Sunday, September 28, 2008

FME Evangelist features Smallworld and FME Server

So this is what humidity feels like.  I just arrived in Hollywood, FL (USA) an hour ago having left Boulder, CO a few hours before.  Going from 1 mile (and dry) to sea level and humid is quite the change.  

I'm looking forward to seeing many from the Smallworld community at the conference on Monday and Tuesday.   Please stop by at the Red Planet Consulting booth and say "hi".  Me and John will be the two guys dressed a in mechanics shirts.

Mark Ireland the "FME Evangelist" has a Smallworld User's Conference Special Edition article giving some added detail about the FME Server on Smallworld that Mark Stoakes and Michael Weisman from Safe Software and I will be demonstrating this week.  In addition to the links to the on-line demo videos from a few weeks ago, Mark also provides a bit more detail about the Python functionality that communicates with the Smallworld server image.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Viewing Hurricane Track in Smallworld using FME and SOMs

I realized today that I have customers and friends in the track of Hurricane Ike.

View Larger Map

So I was thinking... what would it take to view hurricane track information in Smallworld?

Here is what I came up with...
  1. Figure out which Smallworld SOMs (Spatial Object Managers) you have licensed.
  2. Create a FME workspace that reads hurricane data from a provider (eg., Google has and converts it into a format that your SOMs are licensed for.   You can download the workspace file here (right-click and Save As... the link)
  3. Create a .bat file that calls your FME workspace and can be scheduled using a task scheduler.
    fme.exe %~dp0Hurricane_KML2MapInfoTab.fmw --SourceDataset_KML21 --DestDataset_MITAB %~dp0
  4. Create Smallworld SOM configuration that reads the regularly-updated SOM data.
  5. Create Smallworld ACE and Style changes that render the storm data on Smallworld.
I have tried this preliminarily with MapInfo and it seems to work.  What is not clear to me yet is if the MapInfo SOM will refresh the data on Smallworld each time the underlying MapInfo data is refreshed.  Anyone interested in trying this?

[UPDATE: It seems that once a MapInfo SOM is connected to a MapInfo file, then that file is locked for other processes.  Ie., FME won't be able to update it.  So that is likely not a very good idea.  We could use the WMS SOM but then we would need to set up a WMS server.  You can definitely do that with FME Server but I am willing to bet that most Smallworld customers do not have FME Server set up yet.  Maybe another option would be to modify the FME Workspace to write out to a text (or XML) file that could then be read by a Smallworld post-render-set plugin that would then dynamically draw the storm track information each time the map is refreshed.]

Anyone doing something else with tracking storms in Smallworld?

Stay safe and dry.

Monday, September 8, 2008

FME Server on Smallworld Demo

As mentioned in a previous post, Safe Software will be presenting a hands-on FME Server workshop at the Smallworld 2008 Americas Users Conference.

In anticipation of that workshop I have created a number of screen casts of a demonstration of how we at Red Planet Consulting [NOTE: I no longer work for Red Planet. I now work for iFactor Consulting] put together Smallworld with FME Server to download and upload data using web clients. I would be happy to discuss any questions you might have about the contents of this demonstration.

This configuration uses GE's Smallworld FME Plugin. Out of the box the plugin does not exhibit "server"behaviour. But with a few Magik and Python tweaks we got it to work.

Click on the following links to launch Flash videos of the various parts of the demo:

  1. Start SIAS Server
  2. Start SIAS Client
  3. Download without Bounding Box
  4. Download with Bounding Box
  5. Upload Isle of Wight

Smallworld 2008 Americas Users Conference

I am looking forward to the upcoming Smallworld 2008 Americas Users Conference.  I will be there presenting and helping with a FME workshop and, of course, staffing the Red Planet Consulting booth.

I will be giving a presentation (Using FME as a Smallworld Spatial Analysis Tool) on Monday afternoon from 4:30-5:15.

I also wanted to mention that the author of Dialog Designer (now at v 1.7), Graham Garlick, will be presenting his very cool open-source Magik GUI development tool.  Unfortunately the agenda does not explicitly mention his name nor his topic, but you will find him presenting in the "Taming Graphics: Improving yourMagik draw, drop and drag" hands-on workshop on Tuesday morning from 8:30am-10:00am.

On Tuesday late morning (10:30am-noon) I will be in the "FME and Smallworld: Integrating and Distributing Spatial Data with New Server-based Spatial ETL" workshop.  Mark Stoakes from Safe Software will be leading the hands-on workshop allowing users to try their hand with the new FME Server product connected to the Smallworld Cambridge database.  I will be starting off the workshop by demonstrating using SIAS to download/upload data via the FME Server interface.

So, I hope I get to meet many of you at the conference.  Look for me at the Red Planet booth or in the conference sessions.  You will find me wearing one of those trademark Red Planet mechanics shirts.