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FME and the Vault of Data

See how FME was instrumental in converting vintage 2D CAD data into a 3D masterpiece.

Every intrepid adventurer worth his salt has found himself standing in front of a massive structure, cryptic antique map in hand, deciphering how he’s going to run the gauntlet of traps inside and get to the treasure.

In the real world, vintage data has real value too. The challenge is how to use current technology to get the most out of it – a scenario that decommissioning engineer Lars-Olof Jönsson was facing when it came time to decommission the Barsebäck nuclear power plant, constructed in the early seventies. They knew that they wanted the benefits of a 3D model in the early stages of the plan – and turned to Ulf Månsson and Johan Sigfrid at Sweco Sweden for assistance.

Sweco’s tool of choice was FME. The only information at hand was non-georeferenced 2D CAD data, produced by scanning and digitizing the original paper As-Builts. The first step was to apply a real-world coordinate system, using FME and a series of control point files. Each drawing was then separated by floor, and each floor elevated to its true height above ground.

Room numbers are a key piece of data for the nuclear industry, and so the rooms were defined and attributed. The walls were set to their true width, extruded to 3D, and then holes were “punched” in the floors for rooms with vertical height spanning multiple floors. A one-meter square grid index was generated for both the interior of the facility and the surrounding grounds.

The last step in data preparation was to combine all of these with geology, surface, radioactivity and chemical sampling data – and then it was ready to send to 3D Adobe® PDF and 3D AutoCAD® DWG.

Sweco also produced “Intelligent Paper” – location-aware paper prints used for both indoor and outdoor surveying and sampling, and reintegration of the results into the master dataset.

“Decommissioning a nuclear plant takes a well thought out plan,” says Lars-Olof Jönsson. “Using FME for the quick and early generation of 3D models from vintage As-Builts supports logistics planning, volume estimating for demolition, and effective visualization and presentations.”

And so with FME and some quick thinking, our spatial data adventure comes to a successful conclusion, bringing historical data and current technology together for the benefit of all!

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