Is there a tool for converting Smallworld data into a variety of other GIS formats?

We have a number of Smallworld instances and need to create a central repository for the data that can be used by a mobile application.

  • 2
    That depends on what format you can export your data from SmallworldFrom and what format your mobile application requires. What I can gather from the docu it seems to support ESRI Shapefiles. The swiss army knife for format conversions are OGR and GDAL, which support a number of vector and raster formats.
    – Kersten
    Jul 27, 2015 at 6:11
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    Questions asking for software recommendations can be problematic for our focussed Q&A format because they tend to attract opinions: meta.gis.stackexchange.com/questions/3660/…
    – PolyGeo
    Jul 27, 2015 at 7:14
  • While I would generally agree with @PolyGeo , I think the scarcity of knowledge and experience with Smallworld on this site warrants giving this some attention (6 questions vs 9271 for ArcGIS). Asking for the 'best' may be incorrect, it's likely more a question of what will actually work at all. Jul 27, 2015 at 11:14
  • Thanks everyone and yes I agree that these sorts of generic recommendations can be problematic but if anyone has some experience is any exporting tools from Smallworld then that would be appreciated. Jul 28, 2015 at 7:04

4 Answers 4


It's been about 5 years since I've worked with Smallworld first hand, so this may be outdated.

At that time, I was using version 4.1. Smallworld itself didn't, and I presume still doesn't, have any real exporting capability for spatial data outside of it's XML which uses a proprietary schema that doesn't mesh well with GML.

The only commercial option that I knew of was Safe Software's FME.

It may be overkill if all you want to do is export shapefiles, but it's quite powerful and may be useful as a general ETL tool as well.

Besides that, there is the XML that Smallworld exports (if it still does). That can be transformed into GML using XSLT, which you could then use with any number of tools to convert.

  • FME works very well for converting smallworld to other formats we went to Oracle Spatial for Autodesk users (it took a few hours to convert the entire small world database).
    – Mapperz
    Jul 27, 2015 at 16:00
  • Thanks for all the input it is very much appreciated. It does appear that FME seems to be the obvious option but it is a little confusing how to connect to the databases initially. Jul 28, 2015 at 7:02

The SEPM X-Translator is easy to install and use, it offers import/export functionality for Shape, DWG/DXF, KML, Text and a few other formats. Disclaimer: I wrote this software so I may be kind of biased.


We have made good experience with FME and the SpatialBizPlugin by SBS Systems. This is a quite expensive commercial solution, as everything related to Smallworld, but it works pretty well. As an end user I can say this without any commerial interest.

Whether SEPM X-Translator is easy to install and to use or not seems strongly depending on the personal point of view, i daresay.


Bit of an older question but comes up frequently these days. The first clarifying statement is of course what is the enduser mobile solution and the data format requirements? Without knowing too much, most mobile GIS solutions will use either a geojson or geopackage/sqllite type of data storage, or a proprietary data format. eg: ESRI collector will probably require you to migrate your data to ArcGIS Portal/Enterprise platform first, then deliver to mobile devices from there in their own commercial formats.

There are commercial mobile solutions avialable, which - will take data out of Smallworld and into one of the above formats. most of these solutions provide a mobile client solution integrated into the extracted data, as well as the extraction engine. (ie: You can't only just use the extraction engine in most cases, have to use extraction and client).

  • GE have a new solution based on their Predix platform, which includes a Smallworld magik data extraction engine and produces geojson output into their proprietry client solution). - IQ-GEO (formally ubisense) have a mobile solution, which is similar to GE's at a fundamental level... data extraction to geojson plus client.
  • We-do-it also have a commercial solution in the same vein as above, Lat-long-go. All 3 are pretty nice for a straight forward map solution, if you want data capture feedback/integration with other systems in the field, thats another thread.

Going down the FME solution will mean you will have to build your own extraction data model mapping. this will obviously be more effort when it comes to some of the more complex items such as:

  • data types, enumerated values, mapped geometries etc.
  • navigate complex relational data models or internals
  • maintaining the style and ACE visibility settings. (Can FME read from the ACE and Style database? i don't think it can natively, maybe with some customization?). its not impossible, just the commercial solution above have already solved those problems.

Another alternative could be using Smallworld Geospatial Analysis. The advantage of this tool is that it naively connects to and navigates the Smallworld database, version manager and relational data structure allwithin a 'Smallworld-like' environment.Because GSA is essentially a GE product, it does feel like it works a lot better for an end user (if thats your audience) , and supports a lot of OGC output formats which can be used for simple mobile solutions. It would also allow a solution to be built 'magik free' so to speak. It can natively read the ACE and Style databases, which is handy however im not sure if it can export these.

I'm sure there are some other solutions, and as always, cost, requirements, system admin experience, end user experience etc all play a part in selecting a solution, but hopefully the above helps.

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