What is FME?

Safe Software delivers FME (Feature Manipulation Engine), the data integration platform with the best support for spatial data worldwide.



Safe Software began in 1993, helping forestry companies exchange maps with the provincial government. It was technically possible to share the maps back then, but only after hours of manual work. Often, an incredible amount of information was lost in the process.

Nobody was happy. Safe Software created FME to address this problem and has been solving data challenges ever since. Today FME is the data integration platform with the best spatial support in the world, and it continues to expand what is possible by adding support for new data formats and workflows with each release.

Data Integration

"The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data."

-- The Economist, 2017

The creation, manipulation, and analysis of data represent a significant challenge for contemporary organizations. Never before has so much machine-readable data existed, but organizations still struggle to find ways to use this mass of information to aid in decision-making.

What is Data Integration?

We define data integration as bringing “together data from disparate sources in a unified view to create a dataset with both valuable and usable information.”

Data integration enables the combination and analysis of data across isolated "data silos" where it would normally be difficult to collaborate. Data silos refer to heterogeneous data sources that store data in specific locations. They have long been an issue due to legacy systems and disjointed departments. In the past, it would make sense for departments to select software and methods for data storage with only their needs in mind. Now it is essential to consider cross-functionality. Consolidating data with FME can help bring proprietary, legacy data into new systems that can easily be accessed by any team member.

Data Integration with FME

FME accomplishes data integration by reading data from multiple sources (in the graphic below, this is shown as sources A and B), using transformer tools to change or restructure the data to fit the users’ needs, and writing it to an output location (C):

FME's data integration capabilities can be used to convert file formats, transform data, or do both simultaneously. FME can also integrate complex spatial data, a category of data most integration tools on the market are unable to utilize. It uses a graphical interface, so no coding is required.

How FME Works

At the heart of FME is an engine that supports an array of data types, formats, and applications: Excel, CSV, XML, and databases, as well as various types of mapping formats including GIS, CAD, BIM, and many more.

The capability to support so many data types is made possible by a rich data model that handles all possible geometry and attribute types.

FME: Supported Data Types

Who Uses FME?

FME has helped thousands of customers worldwide leverage their data so it can be used exactly where, when, and how it’s needed. Many of our customers are in the following industries:

  • Architecture, Engineering, & Construction
  • Energy
  • Federal Government
  • Local Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Utilities

Below are a few examples of how people use FME, with links to more details.

Vancouver International Airport

The Vancouver International Airport (YVR) wanted to help passengers navigate inside the airport. They chose to share indoor mapping data in their own mobile app, on their web site, and via Apple Maps. Their indoor mapping source data was stored as CAD drawings. YVR became one of the first airports to provide indoor wayfinding by using FME to convert their CAD drawings into the Indoor Mapping Data Format.

Watch a video about this example. Watch a presentation about this example.

The Weather Network or Pelmorex Corp.

The Weather Network or Pelmorex Corp. wanted to provide government agencies, private companies, and the public, with real-time and archived lightning strike date. They used FME to convert data from sensors all over Canada to create the Pelmorex Lightning Detection Network (PLDN), which delivers maps, email alerts, and other valuable information.

Read a blog post about this example.

Tetrad Sitewise

Tetrad's Sitewise provides market analysis solutions to help their clients select sites for new business locations using FME. Sitewise can analyze competition, parking, transit accessibility, combining multiple datasets to make let clients make data-driven decisions about where to locate new facilities.

Watch a webinar about this example.

Visit our website for more customer stories.

Data Integration Platform

This course covers using FME Desktop to create data translations. FME Desktop is one piece of software in the FME data integration platform:

  • FME Desktop lets you connect and transform data.
    • For example, taking an Excel spreadsheet of business information and addresses and adding it to a MySQL database that is the backend to a citizen data access portal that allows searching for business license information.
  • FME Server lets you automate workflows on-premises.
    • For example, automatically retrieving data from a GIS layer to match incoming municipal business license applications, as well as sending an email to alert relevant stakeholders.
  • FME Cloud lets you automate workflows in the cloud.
    • For example, the city government above could access FME Server technology in a fully hosted AWS cloud environment.

FME Data Integration Platform

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