Data Integration with FME Desktop

This manual is an introductory-level training module for FME Desktop, designed for delivery in higher education. It provides a framework for a basic understanding of FME and for using FME in data integration. While the scenario used is grounded in Geographic Information Systems for local government, urban planning, and administration, the skills are applicable to any use of FME. It has approximately four hours of content.

The module will introduce basic concepts and terminology, help students become efficient users of FME, and direct them to resources to help apply the product to their own needs.

Learning Objectives

  • Discover the importance of data integration as a technical and business challenge
  • Learn what FME Desktop is and what it can do for you
  • Convert data from one format to another using FME Workbench
  • View and inspect data using FME Data Inspector and Visual Preview
  • Work with multiple datasets in a single workspace
  • Manipulate data structure and content with transformers
  • Apply best practices to workspaces

Module Structure

The module is made up of three main sections. These sections are:

  • Lecture
  • Lab
  • Scenario-based Exercise

The Lecture section is intended to be adapted by instructors to be taught in a classroom lecture. It covers conceptual issues of data integration and provides a high-level introduction to FME. Slides are available.

The Lab section provides a walkthrough of how to use FME. It is designed to be presented by an instructor in a lab, with students either following along or independently completing the provided exercises. It is the same content as our Introduction to FME Desktop training.

Finally, the Scenario-based Exercise section provides a data integration scenario for students to complete during lab time or as an assignment.

Lab questions are provided; instructors may fill out this form to request access to answers for grading.

Module Audience

This module is aimed at a university or college student audience. FME sees a wide range of applications in any discipline that works with data, but is most commonly used in:

  • Architecture
  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Forestry
  • Geography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Oil & Gas
  • Public Administration
  • Telecommunications
  • Urban Planning
  • Utilities

Students should be comfortable with data manipulation software in a scripted or GUI environment. Prior knowledge of FME is not required. If the instructor wishes to adapt the module to a higher level, the lecture and lab demonstration content can be shortened.

Module Length

The module's total length is approximately four hours. The lecture is approximately half an hour. The lab contains about two hours of walkthrough and exercises. Finally, the scenario-based exercise will take about an hour to complete. The instructor may choose to cover as many of these sections as they feel are required, or possible in the time permitted. They may also cover the module content in a different order and will skip or add new content to better customize the module to their needs. Therefore, the length and content of the module may vary.

Adapting this Module

All of this content is provided for instructors to use, adapt, and remix for their own modules. Please note that this use does come with some legal caveats, explained in About this Document.

If you wish to change the content of the manual, you can fork the GitHub repository. The manual is created using the GitBook toolchain and is written in easily editable Markdown. Detailed instructions on adapting this content are also available.

Some suggestions for adaptation:

  • Localize the exercise data to your country or city. A list of open data portals is available here. You could also use OpenStreetMap data, which has good global coverage.
    • If you do change the data, feel free to modify your own Module Resources page.
  • If you prefer to grade close-ended questions, you could edit the final question in the scenario exercise. You could restrict the datasets or provide a data integration problem to solve rather then leaving it open for students to choose their data.

Current Status

The current status of this manual is: COMPLETE. his manual CAN be used for training. This manual applies to FME2019.0. The status of each chapter is:

  • Lecture: Complete
  • Lab: Complete content and exercises
  • Integration Scenario: Complete content and exercises
  • Slides: Complete
  • Answers: Complete

NB: Even for completed content, Safe Software Inc. assumes no responsibility for any errors in this document or their consequences, and reserves the right to make improvements and changes to this document without notice. See the full licensing agreement in About this Document for further details.


Thanks to FME users Dave Laurier, Clair Ellul, and Patrick Lougheed for their feedback on an earlier version of this module.

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