Thursday, September 23, 2010

Using #FME to mash open data into #OSM addresses

While this video is not strictly related to Smallworld, it does describe mashing open data from various sources into something usable in a destination database. The "Big World" forum at the #swuc recently covered the area of open data and I thought this might be of interest to some of you out there.

In this case, the demo takes open parcel and address information from the Boulder City and Boulder County (Colorado, USA), processes it with FME and writes data into a format that can be uploaded into OpenStreetMap for the world to see.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Smallworld Latin America Users Conference #swgis #swuc

I learned today that Smallworld will be hosting a Latin America Users Conference later this year. What a great idea! I likely won't be attending but would love to hear feedback from attendees. I'd be interested to see if Latin American attendees are more avid Tweeters. Please tweet on under #swuc. I guess now is a good time to get familiar with :)

Here is the announcement I received from Smallworld...

Please mark your calendars.

GE Energy will host a Smallworld Latin America Users Conference November 30-December 1 in São Paulo, Brazil.

The venue will be CENESP (Centro Empresarial de São Paulo) on Avenida Maria Coelho Aguiar 215 - Bloco G, 2nd Floor

v Join fellow customers, channels, third party companies related to our industry, and GE staff.

v Listen to industry presentations, case studies, and product announcements.

v Spend time at the Exhibition to learn about the latest software developments and innovations.

v Network and socialize with colleagues from across the Latin America.

v Simultaneous translations to be provided for Spanish and Portuguese.

Please RSVP to Denise Buciotti Coelho by phone +55 11 3067-8223 or email

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Smallworld Twitter Hashtag #swgis

Mark Field at Smallworld GIS Wiki suggests that the Twitter hashtag we use for all things Smallworld be #swgis instead of #sworld. The #swgis tag is shorter and not prone to use in other domains. I heartily agree with his suggestion and will use #swgis going forward.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A low-tech mobile field solution #sworld #osm

With all the cool hi-tech mobile field solutions available out there, I thought I would mention a very low-tech one. provides a way of printing out your maps onto paper. These paper maps have georeferencing marks on them. You take them out into the field, make your redlining changes and then when you come back into the office, you scan them and then upload the scan. The scanned maps are georeferenced onto the background map and made available for a back-office technician to digitize the data and red-lined attributes into the database.

Seems very simple yet effective. I'm not suggesting that Smallworld customers adopt this approach, but when thinking about mobile solutions I think it is good to understand the broad range of options and learn from them.

Smallworld Twitter after the Conference #swuc #sworld

This year was the first year that the Smallworld Users conference was covered by Twitter. The turnout was fairly decent with the likes of @ifactor, @pmbatty, @mweisman, @JEJusticeJR, @mbfbsae90, @SafeSoftware, @cliffhangerSolu, @Fasterre, @aardvark179 and @boulderalf all posting from the conference.

I met an attendee at the conference who was very new to Magik/Smallworld. He mentioned that he had been watching the #swuc tweets to see what to expect leading up to the conference. Because this seems to be fairly new to the #sworld community, he couldn't get a good read on it. I am hopeful that this new communication medium will find its way into the Smallworld community in the next year.

By the way, I have started tweeting about all things Smallworld under the #sworld hashtag. It turns out that #smallworld has alot of other connotations on Twitter but #sworld has not yet been used.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What are advantages of Smallworld #swuc

At the "Smallworld Visibility Forum" today there was a question about "what does Smallworld do well and what doesn't it do well and has that been documented?" I thought that was an worthwhile question and was wondering if you have had exposure to other GIS systems to compare advantages/disadvantages of the systems?

For example...

1. I think wrapping the database records as objects in Magik provides for realistic real-world
2. Long transaction support is still an industry leader.
3. External access to VMDS has a performance bottle neck in Magik.

I would love to read your comments pro/con in the comments of this blog. Or you can send me an e-mail directly. If there is a lot of response, I can set up a wiki page at that lists the advantages/disadvantages.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Using SQL from Magik against VMDS #swuc

At the Smallworld Users Conference yesterday, I heard someone ask when GE would provide an interface to write SQL from Magik against VMDS tables. It turns out that the functionality already exists. Here are some examples.

1. You can get a SQL prompt directly at the Magik prompt...

MagikSF> sql(gis_program_manager.cached_dataset(:gis))
SQL> SELECT name, address1 FROM hotel ORDER BY address1
Name Address 1

Acorn Guest House 154 Chesterton Road
Hamilton Lodge 156 Chesterton Road
De Freville House 166 Chesterton Road
Rosswill 17 Chesterton Road
Cam Guest House 17 Elizabeth Way
Kirkwood House 172 Chesterton Road
All Seasons 219 Chesterton Road
Lyngamore 35 Chesterton Road
Suffolk House 69 Milton Road
Southampton House 7 Elizabeth Way
Ashley Hotel 74 Chesterton Road
Arundel House Chesterton Road
Gonville Hotel Gonville Place
Garden House Granta Place
University Arms Regent Street

15 record(s) selected
SQL> SQL> select count(*) from min_road


1 record(s) selected

NOTE: the sql() procedure is defined in module :sql2. You can load that module if your image doesn't have the sql() procedure loaded.

2. You can also use the sql2_parser object directly in your Magik code.
You can find out more by searching the Smallworld documentation for "SQL Support". To be clear, this is not the same as Smallworld's SQL Server image code. This is strictly related to writing SQL in Magik to query Smallworld tables.

I have never used this in code, but I suppose it could come in handy if you were more comfortable writing a SQL statement compared to writing a selection predicate. I'm curious to hear if anyone else uses this SQL functionality within Smallworld.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Smallworld and OpenStreetMap at #swuc

My presentation at the Smallworld Users Conference is titled "Let Other People Maintain Your Landbase (Without Having to Pay Them)". It could just as easily have been titled "Integrating OpenStreetMap with Smallworld".

I will be covering some options for how the utility can move out of the business of maintaining landbase. Most of the presentation will be an introduction to OpenStreetMap and how you might make use of that in your Smallworld applications. If you cannot make it to the presentation, let me know and I will send you the slides.

The presentation is on Friday, September 10 in Key Ballroom 3 from 3:45-4:25pm.

On Saturday, September 11, GE will be hosting a forum titled "Smallworld and the Big World". One of the agenda items is related to "open data". I will be attending that forum and hopefully actively participating in the "open data" bit. This forum will be in Key Ballroom 4 from 2:45-4:30pm.

See you in Baltimore! I am looking forward to meeting lots of people. Please stop by the iFactor booth and say hi.

Should you attend FME Users Exchange #swuc

If you are involved with moving data in or out of Smallworld I maintain that the most powerful way to do that is using Safe Software's FME product. If you are already using FME or if you are just wondering how FME can help you integrate Smallworld data with other data formats, I recommend that you attend the FME Users Exchange on Thursday, September 9 from 1pm-4pm in Baltimore at the site of the Smallworld Americas 2010 Users Conference.

There will be great presentations by customers, GE and Safe representatives. I will be presenting on how to enhance your GE FME-Smallworld Magik interface to let you do things like updating and deleting records and also creating Smallworld joins via FME.

As a bit of a trailer, here is a 5 minute video that highlights some of the items I will be presenting in more detail (video:

You can see my prioritized presentation points here:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sign up for the FME Users Exchange at #swuc

The Smallworld-FME Users Exchange is happening at the Smallworld Americas Users Conference in Baltimore, MD this next Thursday, September 9 from 1:00-4:00pm. It will be in the Key Ballroom 4, Hilton Ballroom. If you are a Smallworld/FME user, I would highly recommend that you attend this event. There will be a customer case study, some best practices and demos and also a product roadmap presentation from GE.

You can find out more information about it here: