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Recap: Kick-off Event of FME 2011 World Tour

Don Murray
March 8, 20115 min
Last week Friday we kicked off the FME 2011 World Tour in Vancouver, the first of 25+ cities. This first event was attended in-person by over 100 FME superheroes, along...

Last week Friday we kicked off the FME 2011 World Tour in Vancouver, the first of 25+ cities. This first event was attended in-person by over 100 FME superheroes, LagenBoss: "I love technology, watching FME forum in BC while talking to ppl on skype in 6 diff countries and tweeting to those at the conference #FMEWT"along with many of our valued partners, and several of the Safe team from our nearby office. The event was also streamed live to another 200+ FME superheroes around the globe (recording available). I learned that there was even a group of users (Ulf, James, Isabella, Jeff, Ken, Brett) who were watching the live stream and tweeting, while chatting in a Skype conference call.

The event began with Dale and I engaging in FME 2011 banter. I always enjoy those unrehearsed exchanges as we are never sure where we will venture. To be sure, though, we did touch on what’s new and great in FME 2011 including LiDAR / Point Clouds, FME Server improvements, and XML enhancements – just to name a few.

Four Great User Presentations
My highlight was the fantastic user presentations, which were given by first-class presenters.

Presenter 1: Michael Grant from BC Transit
Michael Grant of BC Transit gave an amazing presentation of how he has used FME in 3 projects to “Improve Information Usability at BC Transit” (Slides | Video). Michael and his team are definitely superheroes!

City of Vancouver Presented: www.safe.com/WorldTourProceedings
Presenters 2 and 3: Dan Campbell and Jim O'Leary from the City of Vancouver
From the City of Vancouver we were treated to two presentations. The first by Dan Campbell “Confessions of a Non-Power User” (Slides | Video) explains how a non-power user makes use of FME to work with 3D building data. Groundbreaking work here! The second was the best presentation I have ever seen on Python and FME by Jim O’Leary in his “Improving Python Productivity with FME” (Slides | Video). In only 15 minutes Jim shows how easy it is to embed Python scripts within FME! If you know or are interested in Python and FME this is the place to start!

Forte Consulting Presented: www.safe.com/WorldTourProceedings
Presenter 4: David van Blankenstein from Forte Consulting
Last but not least was David van Blankenstein with his talk “Doctored StrangArc: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Workbench” (Slides | Video). This could just as equally have been titled “Resistance is futile!”. David gave a light hearted historical perspective on his mission to stick with old fashioned mapping files instead of FME Workbench. The story has a happy ending with him relinquishing the dark side, seeing the light, and embracing Workbench!

Jason Birch, a true FME hero!
Jason Birch, a true FME superhero, came dressed in style!
One Great Experience
Overall, I found it a humbling experience to be surrounded by a wonderful group of people who are passionate and love what they do.

Thanks so much to our great FME superheroes for your dedication, your efforts, and your great feedback with our technology. We rely on you, our users, for so much. Please keep your comments coming. Let us know what you need and how we can better help you.

To our partners: it was fun catching up with everyone and sharing stories. I love the opportunity to throw out ideas and get your input on how we can improve FME to unlock even more data for our users. Thank you.

Thanks also to the great team at Safe who battle with such esoteric problems as: how can we make XML fun and easy? How can we support the complex geometries of BIM? How can we process single files that are approaching 100 Gigabytes in size? How can we make FME Server the best data-moving technology on the planet? You are an amazing group of professionals. Your care and discipline to your craft is inspiring. I love working with you.

What can I say about Dale? Where do I begin? I can’t imagine a better, more trustworthy, and enjoyable business partner. After 17 years on this journey it is still a pile of fun working with you. You are more than a business partner. You are a dear friend! I look forward to the future.

Last but not least, thanks to the data villains and the horrible, nasty, big, error-filled datasets that we get to work with every day. You are the reason we exist! As you work to create even bigger hairballs you need to remember one thing: FME and the League of Spatial Superheroes are ready! Our motto is simple – give people the data they want, when, where, and how they want it.

Exciting Times Ahead
After so many years, I have to say that I can’t remember a more exciting time with so much opportunity in front of us. The world of data is exploding. Data is everywhere and coming from more directions, sources, and devices than ever before – and we are right in the middle of it.

We look for feedback on all aspects of our events. If you’ve recently attended one: what did you like or not like? What presentations did you enjoy? What do you want to see more of?

Free FME user meetings coming up soon.It’s not too late to register for one of the 25+ cities on the FME 2011 World Tour. If you attend, you’re in for a fun-filled, action-packed day where you will learn how to unlock more of the value of your data – no matter where you are on your journey to FME superhero-dom.

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