Safe Software’s FME in Oil and Gas

Oil and Gas users discuss Feature Manipulation Engine applications in upstream GIS.

Safe Software’s FME in Oil and Gas conference was held in Calgary last month. Safe’s feature manipulation engine (FME) is a spatial extract, transform and load (ETL) tool that includes a GIS data integration environment. FME supports over 160 different raster and vector formats and databases. Mark Stoakes, of Safe’s Software Professional Services unit enumerated some of the many navigation data formats encountered in the Canadian oil industry, from legacy formats like GenaMap through SDE, SDO and raster formats to the emerging Google Earth KML. Surveys of Safe users have shown that while ESRI formats account for around 25% of overall usage, there are over 30 other formats in use.

Oil and gas

Stoakes described a few typical oil and gas uses of FME. EnCana’s MapWiz, an application originally developed by Safe for PetroCanada, merges local GIS data from a central warehouse with IHS data. Talisman Energy’s land lease mapping application uses Safe’s ArcSDEQuerier to merge lease polygons with attribute data, creating line geometry for data resident in its PPDM well and seismic database. Devon Energy updates its SEGP 2D/3D, Shape 2D/3D and ArcSDE in one process – a two day task reduced to 20 minutes. Kerr-McGee integrates ArcIMS and data in FME’s SpatialDirect format in real time, performing on-the-fly transformation to other formats including Tobin TDRBM II. In Nexen, FME runs every 30 minutes to check the PPDM master database for changes and rerun transformations.

Spatial Direct

EnCana’s MapWiz application has been productized as SpatialDirect, part of FME’s Spatial ETL Server family of applications. This comprises web based components for creating sites where users can download spatial data in any format or coordinate system. SpatialDirect can integrate web mapping solutions such as ArcIMS, MapGuide, GeoMedia WebMap and MapInfo’s MapExtreme.


In the summing up, it was noted that more formats are always coming. Today’s novelties include Google Earth KML, Google SketchUp, FalconView and Oracle Raster. Organizations are building web services and Service Oriented Architectures leveraging WFS, GeoRSS, Rest, and SOAP/XML. According to Safe, FME is the data integration/aggregation environment for consuming spatial web services. More from and the FME Wiki on

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