I have started using GIS about 14 years ago when I begun using some mapping
software specializing in contouring. I was lucky to have some lecturers, then,
who would fight to get new hardware for the students and push us - rather than
advice us - to put those 286 machines to a better use than playing solitaire and
“Prince Of Persia”.
During that time, the only thing close to GIS Mapping was the use of AutoCAD
which was good enough for initial work. When years past we started to learn more
about the convenience of GIS and how it was easier to link attributes to
I started using GPS about 10 years ago when I was searching for good mining
spots and report them on a map. In that time, there was no software for mobile
I have been using ESRI technology for about 8 years now and complemented my work
by using Safe Software products which opened tremendous possibilities in terms
of data processing, manipulation and conversion. FME, or Feature Manipulation
Engine can read and write just about 180 formats either GIS, CAD and RDBMS. It
is quite overwhelming to say that such package could do much more than what we
think besides doing one-to-one vector conversions, it has recently added imagery
support i.e JPEG2000, MrSID, ER-Mapper, ERDAS and can manipulate rasters as
well. I have personally not tested all the capabilities, but I would be glad to
share the experience with anyone who is interested.
FME is getting popular in Malaysia since a number of business entities have
purchased the product to enhance their outputs. Some newer tools might be buggy
when new (it seldom happens), but Safe Software team makes available a new build
or beta version every Friday and they would not forget to contact you whenever
the bug has been fixed.
FME is the only software that I know of which can make a correct conversion from
CAD to GIS formats without the loss of attributes and it is also the only
software that I know of which could make a proper conversion putting the
annotations and text properly on a CAD drawing/Map.
Safe Software only pushes to fulfill the user’s requirements as quickly as
possible. They have to look into the demand of course, but also the importance
of the request.
We as GIS Innovation Sdn Bhd are proud of having organized the “The First Safe
Software Asian Conference” here in Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia. The conference was
successful and the users had shown interest in the new version FME 2006 GB which
is a major release.
For the future, we are looking forward to organize the Second Safe Software
Conference in 2007. We also look forward to organize more regional training
sessions for the users who would like to get more knowledge and self support on
GIS Innovation Sdn Bhd
MyGIS - Malaysia Geographic Information Systems
I first heard about FME in late 2001 when I was working on a proposal for one of
the Malaysian government departments where some of specifications of the project
required the capability of reading and writing to a couple of formats which were
not supported by most of the commonly used GIS software available in the
country. After requesting for help in a number of online forums, the replies
were the same: “We use FME at our office; you can check out their website at
www.safe.com..."; and, FME indeed fulfilled the requirements.
Upon setting up GIS Innovation Sdn Bhd, we decided to represent Safe Software
products in Malaysia as the technology had immense potential in the country’s
GIS industry. Now, we are helping organizations to import data in several
formats or to provide their own data in numerous formats. GIS in Malaysia has
grown steadily for the past ten years with a wide range of applications
developed within the public and private sectors.
During this period, different technologies have been used for this purpose. For
the past two years, it has always been with pride that we hear comments from the
users, at the end of presentations or training sessions, such as: “I wish I had
the software last year” or “it can’t get simpler once you get used to it”.
During the month of March 2004, two major universities in the country have shown
their interests in making the software available for their students and now have
them running in some of their GIS laboratories.
Any problems converting or manipulating data? FME will lead you to your
By Lyes Mokraoui
GIS Innovation Sdn Bhd