I recently had the pleasure of escaping the Texas summer heat and traveling to Vancouver, BC, for a Safe Software training class. I had stopped at the Safe Software booth at ESRI UC for a few minutes this July, and one of their reps gave me a quick intro to FME Desktop. Well, one thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was signed up for the class.
I haven’t taken a whole lot of similar classes but enough to know which ones are a failure, and which ones are worth your time. The one for FME Desktop 2011 was one of the best I’ve taken. In fact, I couldn’t help myself and had to rave to the friends at Safe about it. So let me quote from my own email:
First of all, let me share with you that I found the FME Desktop class to be top-notch ! I have taken a few similar classes or workshops in the past and this one stands out. Not only did I get the impression that [the instructor] really knows her stuff never mind the occasional FATAL ERROR 🙂 but the format of the class (30 minutes teaching, 10 minutes hands-on), plus the quality of the manual, made for a real good package that I would recommend to anyone interested in FME. Well done ! — That said, I think FME is fantastic. I think I mentioned to both of you that I have pulled my hair out trying to wrap my brain around ESRI’s ModelBuilder more than once. FME makes more sense to me, is a lot more intuitive to my thinking and the work flows I deal with …
So, there you have it. If you haven’t taken a look at FME and deal with lots of ETL (extraction-transformation-loading) procedures, then this may be for you. Funny thing is (and I think both instructor and manual shared this with us), they say, that 90% of all FME transformations consist of shapefile >>> shapefile conversion e.g. reprojection, adding attributes… What does that say about ArcGIS if people use FME to transform shapefiles ? I’ve certainly tried to use ModelBuilder more than once, and every time I found that is was much easier and straight forward to just write things out in Python. With FME, I felt that – while things can get very complex – the approach stays very clear and intuitive.