A quick tour of the Data Interoperability extension
What follows is a high-level overview of the tools and functionality that are available in ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcScene, and ArcGlobe when the Data Interoperability extension is enabled.
Direct access to nonnative formats
Direct-read formats are used directly from the Catalog tree as read-only datasets. When you add them to ArcMap, ArcScene, or ArcGlobe, all standard map functions are enabled, including attribute tables and labeling functions.
Using a direct-read feature class in ArcMap is similar to working with other geodatabase feature classes. You can snap to geometry, substitute symbology, query attributes, and use it with all geoprocessing tools that accept feature classes or layers as input.
This is default functionality for many nonnative formats when the Data Interoperability extension is enabled. Other formats may require an Interoperability Connection to be displayed in the Catalog tree. This is determined by several conditions, such as the predictability of the file extension or whether it will conflict with a format already registered on your system.
An interoperability connection is a user-defined link to one or more data sources that is managed in the Catalog tree as a single direct-read dataset. The connection specifies the data source and the FME reader and any special parameters supported by the chosen format.
Interoperability connections can be used to aggregate files, perform translations on the fly, define a coordinate system, and store format-specific parameters such as database connections and passwords. All interoperability connections are saved in the Interoperability Connections folder.
A custom format is a translation workspace that is exported as a format and utilized in the FME reader gallery. It is saved to an external (.fds) file and can be imported to reader galleries on other desktops.
There are two ways to create a custom format:
- On the Workbench menu, click File > Export as Custom Format.
- In the FME Reader Gallery dialog box, click New and use the Create Custom Format Wizard.
Creating a custom format adds the format to the FME reader gallery. Once created, subsequent uses of the gallery allow you to edit the format in FME Workbench or delete it from the list and remove the (.fds) file from the default folder location.
Data Interoperability toolbox
The Data Interoperability toolbox contains out-of-the-box geoprocessing conversion tools that import and export data between geodatabase and nonnative formats using FME readers and writers.
These tools are ideal when you need to convert data quickly. They can be used as stand-alone geoprocessing tools, used in ModelBuilder , executed in a Python window or script, or published with models in toolboxes as geoprocessing services using ArcGIS Server.
Quick conversion tools perform simple one-to-one translations and do not modify feature geometry or schema during conversion. If your workflows require schema changes, consider using spatial ETL tools.
The Quick Import tool imports one or more external datasets into a geodatabase as feature classes. The input parameters include the data source and the FME reader and any special parameters supported by the chosen format. The output staging geodatabase can be used directly or for further processing.
The Quick Export tool exports one or more geodatabase feature classes or feature layers to an external dataset. The input parameters include the data source and the FME writer and any special parameters supported by the chosen format.
Spatial ETL tools
A spatial ETL tool is a user-defined geoprocessing tool that can transform data between different data models and different file formats. You create them with FME Workbench in a translation workspace and save them to a toolbox.
Spatial ETL tools are capable of a wide range of processes and dataflows from simple format translations to complex transformations that restructure geometry and attributes. They can be used as stand-alone geoprocessing tools, published in toolboxes as geoprocessing services using ArcGIS Server, or exported as custom formats and utilized in the FME reader gallery.
Creating a new spatial ETL tool opens Create Translation Workspace Wizard. The wizard prompts you for information about the data source and data destination, then starts FME Workbench with a diagram of your dataflow. You can customize the default dataflow by adding or deleting connectors, inserting transformers, and editing parameters.
FME Workbench is a visual workflow editor used for developing data transformation tools. When the Data Interoperability extension is enabled, you can use it to create spatial ETL tools and custom formats.
There are three ways to start FME Workbench:
- Right-click a toolbox and click New > Spatial ETL Tool.
- Right-click an existing spatial ETL tool and click Edit from the shortcut menu.
- Double-click Add Interoperability Connection in the Catalog window and create a new custom format.
FME Workbench uses specialized explorer windows and dialog boxes that provide information and visual cues about your workspace.