In June, I had pleasure of attending and speaking at the FME International User Conference 2014 in Vancouver, Canada. We participate regularly in Safe Software’s local World Tour events here in Denver, but this was the first international gathering of FME users in five years. And what a gathering it was!
FME is integral to what we do at WhiteStar. There’s nothing out there quite like it – if you are touching spatial data, chances are you’ll do it better with FME. And so it was a treat to commune for four days with like-minded data specialists from around the world, and with the technical minds at Safe too.
One of the best parts of conferences like this is the sheer infusion of energy from being surrounded by people who are as excited about data and its possibilities as you are. There were a number of notable takeaways that came out of presentations and conversations.
Possibly first and foremost, integration as a data person’s challenge isn’t going away anytime soon. There is no “one-size-fits-all” common format that will meet the ever-expanding needs of data consumers. In our world, that extends to G&G formats – a commonly used exchange format like shape files isn’t going cut it for geoscience data, spatial though it may be. And the need to transform data between systems will persist for the foreseeable future – despite the enthusiasm of XML fans.
The cloud was front and center throughout the conference, as it is increasingly so in our day-to-day operations. Safe is doing some very interesting things including FME Cloud (FME Server instances on a pay-as-you-go basis) that make for some hmmm! moments about affordable (both in terms of software licensing and hardware costs) access and its potential. Cloud-based processing also overlaps with real-time sensor data territory, which has some powerful potential in the petroleum industry and deserves some real consideration.
Big data, point clouds, sensors, cloud – all sorts of food for future thought was presented that either has a role in our business today, or will tomorrow. Yet the most rewarding takeaway from this event was that of a software vendor – yes, really! – that listens to the customers that rely on them every day to bring you better data products. And I know that many of you, our customers, rely on it too when you need to do things to spatial data.
Bottom line: If you can think it, you can do it with FME. (Or if it’s really tricky, with FME and a bit of Python.) And though this entire edition of the Navigator may sound like a paid advert for a software company, it’s really just one of those occasions when we step away from products and company branding and get truly enthusiastic about something that makes our everyday work a pleasure to do.
Interested in a Denver FME User Group?
We’re thinking of starting up a Denver FME User Group. Are you an FME fan in the area? Or maybe an FME newbie looking to get tips from other users? Email us if you’d be interested in participating - User Groups provide a great way to learn and network with like-minded data pros both in our industry and outside of it and have been very successful in other cities.
Email Robert if you’re interested!