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"As the de facto leader in providing data interoperability solutions, Safe has always felt a responsibility to support European users," says Don Murray, President of Safe Software. "In FME 2006 GB, and now FME 2007, we have made a concerted effort to expand support for formats and coordinate systems that will allow European users to expedite the integration of new national standards."
Simplifying Data Reprojection for Swedish Users
In Sweden, Michael Skoglund, President of Metria's SWEREF99 Competence Centre within Lantmäteriet (National Land Survey of Sweden) described FME 2007's release as occurring "just in time" for Sweden. In January 2007, Sweden changed the national standard coordinate reference system from RT90 to SWEREF99 to accelerate the implementation of their national geodata infrastructure. The change left many agencies searching for tools that could efficiently process the enormous volume of existing data – both raster and vector - while maintaining a high standard of database quality.
According to Skoglund, the release of FME 2007 alleviated these concerns since it included, for the first time, Lantmäteriet’s nationally approved Gtrans reprojection engine. With FME's support for transforming data to or from over 190 supported formats, Swedish organizations suddenly had a tool that could quickly and easily transform all their spatial data to the approved coordinate system.
“We are very happy with this integration," said Skoglund. "We were really surprised at how easily we can now perform these tasks – FME has made what initially seemed like an overwhelming project almost routine. It's is the only tool we would recommend for performing data-heavy transformations while meeting a high demand for quality.”
Streamlining Coordinate Conversions for German Users
In the German Federal States, the release of FME 2007 is allowing users to overcome challenges similar to Sweden's. In conjunction with the adoption of the NAS GML format as a national standard for data exchange, Germany is now implementing ETRS89 as the new standard coordinate system. Adopting ETRS89 will not only address past complications created by simultaneous use of multiple coordinate systems, but will also facilitate exchange with other European countries, most of which are already using the ETRS89 reference system.
Building on read-only support for NAS GML that was introduced in FME 2006, Safe Software has now moved to make coordinate conversions easier for German users in FME 2007 by adding beta support for the NTv2/BeTA2007 grid shift file. The file was provided by the Working Committee of the Surveying Authorities of the States of the Federal Republic of Germany (AdV). With this latest release in hand, German FME users are reporting that they are able to rapidly convert data to ETRS89 from the pervasive DHDN90 coordinate system, as well as other coordinate systems based on the DHDN, Potsdam and Pulkovo datums.
"The BeTA2007 file is recommended for the transformation of ATKIS® (Authorative Topographic-Cartographic Information System) data, which is the official administrative database of topographic data for the entire Federal Republic of Germany," explains Christian Heisig, Head of GIS Services at con terra GmbH, in Münster, Germany. "Support for these coordinate conversions within FME 2007 is a big gain for GIS professionals throughout the country - the necessary transformations will be very easy with FME technology."
Raising the Bar to Meet the Needs of French Users
FME 2007 is the latest in a series of releases that offer new capabilities of significant value to the French GIS community. Olivier Gayte, Director of Veremes – a Safe Software reseller based in southern France – cites coordinate system support in FME 2007 as the most recent example of Safe Software's responsiveness to French users. "FME 2007 includes nine new projection systems (Lambert coniques conformes) that were officially published by the French government only a few months ago," he notes. Within the last two years, Safe has also added read and write support for GeoConcept – an extensively used proprietary format – as well as read-only support for EDIGéO – a standard established by the Direction Générale des Impôts for managing land registry information for taxation purposes. "FME sales have increased accordingly," says Gayte. "French users have been quick to realize the value FME provides in supporting these important formats."
Safeguarding Data Quality in the Netherlands
Gert van den Berg, Product and Facility Manager of Vicrea Solutions, based in the Netherlands, describes FME's read and write support for Top10NL as essential to the ongoing GIS workflows of most Dutch municipalities. Originally developed by the Dutch National Mapping Agency (Topografische Dienst Kadaster), Top10NL is replacing Top10 Vector as the new standard for exchanging topographic data with Kadaster. Top10NL was first supported in FME 2006 GB, followed by enhancements in FME 2007.
"FME is routinely used for storing Top10NL data in a spatial database or to convert Top10NL data to a file-based format," says van den Berg. "With access to FME, municipalities don’t need additional software to be able to read topographical cadastral data. This keeps the conversion process clean and less error prone."
Providing Access to the Latest National Datasets in Great Britain
In Britain, the Digital National Framework model (DNF) is emerging as the national standard for exchanging spatial data. DNF requires a set of base reference objects which can be taken from OS MasterMap, a geographic database maintained by Ordnance Survey - the national mapping agency of Great Britain. FME included a reader for OS MasterMap data, which was developed in consultation with Dotted Eyes, as early as 2002. The reader supports three data layers available from Ordnance Survey, including Topography, Integrated Transport Network and Address Layers. (A fourth layer - the Imagery Layer - is supported by other readers within FME that manage raster data.) With updates to FME's OS MasterMap reader made in FME 2006 GB and FME 2007, FME now supports the new OS MasterMap Address Layer 2, a highly detailed layer that identifies the precise location of more than 27 million postal addresses as well as a million real-world properties that do not have postal addresses.
“It's impossible to overstate the importance of the OS MasterMap dataset to the GIS industry in Great Britain,” explains Jamie Justham, Managing Director of Dotted Eyes, which sponsors the DNF. “Safe's practice of continually updating many key formats, including AutoCAD, is enhancing FME's appeal to many organizations. It's this easy access to diverse datasets, combined with many data transformation options, that led Dotted Eyes to supply a full FME Oracle license as part of our SuperpOSe OS MasterMap loading software, and has helped to ensure the widespread use of FME in the UK.”
Safe Co-Founders to Present at European User Conferences
An important aspect of Safe's commitment to its European customers includes ensuring users are equipped with the expertise to make maximum use of FME's extensive spatial data transformation capabilities. To this end, Safe Software's founders will be visiting Sweden and Germany next week to present at FME user conferences. The first conference will be hosted by con terra in Münster, Germany, 17-18 September, followed by a second conference in Gävle, Sweden, 20-21 September, hosted by Metria, ESRI S-Group and SWECO. For more information about these conferences, visit www.fme-anwendertreffen.de and www.metria.se.
FME Goes Local
Another priority for Safe Software has been making FME available to European users in their native language. With advance access to the latest FME software builds, Safe's resellers have been quick to turn out localization updates for FME 2007. A French localization add-on for FME 2007, prepared by Veremes, is already available from their website at www.veremes.com and a German localization update for FME 2007 prepared by con terra – the most extensive localization prepared to date – has been available from con terra's website at www.conterra.de since the end of August. The rapid uptake of these language supplements testifies to their value to European users. Christian Heisig, Head of GIS Services at con terra, in Germany, reports that 80% of their clients use the localized version of FME. In Spain, RTM of Madrid are also helping users fast track their spatial data conversions. RTM has translated introductory FME user documentation into Spanish and has offered this material from their website at www.rtm.es since early in 2007.
Source: Safe Software, September 12, 2007.