Vanessa Hamer

Save humanity and do other things with FME and CartoDB

FME, a product of CartoDB partner Safe Software, is the most flexible glue around for connecting two applications via their spatial data. And FME now supports CartoDB. Supporting more than 325 file formats, FME is a real workhorse. In fact, FME is so versatile, we think it could be a handy way to prep for the Yellowstone Supervolcano. You know, just in case.

Here’s how:

1) Connect Minecraft to CartoDB to get in the zone

The Yellowstone Caldera is a massive supervolcano that could maybe, possibly someday erupt, creating a lava field 40 miles wide and ejecting poison and ash that would travel for hundreds of miles. Sure, the scientists say we need not worry. But, what if?

If it happened, it would create a landscape that we can hardly imagine. Mental prep is crucial.

So fire up Minecraft. Once you’ve collected a huge pile of Redstone in the Nether and avoided those Griefers, you’ll be mentally equipped to harvest resources in the real world. And you’ll need the practice!

Next, use FME to connect Minecraft and CartoDB, so that you can can share your city layouts with others who will help in the post-volcano redevelopment effort.


2) Migrate from Google Maps Engine to CartoDB

FME has a nice drag-drop interface, so you can easily set up connections and transformations.

In this 2 minute video, you can see how to use FME to migrate from Google Maps Engine (GME) to CartoDB. FME is just one way of migrating your data from GME (here’s another).

However you do it, you do definitely want to migrate your important information - fresh water sources, deep caves perfect for hoarding food, wind patterns needed for avoiding the worst of the toxic ash, whatever - to CartoDB for analysis, posterity, and easy map publishing.

3) Ready your LiDAR Point Clouds

Knowing the terrain is going to be pretty important once the supervolcano erupts.

Use FME to convert point cloud data for use in CartoDB. With elevation and terrain mapped out, you’ll have a better sense of where to stay high and dry once the massive volcano heats the atmosphere and causes sea levels to rise.

class="Wrap-border">LiDAR of Lone Star Geyser

4) Connect your CAD software to CartoDB

FME supports Google SketchUp, and it also supports the major CAD packages like AutoCAD.

So data on all those buildings you’ve been designing in CAD can be connected with other data - demographic, political, environmental - and published on a CartoDB map.

Mountain Town

5) Bring it all together.

Between terrain (LiDAR), building plans (CAD), other data from Google Maps Engine, and the worldbuilding prep you’ve done via Minecraft, you’ll be ready to publish the maps that help us find shelter and rebuild civilization after the eruption.

Survive and thrive!

About the author
Vanessa Hamer

Director of Business Operations.

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