Getting Started with FME Form: Introduction to FME Data Inspector

Liz Sanderson
Liz Sanderson
  • Updated

FME Version

  • FME 2023.0


This article will help you get started with FME Form. We will cover how to use the FME Data Inspector to visualize and query data, and how to transfer data to the Data Inspector from FME Workbench. To learn how to use Visual Preview (2019+), see Getting Started with FME Form: View Data.



Source Data

The data used in this tutorial originates from open data made available by the City of Vancouver , British Columbia. It contains information licensed under the Open Government License - Vancouver.

Step-by-Step Instructions

To carry out the process described in the video, you need to carry out the following steps. Note both source dataset and a workspace are attached to this article.

1) Start FME Workbench

In Windows, this is found under Start > All Programs > FME Form > FME Workbench.

In iOS, open up Applications > FME Workbench.

Download the attached data, if you have not done so already, and unzip it.

2) Open Workspace

You may already have a workspace open if you're continuing on from part 3. If not, open the attached workspace, 2018GettingStartedPart4-Begin.fmwt.

3) Run Workspace

Select Run > Run with Feature Caching on the menu bar, then run the workspace.

4) Double-Click a Feature Count

Click on any of the green icons with magnifying glasses next to output ports. The data as it is at that stage of translation will be opened in the FME Data Inspector.


5) Start FME Data Inspector

You can also open FME Data Inspector at any time. In Windows this is found under Start > All Programs > FME Form > FME Data Inspector.

On a Mac, open up your Applications > FME Data Inspector.

6) Open Dataset: Parks

In FME Data Inspector, select File > Open Dataset from the menu bar.

7) Set the source format

Set the source format to MapInfo TAB (MITAB) by typing the name into the field until it appears within the dropdown list.

8) Browse to and select the source dataset

Select Hit OK.

9) Open Dataset: Roads

Drag-and-drop the Roads.dwg (available in from a file browser (like Windows Explorer or Finder) into the FME Data Inspector. Ensure it is dropped onto the Display Window. A window will appear but do not hit OK yet.

10) Set Parameters

[Not shown in video] Open the Parameters dialog and ensure the Group Entities By parameter is set to Attribute Schema. When prompted, click OK to add the dataset.


11) Add a Background Map

To add context to your data, we can add a background map. Click Tools > FME Options. From the Background Map dialog, find the + option and select a basemap from the dropdown menu of the Source parameter. Click OK to exit the menu. A new background map will be added underneath your data.


12) Browse Data

Use the Zoom and/or Pan windowing tools on the toolbar to browse through the data.

13) Set Display Parameters and Symbology

To change color or reorder the features, use the Display Control window to the left of the View window. To change the color of your features, click on the style icon beside the name to pull up the Geometry Drawing Styles window. The style icon looks like a quadrant for this data. To reorder your features, drag and drop them to your desired position. Features at the top of the list are representative of the top-down viewing order in your View window.

In this case, ensure that the roads features appear above the parks features.

14) Query a Feature

Ensure that the Select Features tool is selected on the toolbar. Click on a feature to query it and inspect the information that is returned in the Feature Information window beside your View window.

15) Browse Table View

Browse through the attributes for all features using the Table View window.

If you select the blue linked numbers In the Display Control window, representing feature counts next to the feature types, those features will be selected in the Table View window.


We hope you have found these Getting Started with FME Form tutorials useful. If you have any questions about using FME Form, check search the Q&A Forum, read the FME Form Documentation, or post your question in the comments below. If you want more tutorials to try out other features of FME Form, check out the Getting Started Exercises accessible from the Start tab of FME Workbench under Resources. You can also check out the Tutorial: FME Core Concepts  or take the FME Form Basic Training Course live online or from a recording.


Terminology Introduced

Data Inspection: The act of inspecting data to ensure quality and correctness

FME Data Inspector: The FME application for Data Inspection

Feature Caching: Running a workspace will generate a cache of all features being output from a transformer. Clicking the magnifying glass icon will open the data at that point of the translation in FME Data Inspector.


Data Attribution
The data used here originates from open data made available by the City of Vancouver , British Columbia. It contains information licensed under the Open Government License - Vancouver.

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