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Looking Back on FME UC 2017

We’re thrilled to welcome hundreds of FMEers from around the world to Vancouver for the next three days. After a long and snowy winter, we’re graced with this beautiful weather...
PDC team PDC team

We’re thrilled to welcome hundreds of FMEers from around the world to Vancouver for the next three days.

After a long and snowy winter, we’re graced with this beautiful weather just in time for everyone to visit! Hopefully you get a chance to explore the city before heading home.

We have a full week planned. We have lined up sessions, workshops, social events, and good food and drink.

Most of the Safe Software team will be here at some point, and we’re eager to talk to customers and partners about all the cool stuff you’ve been doing with FME and any ideas you have for FME 2018 and beyond.

Yesterday was a full day of pre-conference training, wrapping up with a soccer game and pub night. Today is officially Day 1 of the FME UC 2017. Here’s a recap of what happened.

Keep following @fmeuc and the #fmeuc hashtag for events as they happen.


FME UC 2017: Wednesday Recap

General Session: Data Transformation is Key

After opening remarks from the Deputy Mayor of Vancouver, Safe co-founders Don and Dale kicked off the conference with an inspiring look at everything people are accomplishing with data all over the world. The widespread use of GPS devices and sensors, rapidly improving 3D printing, and unprecedented quality of remote sensing satellites are just a few ways we’re seeing incredible applications of spatial data

Don and Dale discussed how data transformation is key to all of this incredible technology. Data is just data until you do something with it. Transformation is vital to decision-making, to understanding, and to shaping our world.

Think of raw data as oil, cloud systems as the oil refinery, and apps/databases/GIS/BI as the array of petroleum products. FME is the pipe that gets raw data to the refinery and to all of those products.

That means FME’ers are the data pipe fitters of the world. You control the flow of data from source to destination and everything in between.

As the data pipe fitters of the world, everything you do inspires us at Safe. You shape the future of data, of technology, and of FME.

Announcing FME Home License

Safe is big on giving free licenses to students and non-profits. Over the last year, we’ve given away $11.7 million worth of FME licenses to education programs.

Based on overwhelming user request and our goal to make FME widely available for non-commercial use, we are pleased to announce FME Home License. Learn more and apply for your free FME Home License.

New FME Server Trials

On the same lines, if you want to try FME Server but can’t set it up on your own machine, we have a new FME Server trial program. Sign up for FME Server and get a free trial on a cloud instance so you can start playing with it right away.

Chris Hadfield Keynote: Managing Complexity and Change

Col. Chris Hadfield delivered an insightful and engaging keynote relating his experiences to the importance of quality data, taking risks, and “visualizing failure” in order to achieve success.

Visualizing success will get you nowhere, he said. You need to think “what could go wrong and how can I beat that?” (or if you’re literally hurtling through space, “what’s the next thing that’s going to kill me?”) If you don’t know how to solve the problem yet, figure out all the data and be ready for it. Then do it again for the next challenge.

It was interesting to hear Chris Hadfield reiterate what Don and Dale said: “Data is just a bunch of noise until you do something with it.”

Sessions, FME Doctors, Video Booth, and More

After the general session, we broke into workshops and 5 tracks of user presentations. Here’s where we got to learn about all of the awesome things FMEers around the world are accomplishing. We’ll be sharing those presentations on our website after the UC is over so stay tuned for that.

The FME Doctors (i.e. our fantastic team of developers and experts) were on call all day answering questions and accepting ideas for future FME releases. Bring your laptops and your questions because they’ll be here all day tomorrow and Friday, too!

We also had a steady flow of conversations at the “I ❤️ FME” Video Booth, so that was awesome. Make sure you drop in at some point over the next two days. Tell us what your favourite transformer is, what you’re currently working on, what you love about FME, why you have strong feelings about a certain data format, or anything else you want to discuss.

You can also get your picture with your favourite transformer (or just make up your own transformer).

On second thought, maybe this Virtual Reality contest was a bit of a hazard:*

It’s about time to head over to the evening social. I hear Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper will be making an appearance.

Until tomorrow! Follow @fmeuc and the #fmeuc hashtag for events as they happen.


FME UC 2017: Thursday Recap

Okay. That evening social though. If you need one reason to come to the next FME UC, let that be it.

Darth Vader, acrobats, cotton candy, room full of awesome games, green screen photobooth, virtual reality, and oxygen bar.

Today we woke up extra early and ran around the seawall. Ha ha, just kidding. Some people did. I was not one of them.

Jan Bliki: European Environment Agency + FME Server

Our keynote today was Jan Bliki, data expert at the European Environment Agency. Since bringing FME into the EEA in 2013, they’ve grown to have among the largest FME Server installations.

Jan discussed his work with the EEA, handling data flows with FME and managing eighty datasets covering thirty three countries in Europe. Their small team handles large and complex datasets, and their workflows cover every possible problem you can imagine on spatial and tabular aspects.

The EEA employs FME Desktop, Server, and Cloud to make this not only manageable, but also very successful for data production in Europe.

Fireside Chat with Don and Dale

I had the pleasure of hosting a fireside chat with Don and Dale this morning, where I got to spend 45 minutes asking them questions coming in live from the audience.

We covered everything from what’s coming in FME to the challenges of running a company to who drives a faster car.

Sessions, FME Doctors, Video Booth, and More

Breakout sessions continued to be inspirational and full of amazing feats of data wrangling. In the social room, the day was full of more FME Doctoring, videoboothing, and photoboothing.

If last night’s social wasn’t enough, tonight we have a Hackathon! This is the chance for attendees to show off their FME skills and work together to build something awesome. The challenge is to build something for earth observation. Can’t wait to see what you all come up with!


FME UC 2017: Friday Recap

Turns out you guys can do a lot with FME in 3 hours — especially when fuelled by pizza and beer. My partner in crime @mapgirll tweeted all the Hackathon projects earlier and will post a recap here on the blog soon, so stay tuned for that.

Awards in FME Excellence

We awarded our partner of the year, con terra, and our top users in the FME Community. Thank you all for your amazing work and influence!

And then this happened.

Safe gave a lifetime achievement award to a data format that has made outstanding contributions to the industry for 25 years. Congratulations, Shapefile.

Apple Watch Innovations with Ulf Månsson (SWECO)

Turns out you can use the Apple Watch in conjunction with the FME Server Notification Service for all sorts of interesting location-based data. In Ulf’s demo, he took inventory of various locations of clues for our Virtual Reality Contest. He just found the clue, pushed a button on his Apple Watch, and the notification was picked up by FME Server and added to a map. Nice!

Sneak Peeks: FME 2018 and Beyond

We brought our developers on stage to demo what they’ve been working on. This was super cool — even many of us non-dev Safers were astounded to see what they’ve been doing.

First we got a peek at what’s coming soon in FME 2017.1 (stay tuned for a blog on that). Then we reached beyond this release to give you a sneak peek at what’s in beta for the future.

Check @fmeuc and the #fmeuc hashtag for the full stream of events this week, including social events, breakout sessions, and #FMESocksFriday.

Thank you all so much for joining us over this amazing week. If you weren’t able to make it out to this FME UC, we sincerely hope you can come to the next one. We promise tons of learning opportunities, networking, and an all-around good time.

I mean, I knew this week would be fun, but I had no idea just HOW fun. Stay in touch — and on behalf of the team, we look forward to seeing all of you again very soon!

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