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Best Practice: FME and Business Process Automation

Using FME to help eliminate hours of manual work and hands-on project management time.

We’re always excited to share best practices and innovative examples of how customers are using FME. Recently, the City of Tampa told us how they successfully used FME as part of an automated business process system to help eliminate hours of manual work and hands-on project management time.

The City of Tampa uses AutoMate™, a business process automation platform from Network Automation that brings FME and other applications into a scheduled workflow to automatically fulfill spatial data requests. On the 5th of every month, the system connects to the Hillsborough County FTP server for parcel data, zips up the files and sends them to a designated directory on the City’s server where the files are unzipped. AutoMate then initiates FME to run at the command line level to convert the parcel data into a MapInfo TAB format so it can be integrated with City-owned attribute data. Once prepared, the data files are copied to a GIS publication server and an email is sent confirming that the task is complete.

Prior to implementing this system, David Frame, GIS Database Administrator for the City of Tampa was spending over one and a half days manually performing all the necessary tasks for obtaining the required data, preparing the files and getting them into the hands of the people requesting them. He wanted a solution that would not only decrease the time involved in performing the manual tasks and managing the process, but would also eliminate the worry of completing this task every month.

Now with this integrated system, AutoMate streamlines all of these processes by automatically putting the data where it needs to be for FME to convert it every month. “By using FME with our automated business process system, I literally don’t think about this task anymore. It’s automatically done and all I do now is wait for an email confirmation,” says David. “What used to take hours out of my day is now reduced to just a few minutes.”

The City of Tampa has successfully leveraged this automated system for other projects that have required disparate data to be integrated from different places. For example, they’re currently in the process of migrating MapInfo, ESRI and CAD data into Oracle Spatial. Since the routines are already set up, all they need to do is change the output destination to help them easily migrate the required data to their new spatial database.

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