FME and Smallworld Configuration Options

Liz Sanderson
Liz Sanderson
  • Updated

How can I access Smallworld data through FME?

You have various options for reading or writing Smallworld VMDS (Virtual Managed Data Store) data using FME. Safe Software does not develop an in-house Smallworld reader/writer. The Smallworld readers and writers for FME have been developed by GE Smallworld and Spatial Business Systems.

Smallworld does not need to be installed on the client machine running FME that is accessing the database.

NOTE: Safe Software does not ship the core components of the Smallworld reader or writer. You will need to request the Smallworld Translators Suite DVD from GE Support Central (more info below)

What are the options for accessing Smallworld data in FME?

1. GE Smallworld Reader/Writer – FME Translator

There are different reader/writer versions for the different versions of Smallworld - 4.x, 5.x etc. It is important to make sure that you have the correct FME and magik components for your version of Smallworld. The functionality of the different versions of the GE Smallworld reader/writer varies considerably, depending on the version or the reader/writer that is compatible with your version of Smallworld. The readers & writers are available as the FME Translator through GE Digital Grid Customer Portal or your Smallworld reseller (request the Smallworld Translators Suite DVD for your Smallworld version). Note that you should be able to download the installer through your account on the GE Digital Grid Customer Portal download site.

Smallworld installers are shipped on .iso files that mimic a DVD. You should be able to open the ISO file in Windows Explorer. 

For more detailed information about your specific configuration, you can contact GE Support or Safe Software through our support team.



  • Copy the sworldswaf.dll and sworldswaf.fmf files into their respective FME directories from the Smallworld Translator Suite installation.
    • Make sure that the DLL and metafile matches the version of the Smallworld database that you are connecting to and also match FME 32-bit or 64-bit versions.
  • <FME_InstallDir>/sworldswaf.dll
  • <FME_InstallDir>/metafiles/sworldswaf.fmf

You also need to have the FME Translator magik component installed in an appropriate image and have the FME Connection Service running, e.g.:

  • fme_connection_service.start(30000, _unset, :gis)

FME 64-bit support: 

  • Smallworld 5.1 - Smallworld 5.1.9 (update 3)  and higher supports FME 64-bit
  • Smallworld 5.2  & 5.3 and higher support FME 64-bit.

In the FME Translators installers folder select the appropriate sworldswaf.dll from the x86 or x64 folders. Usually in:

C:\<Smallworld Translators Install>\fme\etc

FME Flow (formerly FME Server): You can publish Smallworld to FME Flow provided:

  • you are using the Smallworld-FME Connection Service - fme_connection_service.start(30000, _unset, :gis)
  • Note: FME 2021.2 was the last version to support 32-bit. 


2. SBS SpatialBiz Reader/Writer for Smallworld

Spatial Business Systems have developed an extra cost plug-in to support Smallworld reading & writing.

You can obtain additional information from Spatial Business Systems.


3. Smallworld SOM for FME

The Smallworld SOM for FME extends the format reach of the Smallworld SOM. The Smallworld SOM for FME components are available from GE Smallworld. The Smallworld SOM for FME is not a Smallworld reader/writer as it does not access data in the Smallworld VMDS. It allows you to display data from different formats in the Smallworld GIS.


4. Smallworld XML

FME can also be configured to read a Smallworld XML export. The Smallworld XML export is available in the Smallworld Explorer. The Smallworld export XML isn't that user friendly so we've put together an example xfmap to help users get started. Download CambridgeSmallworldXMLExportReader.fmwt from the Files section. 


FME Version Compatibility

FME 2012 - 2021: are compatible with the majority of the available Smallworld readers and writers. In most cases, we recommend using the latest version of FME for your Smallworld data transformations. Safe Software strives to maintain backwards compatibility for our FME products.

FME 2022 and higher: FME 2022 only supports 64-bit applications so you must use the 64-bit sworldswaf.dll. Check with your GE Smallworld provider to obtain the sworldsaf.dll for FME 2022 - FME 2022 is not compatible with the previous sworldswaf.dll's and requires a revised sworldswaf.dll from GE Smallworld. 

SBS SpatialBiz Smallworld Plugin (FME 32- or 64-bit): The SpatialBiz Plug-in by Spatial Business Systems is compatible with the latest versions of FME and Smallworld.

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