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FME Server, the Cloud and Everything

Kris Majury
January 15, 20133 min
An FME Server-driven spatial data management and distribution system in Norway resides in the cloud.
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Science has some pretty concrete ideas on how the Earth came to be. Science fiction, on the other hand, has some pretty entertaining ones – like being commissioned by mice (er – hyper intelligent pan-dimensional beings, that is) in Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Luxury planet designer Slartibartfast was justifiably proud of his award-winning coastline work on the fjords of Norway.

That stunning topography is home to Norsk Eiendomsinformasjon AS, a company owned by the Ministry of Trade and Industry that distributes land information to the professional market in Norway. The distribution is largely accomplished through their online marketplace Infoland(R), and Safe partner Geodata AS of Oslo plays a big part in making that happen – with FME Server.

FME Server is a popular choice for mapping agencies – so what’s the big deal here? Well, Geodata has taken the considerable step of moving all of this into the cloud – Amazon Web Services, to be exact. FME assists in the constant automated maintenance of a master geodatabase, stored on Amazon’s cloud infrastructure, and Geodata’s own GDO (Geodata Online) Web Services integrate with the Infoland storefront to handle data requests.

When GDO receives an order from Infoland, FME Server takes over. First, it checks that the area of interest is valid, and then calculates the appropriate UTM and local NTM zones. It clips the requested themes, and then prepares them, according to the Norwegian FKB standard, for the requested output format – SOSI (the Norwegian national standard, supported by Geodata’s own FME plugin), DXF, or shapefiles – in the desired coordinate system. GDO passes the zipped results back to Infoland for delivery. Typical processing time is around thirty seconds, and in 2012, more than 4,500 orders were handled automatically.

Knut Olav Sunde, Product Manager GDO Content, tells us about their architecture decisions. “The cloud has big advantages in cost efficiency and instant scalability – up and down,” he says. “And the choice of FME Server is a simple one. It’s effective, quick to set up new services, and making everything work is so easy.” If there was an award for innovation with FME Server, we certainly think that this project would be a worthy candidate!

To learn more about FME Server, go to www.safe.com/FMEServer

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