How Do I Do That in FME

Liz Sanderson
Liz Sanderson
  • Updated

FME Version

  • FME 2022.0


In 2004, a group of students at Cornell University created a guide titled: “How Do I Do That in ArcGIS/Manifold”, which detailed how to complete a set of common GIS tasks using ArcGIS and Manifold tools. Their guide became increasingly popular in the GIS community and spawned many different iterations based on other GIS Packages, such as QGIS, PostGIS, ArcPy, and now FME. While FME is not a GIS, many of the operations described in these documents can be done as part of FME ETL workflows.

How Do I Do That in FME is a series of articles that focuses on the same five categories covered by its predecessors:

  1. Database Management
  2. Database Creation
  3. Data Manipulation
  4. Data Analysis
  5. Data Display and Presentation.

The intention of this guide is to assist new users and GIS professionals who are in need of direction when performing a common task in FME. 

If you are a new FME user, please consider visiting the FME Academy to learn more about the free online training provided by Safe Software or explore our Knowledge Base. For other GIS-specific articles, see Working with GIS Data and FME.

Database Management

Database Creation

Assigning Topology

  • Creating a Polygon from Line Segments: In this tutorial, you will create polygons for city blocks from a street network that consists of Arterial, Residential, Private, and Non-city streets using the AreaBuilder.
  • Correcting Topological Errors: In this article, you will learn how to use FME to identify topological errors using the SpatialFilter.
  • Creating Lines from Points: The LineBuilder connects input point features in the order they enter, forming linear or polygonal features. The output features will contain a merged set of attributes from all the features that were connected together, where the value for an attribute in the resulting feature comes from the first feature that had an attribute with that name that was part of the resulting feature.

Data Manipulation

Data Restructuring

Smoothing Data to Recover Sinuosity

Data Transformation

Vector Overlay

Data Analysis

Raster Processing

  • Simple Examples Using the RasterExpressionEvaluator Transformer: This article will demonstrate commonly used raster transformations using the RasterExpressionEvaluator. The RasterExpressionEvaluator is a transformer that evaluates expressions on each cell in a raster, such as algebraic operations or conditional statements.
  • Raster Calculations and Raster Palettes: In this article, we will calculate the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). The more infrared light is reflected and the more red light is consumed, the healthier the plant is.
  • Raster Neighborhood Functions: The RasterConvolver is a transformer that applies a convolution filter to raster data. Convolution filters are applied using a kernel which is specified by a matrix of weights for the neighboring values. Filtering can be used to smooth, sharpen, and enhance edges and other raster image manipulation operations.

Statistical Function

  • Calculating Areas, Perimeters and Lengths: In this tutorial, you will learn how to calculate the area and perimeter of polygon features, as well as calculate the length of line features. 
  • Pivot Tables and FME: This article demonstrates the FME transformers that can be used to construct a pivot-table.


  • Buffering features for Spatial Relationship Analysis: When assessing spatial relationships, a common scenario is finding out whether one feature is within X distance of another feature. 
  • Polygons Within Distance of Selected Features: With FME, you can perform the same task by querying your data with a Tester to “select” the desired feature(s), then select the features that pass the query using the NeighborFinder.
  • Find Nearest Features: In this tutorial, you will learn how to find the nearest features using point and polygon datasets. The purpose of this operation is to find the nearest feature from an object of interest based on the straight line distance between features.

3D Analysis

Network Functions

Data Display and Presentation 

  • Map and Map Feature Annotation: In this tutorial, you will learn how to create labels for point features and how to create a center point in polygons which can then be converted to a label point. 

Additional Resources


Data Attribution

Unless otherwise stated, the data used throughout this series 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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