A Day in the Life of an FME Consultant

I’ve David, and I’m an FME Consultant at Miso. The team in-charge of our website content have asked me to put together a diary entry for what I’ve been up to today. Here goes…

08:00

FME Server has been running a National Coverage piece of work for two days now, so I needed to check-in to see how far along the process we were. The coverage had been split into 10,000 polygons with one FME Server job to each polygon. To stop me from having to constantly check-up on FME Server, I built a workspace that retrieved a list of running jobs and their details for me. It compares that list to the set of completed jobs, before outputting to a PostGIS database with a new ‘status’ attribute. I then created a Tableau workbook that shows the polygons and their status, so we now have a visualisation available for what proportion of the country has been processed. This replaces the time-consuming checking and calculating that I was doing before.

10:30

I published my Tableau workbook to our internal Tableau Server, so the rest of the team can log-in and see the progress being made on the project. I then went around members of the team to ensure that they understood exactly what the visualisations were showing them. Everyone was pleased with being able to self-serve and gauge the progress being made, at their own convenience.

11:00

I’m running some FME Server training in a couple of weeks as part of an FME Enterprise Licence Agreement (ELA). I spent the next hour communicating with the client to find-out the skill level of the delegates attending, so that I can tailor the course content to them. This is important for all parties, so I know the content I need to deliver, and attendees get the most out of their time. I also looked into potentially updating our training courses to incorporate the changes made to the software for FME Desktop and Server 2019. These products aren’t quite released yet (coming April), so this was just an initial exploration of what we might need to do to ensure we provide the most up to date and relevant information.

12 noon

Lunchtime: cheese and marmite sandwich. I’m not sure if this is relevant, and I’m not trying to be purposely controversial with my sandwich-filling choices. I was just asked to document my FME Consultant day for you lovely miso blog-readers.

12:30

We are currently in the midst of a new product launch, so it really is ‘all hands to the pumps’ here at the moment. I looked at all of the use cases that me and the team have came-up with in recent months, prior to a department meeting. At the meeting, we discussed exactly how we would deliver and demonstrate the insight for each particular use case. The meeting was productive, with the spec designed and use cases understood by all team members. I’m now ready to continue with the building and testing of the FME workspaces in preparation for the launch.

14:00

Our technical support team have just escalated a clients’ ticket to me, so I’m needed to lend a hand on that. The query is regarding how to download files from a URL using an automated FME Desktop process, when a website needs to be open as authentication. It is remarkably similar to a problem that I’ve personally encountered before, so I was able to point the customer in the direction of the SystemCaller transformer. This would launch the required webpage, download the necessary files, and then close the webpage. The client got straight back to me and was happy with the solution offered – job done!

15:00

I’m currently trying to improve the accuracy of insight provided by our soon-to-be released product. We’re close to getting something ready for launch, but I’m not yet 100% satisfied with the result. There are a series of workspaces which I’ve implemented to perform some QA and spatial analysis to help us to identify exactly where the improvement should be made. Each tweak made as a result of the testing brings us closer to a robust and valuable product. We’ve made a lot of great progress recently, so the time and effort invested by me and the team, is really paying-off.

16:30

Nearly home-time. Before I leave, I complete my final checks on the running workspaces, and set-up my tasks for tomorrow. A quick check on the Tableau progress workbook. There’s only 291 jobs remaining until National Coverage is done processing. This means that I’ll be able to run the next phase tomorrow. There’s a short internal meeting on how to go about extracting additional datasets from our CRM system for the commercial team. I should be able to help deliver some valuable intel to them, using my knowledge of the system and FME-based data extraction processes.