Friday, February 12, 2010

When a foot is not a foot

When integrating FME input/output with Smallworld there is one unit of measure that you need to be particularly wary about... the "foot". Depending on whom you are talking to a foot can be different things.

Consider this...

When people talk about FME calls it Smallworld calls it
International Foot IFOOT :feet
US Survey Foot FOOT :usfeet

This is important in two places when setting up your FME mapping files:
  1. Finding the correct FME coordinate system for the non-Smallworld end of the mapping file
    • If a customer tells you that they are giving you data to import into Smallworld and its units is "feet" make sure that you clarify whether it is in International Feet or US Survey Feet.
    • Looking at the FME coordinate system browser, I notice that many of the State Plane Coordinate Systems use the US Survey Foot.
    • You will need to clarify the same question when a customer asks you to export data from Smallworld. Typically, though, they will ask you for the data in a particular coordinate system and FME will know what units comprise that coordinate system.
  2. Finding the correct FME coordinate system to match your current Smallworld application coordinate system
    • Probably the biggest confusion of feet/usfeet/internationalFeet comes when you are trying to configure an FME coordinate system to match your Smallworld application coordinate system. You need to be absolutely sure that you are using the same "feet" unit in the FME version of the Smallworld application coordinate system.
    • Most application coordinate systems use "cm" or "mm" for units so you won't run into this confusion. Even in US installations where units are measured in feet and inches, the application coordinate system and database coordinate systems are often set to metric units. (Remember that what a user sees on the GIS can be set to show Imperial units even if the underlying coordinate systems use metric units).
A classic sign that you are dealing with the Foot/USFoot issue is if you try loading in data from an external source and it looks like it "almost but not quite" lines up with your existing data. In that case you should carefully review all the coordinate system projections in your data flow process to ensure that the correct "feet" units are used throughout.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

'2010: An FME Odyssey' coming to a North American city soon

Safe Software is promoting the recent release of FME 2010 with a series of one-day complimentary events in cities throughout Canada and the USA. Check out the full-day program overview here. I plan to attend the session in Denver on March 24. I hope to see some of you there!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Smallworld Product Release History

I recently received a note from a reader of this blog asking if I knew the history of the Smallworld Product release versions and dates. I have never kept close tabs on that so I thought it would be interesting to research it a bit. Thanks to the folks at GE for providing this information!

Source: GE's Americas Customer Support Organization


Release Date

Core Spatial Technology (GIS)

Smallworld 2.0(0)

July 1993

Smallworld 2.0(1)

August 1993

Smallworld 2.0(2)

December 1993

Smallworld 2.0(3)

January 1994

Smallworld 2.0(4)

March 1994

Smallworld 2.1(0)

November 1994

Smallworld 2.1(1)

March 1995

Smallworld 2.1(2)

January 1995

Smallworld 2.1(3)

March 1996

Smallworld 2.1(3)NT

May 1996

Smallworld 2.2(0)

December 1996

Smallworld 2.1(3) G

April 1997

Smallworld 2.2(1)

September 1997

Smallworld 3.0(0)

September 1998

Smallworld 3.1(0)

November 1999

Smallworld 3.1(0)SP1

March 2000

Smallworld 3.1(0)SP2

August 2000

Core Spatial Technology 3.2

June 2001

Core Spatial Technology 3.2.1

November 2001

Smallworld Core Spatial Technology 3.3

June 2002

Smallworld Core Spatial Technology 4

December 2003

Smallworld Core Spatial Technology 4.1

December 2006

Smallworld Core Spatial Technology 4.1.1

February 2008

In addition to this, a conversation I had with Peter Batty recently brought up the fact that he had worked on a version 1.9.6 back in 1992.

A lot has changed in Smallworld in the 20+ years of its existence. In my opinion, the product only gets better with each release. I'm looking forward to seeing more of version 4.2 at the EMEAI Conference.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Going to 2010 Smallworld EMEAI Users Conference

I am very excited to announce that I will be attending the 2010 Smallworld EMEAI Users Conference in Noordwijk, The Netherlands this March. I have been to quite a few Smallworld Users Conferences in the Americas but never in EMEAI. For those of you not familiar with the acronym, EMEAI stands for Europe, Middle East, Africa, India.

The kind folks at Realworld Systems have offered me a spot in their booth to demo the iFactor Web Maps Connector product. If you are interested in other iFactor product offerings, I will also be able to demonstrate or discuss them.

Aside from those product-demo goals, if you would like to talk about Smallworld/FME, SmallworldCamp, Visualization, or just introduce yourself, please come find me at the Realworld booth.

And if I have time, I think it would be fun to do some informal code demoing and sharing. Kind of like a mini BarCamp at Smallworld. Please send me a note if you are interested in this kind of informal sharing and we can coordinate a meeting time.

Over the years I have made many contacts in the Smallworld realm in the EMEAI region but have never met them in person. I'm hoping that on this trip I will be able to meet many of you and also make new acquaintances.

See you in March!