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Iowa DOT Improves Data Access with FME

Roger Aikema
June 9, 20113 min
See how Iowa DOT uses FME to easily share data with 109 maintenance garages across the state.

With internal and external stakeholders working in a variety of applications (Esri® ArcGIS®, Intergraph® GeoMedia®, and Bentley® Microstation®), it can be difficult to gain a unified view of data assets. For this reason, the Iowa Department of Transportation has always stressed the importance of interoperability to allow people to easily use and share data.

For many years, Shawn Blaesing-Thompson, Office of Maintenance GIS Coordinator at the DOT, has been using FME to help achieve this objective. Among her responsibilities, Shawn manages data and coordinates areas of responsibility for 109 maintenance garages across the state. In order for maintenance personnel to both plan and report their work, the road segments within these areas need to be accurate.

Periodically, these road segments change and the system needs to be updated. This updating process previously took up to 5 hours to complete as it required numerous steps to query, export, and process data from their ArcGIS and GeoMedia systems, before finally loading the data back into their Oracle® database.

Shawn used FME Desktop to simplify the process and as a result, save hours of time. From start to finish, the process is now completed in half the time. “The ability to keep the data in its native format has been extremely valuable to us” says Shawn. “Not only has it helped us improve our data quality, but it’s also allowed us to perform more sophisticated analysis.”

The DOT began working with HNTB Corporation in 2009 on an ambitious project known as the I-80 GIS Database and Portal. The portal was designed to enable more informed decision making by providing stakeholders with easy access to environmental and business data along over 500 miles of the I-80 highway corridor. A key requirement for the Iowa DOT was allowing its users to continue working in their familiar applications, while at the same time not compromising on data quality or workflow efficiency.

To accomplish this feat, the team turned to FME Server to power the portal’s data upload and data distribution capabilities. With FME Server running behind-the-scenes, users can easily upload data in a variety of formats. Once the data is in the portal, other users are able to view the data and download it in their preferred format.

Due to the success of the I-80 GIS Database and Portal, the team is now hard at work on an expanded statewide Highway Division Portal. To reduce maintenance efforts, this new portal will use FME’s dynamic schema capability to reduce the number of workspaces required. As well, the Generic Writer will be employed to increase the number of available formats. Finally, the team is exploring ways to use FME’s LiDAR data capabilities to make its statewide LiDAR dataset of 37,000 LAS tiles more easily accessible via the portal.

To learn more about what FME Server can do, visit: www.safe.com/fmeserverexamples

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