifications, etc.)||No||Yes|
|Ability to use most up-to-date version (ArcGIS Data Interoperability is typically based on a prior release of FME) - see the current version here.||No||Yes|
|Access to the stream of FME beta releases||No||Yes|
|Access to third-party plugins||No||Yes|
|Requires only a single FME license (i.e. doesn’t tie up an Esri license too when only using FME Desktop)||No||Yes|
|Ability to run multiple versions of FME / ArcGIS Data Interoperability on the same machine||No||Yes|
|Supported architecture||32-bit for ArcMap version
64-bit for ArcGIS Pro version
|32-bit and 64-bit|
|Operating systems||Windows||Windows, Mac, Linux|
|Language||English||English (+ localized into Japanese, German, French, Spanish, and Chinese)|
|Formats supported||View Supported Formats||400+ Formats|
|Training||Esri Virtual Campus||Free FME Training|
|Technical support provided by||Esri||Safe Software|
Is ArcGIS Data Interoperability the same thing as FME Desktop?
No. ArcGIS Data Interoperability is not the same as FME. ArcGIS Data Interoperability is a subset of FME functionality crafted specifically to run inside of Esri ArcGIS using FME technology. FME as a standalone application lets you create and execute workspaces both outside and inside your Esri environment. As well, it has more formats and transformation capabilities than ArcGIS Data Interoperability.
If I upgrade to FME Desktop, will I be able to keep the tools provided by ArcGIS Data Interoperability?
Yes. In addition to all of the added benefits of FME Desktop, you'll still be able to use tools like existing Spatial ETL Tools, Quick Import, Quick Export, and Interoperability Connections. You'll also have the choice to author new workflows using Spatial ETL Tools or standalone via FME Workbench.
Who should I contact for ArcGIS Data Interoperability support?
This is an Esri product, sold and supported by Esri and so requests for support should go through the appropriate Esri channel. If you purchase FME Desktop, then you can also get support from Safe Software.
I have FME installed and notice that each time I start FME, it is also checking out a Data Interoperability license. Is this expected?
To use FME without the Esri licensing requirement, you need to purchase a license of FME Desktop.
Where can I download ArcGIS Data Interoperability? What about FME Desktop?
How do product updates and new releases work for FME Desktop and ArcGIS Data Interoperability?
FME Desktop and ArcGIS Data Interoperability follow different release cycles. FME has major annual releases, typically in March, as well as several minor releases and hotfixes throughout the year. A new version of ArcGIS Data Interoperability is made available with each new major Esri version and is based on the latest version of FME Desktop available at that time.
Can ArcGIS Data Interoperability run my existing FME workspaces?
It depends. In the case of the ‘Data Interoperability for ArcGIS Desktop’ extension, no it cannot run existing FME workspaces. In that situation, if an FME user has workspaces, they will have to recreate the functionality of their existing workspaces within ArcGIS. This may or may not be successful, as the ‘Data Interoperability for ArcGIS Desktop’ extension doesn’t contain full FME functionality. (Note: It is possible to copy and paste transformers and data models between workspaces made with FME into custom tools made with Workbench inside of ArcGIS.) In the case of the newer ‘Data Interoperability for ArcGIS Pro’ extension, a user may be able to run existing workspaces. The existing workspace will need to be compatible with the FME version included in the Esri product, but if that dependency is met then the user can either drag the .fmw file into FME Workbench opened from the Analysis ribbon, or use the .fmw file as a source in a new Spatial ETL Tool. See also this article on FME versions and workspace compatibility.
Are all the FME formats inside ArcGIS Data Interoperability?
Do formats developed by third parties work with ArcGIS Data Interoperability Extension?
No. Only formats that ship with ArcGIS Data Interoperability are supported. To access additional formats, add an FME Desktop license – either the Data Interop upgrade or FME Esri Edition. Once this is installed, the ArcGIS Data Interoperability gains the full functionality of the FME Esri Edition.
Does ArcGIS Data Interoperability contain all FME transformers?
No. Not all transformers are included in the extension. For example, some transformers duplicate functionality already available in ArcGIS and aren’t included as part of the extension. For all transformers, you’ll need to purchase a license of FME Desktop.
How do the versions of ArcGIS Data Interoperability relate to FME versions?
ArcGIS Data Interoperability Extension is based on FME and so each version of the extension contains functionality from a specific FME version. A full release-by-release breakdown is available here.