The FME User Conference is always great value. You get to see interesting presentations, learn about new technologies, and talk to bright people from all across the industry. This last point is probably the most important to me. Mixed in with other great conversations, I got to chat at length with Ed Katibah about SQL Server Spatial, and Don Cooke told me I dressed too well to be a neogeographer :)
It is also the best place to corner an FME developer. I managed to grab Tom Weir, Safe’s KML guru, and go over some of the changes in KML support with FME 2008. During a presentation on the first day of the conference I had included an “easter egg” where I spoke about how to enable active mouse-overs in KML using FME. To my chagrin, after a couple minutes with Tom I realized that my advice was not exactly best practice, and with FME2008 becomes downright ridiculous.
Here’s the before shot from my slide deck (zipped workspace):
And the after shot once I applied what Tom showed me (zipped workspace):
Obviously, the FME 2008 press release should read: “KML Support in FME: Now with 50% less fat!”
KML FME has been generating multi-geometry for information points for quite some time, so that cuts most of the data wrangling out to generate the info point and merge the features into multi-geometry. And FME 2008 will automatically generate StyleMap elements for you if you follow a couple sneaky tricks.
First, when you create each KMLStyler, set its name to the style ID you want it to receive:
And second, on your geometry set the kml_target_style_normal and kml_target_style_highlight attributes to the IDs that you created in the KMLStylers:
That gets my embarrassment out of the way, but doesn’t even begin to touch on the extent of KML 2.2 support in FME 2008. Another issue that I have written about is extended data or schema support, and I am happy to say that FME deals with this. Attributes are stored in your output KML as extended data by default, and it is easy to generate a BalloonStyle template. Here’s my first take on this support, which does a great job of separating data from presentation (zipped workspace):
And a quick look at the new basic editor which is included in FME and used for modifying BalloonStyle templates:
There is a going to be a lot more to the KML 2.2 support in FME 2008, including generation of image pyramids for PhotoOverlays, but I’ll leave it to you to explore those on your own.