Working with GIS Data and FME

Liz Sanderson
Liz Sanderson
  • Updated


GIS data can be categorized into 3 types; spatial data, non-spatial data, and metadata. For a high-level overview of how FME can help you with GIS and location intelligence, see our website


GIS Terminology

For a comprehensive list of GIS terminology, see the Esri GIS Dictionary.

  • Attribute: Details or properties about a feature
  • Background map: A map in behind the layers, used for providing a visually pleasing background or for providing location context to the data.
  • Coordinate System: A mathematical system that describes the position of points in space.
  • Feature: A feature in FME is an individual item within the translation. Typically a GIS or cartographic feature consists of a geometric representation plus a set of related attributes.
  • Field: In a table, it is the column that stores values for a single attribute.
  • Geocoding: Converting street addresses into spatial point data to display on a map.
  • Layer: A set of similar data, for example, roads or businesses. An example of a Feature Type in FME.
  • Line: Connecting two points on a map, has length but not area, for example, a road on a map.
  • Point: A single dot containing one set of coordinates, for example, the location of a city on a map.
  • Polygon: Three or more points on a map, has both length and area, for example, a park boundary on a map.
  • Raster: Data that is displayed as a regularly spaced grid of pixels, such as satellite imagery and aerial photographs, as well as numeric data like digital elevation models and scientific data including temperatures and pressures.
  • Vector: Geometry composed of one or more vertices, such as points, lines, arcs, ellipses, polygons, text, and more.



For transforming CAD data into GIS, see Working with CAD Data in FME. For transforming Raster data into GIS, see Working with Raster and Imagery Data in FME.

Getting Started Articles


Converting To Shapefile


Converting From Shapefile

Tutorial: Getting Started with Geodatabase


Intermediate Articles

How Do I Do That in FME


Tutorial: Geodatabase Transformations

Advanced Articles​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​Building a Topological Network from a Road Dataset | Using the TopologyBuilder
​​​​​​​Esri ArcGIS Pro Utility Network Migration Tools
​​​​​​​How to use the EsriArcGISOnlineConnector
​​​​​​​Scenario: Victoria Airport Esri Geodatabase to IMDF

​​​​​​Esri Specific Articles

ArcGIS Pro and FME FAQ
Improving Performance when working with Esri Geodatabases
Notes on FME and Esri Versions and Compatibility
Using FME Server with Esri ArcGIS Software

FME Academy 

Work through a module on the FME Academy. You will need a free account to access training content. 
Integrate Spatial Data: Unlock the power of your spatial data with FME. Learn the basics of spatial data and conduct basic spatial analysis.

Format Documentation

Esri Geodatabase
​​​​​​​Esri Shapefile
​​​​​​​Geographic Data Files (GDF)
​​​​​​​OpenSteetMap (OSM)

Top Questions and Answers

Extracting EXIF GIS coordinates from a .TIF file
​​​​​​​Extracting HTML from the PopupInfo field of a GIS Layer
Using ChangeDetector to compare GeoJSON and Shapefile versions
Writing empty shapefiles


Additional Resources


Extracting EXIF GIS coordinates from a .TIF file
​​​​​​​Extracting HTML from the PopupInfo field of a GIS Layer
Using ChangeDetector to compare GeoJSON and Shapefile versions
Writing empty shapefiles


3 Tips for Total CAD-GIS Integration
​​​​​​​10 Basic Geospatial Acronyms You Need to Know
Bring Your GIS and Business Data Into Google BigQuery with FME
Digital Plan Submissions: How To Build Automated CAD-GIS Workflows
​​​​​​​How Converting CAD to GIS Starts in Preschool
How to Convert CAD to GIS while Preserving Rich Data Structures
​​​​​​​How to Convert GIS to CAD while Maintaining Data Quality


The Ultimate Guide to CAD & GIS Integration


Enabling CAD Upload to Web GIS
​​​​​​​How to Optimize Esri Utility Network Migrations with FME
​​​​​​​Improving Weather Information Data Services with FME
Locate Your Business Data - Bringing Together Business and Spatial Data on ArcGIS Platform with FME & SAP HANA
​​​​​​​Municipal FME: Transforming GIS Service Delivery with Automation​​​​​​​Taming Our Case Management Database and GIS with FME


BigQueryGIS - Dynamic
BigQueryGIS - Simple
CAD to GIS - Converting Text to Attributes​​​​​​​GIS to CAD - Symbolizing CAD Data


Bridging Between CAD & GIS: 8 Ways to Automate Data Integration [1:07:12]
How I Learned to Stop Stressing and Love Shapefiles [58:19]
How to Automate CAD & GIS Integration [1:00:03]

Web Demos:

ArcGIS Shapefile to Tableau TDE – Free Online Converter
Easy Geocoder
Live Spatial Dashboard



FME and Esri ArcGIS Troubleshooting Guide
FME seems to misread the width of Number fields when reading a shapefile dataset
​​​​​​​Geodatabase Formats Missing, Greyed Out or Have Unmet Dependencies

Known Issues

For a list of Known Issues, see the following articles: 2021.x2020.x2019.x2018.x2017.x


Can’t find what you are looking for? Search our Community  for a related question or post your question in our Forums ​​​​​​​ or contact Support.

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