I've been debating keeping our Data Interoperability licence or going with the full FME ESRI Edition.

I'm looking for advice.

  • 1
    It's difficult to know how to answer this without having some indication of your needs, capabilities, budget, etc. Please supply some additional information to keep this question focused and to encourage factual, well-reasoned, and -supported answers.
    – whuber
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 22:27
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    Go for the FME ESRI edition - Safe.com have better customer/technical support. (ESRI license the data interoperability structure from safe software and add their own $$markup)
    – Mapperz
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 22:33
  • Another consideration is that if you stay with Data Interop you are stuck with the version that ships with ArcGIS (correct me if I'm wrong), vs the ability to run the latest and greatest beta versions with full FME.
    – blah238
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 22:40
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    So we have one concurrent Data Interop licence and i'm the only one who will use it. For the same price I can get the an FME ESRI Edition Stand Alone and pay less for yearly maintenance. As for my needs basically it's to work with the contractors and the data they are giving us, mostly CAD and Imagery. I also want to automate some of the transformation process.
    – Dom
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 22:40
  • @Dominic, Correct; that is what I did at my shop at it works great. And Mapperz is right; the SAFE support is great and the updates to keep you current are great. The ability to have access to the Beta is nice; but for a true production shop its dicey to experiment sometimes.
    – D.E.Wright
    Commented Dec 18, 2011 at 21:30

3 Answers 3


FME wins:

Workbench you can control 'Manipulate' your data in a much more refined way. (see below) Feature Merging Attributes only with another geometry)

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Excellently logging (on screen/to file)

Open Beta Program - Nightly Builds can be used by all (good to test new features or see fixes)

Consistent upgrades 4 per year (Released in January, Q1-Q4 as Service Packs)

Better Support (contact with-in 24hrs or less)

*Only a user of FME not associated with them. Floating Licenses - Can easily be increased.

Next Full Release is out 20th January 2012 (FME Desktop 2012)

  • 1
    Yes; easy answer. The little bit more cost makes up a lot for ease of use and level of functionality you have at your grasp.
    – D.E.Wright
    Commented Dec 16, 2011 at 23:15
  • FYI- You also have access to Workbench through the ESRI Data Interoperability extension, just with a subset of tools available. Commented Dec 19, 2011 at 15:37
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    Workbench on the ESRI Tool is limited - if you have FME Workbench you have a lot more tools and functionality at your disposal (Data Validation,Reporting etc.)
    – Mapperz
    Commented Dec 19, 2011 at 16:22
  • The one and only thing I like about the extension is the convenience of working out of one application. View and work with all that funky data within one environment.
    – dchaboya
    Commented Jan 13, 2012 at 18:59

Certainly the main differences that I'm aware of that would make me lean towards a complete license to FME Desktop are as follows:

  1. The ESRI Data Interop does not support Raster data.
  2. It only supports about 100 formats, not the 250+ as supported by FME Desktop 2011/2012.
  3. It's true that your support will be through ESRI, not Safe or one of their resellers.
  4. The build of FME is fixed at launch of ESRI Data Interop so for example if you have ArcGIS 9.1 you are fixed to FME 2006GB. You also can't get access to any of the new features released in the Service Pack cycle or the BETA programme.
  5. When using the Data Interop you'll always check out an ESRI license thus depleting your license pool by 1.
  6. Sharing FME workspaces is not possible as you can't save out to a *.FMW.

To be clear I believe that if you already have an Interop license there is an option to upgrade that license directly with Safe if you ask, that will get you full-fat FME Desktop, then you just have to pay the year 2+ maintenance and so on.

Hope that helps.


While I agree with all the reasons to get FME (# of formats, support, latest functionality, license cost), I think Data Interoperability has its place, especially in a Server environment i.e. FME Server vs ArcGIS Server+Data Interoperability Extension.

If you have an existing ArcGIS Server environment do you really want to go to the extent of adding another product (FMEServer=web server, app server + database) into the mix? More moving parts to develop / maintain. If you just consider Data Interop to be embedded FME -- which you can pretty much swap for FME at some point -- then I think it's a valuable approach for this circumstance.

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