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   |   May 21, 2008   |   By Safe Software

A New Era in AutoCAD Map 3D Object Data Support

FME 2008 marks a whole new era for Map 3D object data support with the introduction of the new Autodesk Map 3D Object Data Reader/Writer. Now your organization can experience the time-saving benefits of reading and writing geometry and attribute data as object data to DWG and DXF files.

Although basic Map 3D object data reading was originally introduced in FME 2003, FME 2008 offers users more flexibility than ever before. For example, a new Reading Mode setting lets you extract the data in three different structures – raw, classic and entity – so you can configure the translation based on your data model requirements. Plus, the new Reader/Writer no longer requires Autodesk Map 3D to be installed on your machine.

Long-time FME user Bryan Waller had an opportunity to compare FME’s new Map 3D Object Data Reader with the previous one while working at Midwest Surveys. “The new reader is significantly faster for Midwest’s GIS team to use,” says Bryan. “Eliminating the need to launch the AutoCAD application has been a significant time saver.”

FME 2008 is the first 3rd party product to add support for writing attribute data as Map 3D object data. According to Bryan, “This new capability has enabled Midwest to reduce the number of steps required to update and extract data from its ESRI ArcSDE warehouse. Now with just a few clicks, the GIS team can write object data directly into a ‘smart’ CAD drawing so CAD users no longer need to waste time trying to get more context from the primary source.”

In his new role as Senior GIS Consultant at Golder Associates, Bryan also sees several opportunities for his team to apply FME’s new Map 3D object data support. “Safe has given us another tool in our spatial ETL toolbox to help us solve yet another very real challenge that many of our clients face.”

The City of Turlock has also been using FME’s new Map 3D Object Data support to help improve interoperability between the engineering and utility maintenance departments. Acting as an efficient gateway between MapGuide and Map 3D users, FME is helping streamline the updating of sewer infrastructure data. Field technicians now redline sewer line changes through a MapGuide interface which stores the geometry as SDF files and associated attributes in Microsoft SQL Server. These data files are accessed by FME Workbench and written directly as an AutoCAD DWG with object data so engineers can easily modify the original drawings and generate updated run books (maps) for the field.

FME brings several benefits to this process. First, it allows engineering to more quickly provide updated data to the field. “What used to take multiple edits on paper now only takes two edits online,” says Dan Lourenco, IT Analyst at the City. “The new process also includes edit logs so users can clearly understand what changes have been made and when they were completed. This has significantly reduced frustration in the field.”

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With FME, the City’s field technicians are no longer operating in the dark with incomplete or inaccurate information. “Data accuracy is paramount,” comments Dan. “This new process is mission critical in that it prevents the field team from high impact mistakes. Our GIS engineers are happy too as they no longer face the risks associated with trying to interpret hand drawn map changes.”

FME 2008’s new Map 3D Object Data support is available in all FME Desktop editions on the Windows platform. For examples on how you can use this new capability, visit: www.safe.com/ObjectDataSupport.