I most recently travelled to Austria and the Netherlands and met up with over 160 different FME Users and partners! I always enjoy traveling to Europe as we have many great partners and users that freely share with us the activities in Europe and the directions that they would like us to take our technology.
During this trip we demonstrated FME Server to our European partners and customers to share examples of its data distribution possibilities, but also to gain initial feedback on what functionality users want. These discussions are what make traveling and meeting clients worthwhile and guide us on ways to make our FME products better.
What made our demo of FME Server so exciting for the Europeans is its ability to help governments participate in the INSPIRE spatial data infrastructure (SDI) initiative. During my visit, customers reinforced that semantic translation is the key to participation; that is, being able to translate and transform the data they have into the common format and schema that the initiative mandates.
If you haven’t had a chance to see FME Server in action you are in for a treat. FME Server is a “data agnostic, web mapping agnostic, web server agnostic, database agnostic, operating system agnostic” mash up platform. That is you can take data from any where, transform it, and send it to anything you want.
When we designed FME Server, we wanted to make it possible for organizations to bring data together from any supported system (or from other web services) in a way that allows them to choose their preferred system, be it ArcGIS Server, ArcExplorer, Google Maps/Earth, Microsoft Virtual Earth, OpenLayers, Poly9 FreeEarth, something else, or a combination of apps. Our customers love this because they can use FME Server to satisfy their data access and transformation needs while being free to use whatever tools do the best job for the task at hand.
I also received great feedback about our support for OCG standards as this was a critical point for many of them, being that they are the key specifications for the INSPIRE initiative.
I’m looking forward to seeing the many ways that customers all over the world will be using FME Server to participate in their own SDI initiatives as this movement continues to mobilize and grow.
Watch for my next posting on more insights that I gained while in Europe, specifically on metadata.