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Newsflash: Local Hero Foils Evil Schema

Consultant builds a data synchronization solution between Smallworld GIS and SAP platforms.

When we-do-IT (NZ) Ltd. of Auckland, New Zealand was approached by an energy sector customer to build a data synchronization solution between their Smallworld GIS and SAP platforms, Senior Geospatial Consultant Mike Oberdries had a daunting challenge in front of him. The requirement of executing near real-time data syncing, with updates to both Smallworld and SAP®, had to be accomplished without changing the substantially different data models currently in place in each system. His secret weapon? FME 2011’s enhancements to the SchemaMapper and Dynamic Schemas.

Biztalk® middleware was selected to handle the SAP data transactions, and FME – with the Spatial Business Systems (SBS) Smallworld extension – was selected to manage the Smallworld transactions. FME and Biztalk data exchange could be done through GML simple features.

With the technology choices in place, the most challenging part began – reconciling the way that SAP models asset data with the equivalent information in Smallworld. They were significantly different, and the near real-time requirement for updates meant that the data mappings had to be managed in a fast, robust, and repeatable manner. Mike had successfully used the SchemaMapper for data migration in the past, and the enhancements to both the SchemaMapper and Dynamic Schemas in FME 2011 proved to be the key on this project.

“Coupling the SchemaMapper with Dynamic Schema has always been a great way to make a complex workspace simple,” says Mike. “In the case of the Smallworld/SAP data synchronization project, there was a requirement to process 77 assets tables – each with a different attribute schema. Marrying Dynamic Schema with the SchemaMapper transformer meant that data mappings between all 77 asset classes could be managed with a single spreadsheet (defining the data-mappings) and a single FME reader and writer.”

Ultimately the improvements and additions in FME 2011, in particular the significant reduction of the complexity of using the SchemaMapper and expanded options for using Dynamic Schemas, resulted in success on a challenging project. According to Mike, “These new features provide us with a level of data-mapping flexibility we haven’t had before and take complex data-mapping and migrations tasks to a whole new level of productivity. Check it out, complex data mapping – spatial and nonspatial – doesn’t get any better than this.“

Learn more about FME 2011’s SchemaMapper from the FME Evangelist at safe.local/NewSchemaMapper.

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