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An overview of Data Interoperability

Release 9.3
Last modified June 29, 2009
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Government agencies and other organizations around the world produce valuable spatial data in a wide variety of data formats (the internal structure of a file that enables computer use). These formats come in two varieties: native ArcGIS and nonnative ArcGIS.


If you need to use data stored in nonnative formats, then the ArcGIS Data Interoperability extension is for you. This extension allows you to read and write data in more than 70 different formats.

After installing this extension, four things happen:



The ArcGIS Data Interoperability extension has been developed and maintained collaboratively by ESRI and Safe Software Inc., the leading GIS interoperability vendor, and is based on Safe Software’s popular Feature Manipulation Engine (FME┬«) product. The extension includes Safe Software's FME Workbench for building your custom data translators. When you create a geoprocessing spatial ETL tool or define a new interoperability connection, you'll be working with FME Workbench, illustrated below.

FME Workbench

Learning more



A great place to start is with the Data Interoperability tutorial. Click here to view the tutorial. If this link doesn't work, click here to visit the main tutorial page, which gives further instructions on accessing tutorials.

Workbench comes with its own help system, which can be accessed from Workbench, as illustrated above. This help system provides help on both Workbench and the Data Interoperability tools. You should consult this help whenever you are creating spatial ETL tools. Click here to view this help.

Learn more about the key concepts of the Data Interoperability extension.

Learn more about using the Data Interoperability extension.

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