Creating a Symbol That Can be Used in GeoMedia – Part 2
Posted by jeffhobbs on November 20, 2007
Now that you have the symbol file created (.sym), you can place it into a GeoMedia Feature Symbol File (.fsm). To do this:
1) Launch the Define Symbol File Utility in Start > Programs > GeoMedia Professional > Utilities
2) Here you can either open up an existing .fsm or you can create a new .fsm. For organization sake, I would recommend storing all of your .sym files in one .fsm. If you don’t already have a .fsm for your organization, then create a new .fsm at this step. If you have an existing .fsm for your organization, use the Open button and navigate to the existing .fsm. In my case, I’ll open up our .fsm.
3) I would now recommend playing with the different buttons to get a better fell for what they do. Most are pretty self-explanatory, but spend a few minutes getting accustomed to the utility.
4) In this tutorial, I’ll just show you how to add the .sym you create in Part 1 to your existing .fsm.
5) Push the “Add” button. This will launch the Add From File dialog box
6) You will notice that if you push the drop-down for the “Files of type” section (see screen shot above), you can insert four different types of symbols into a .fsm file
a) GeoMedia Feature Symbol File – This mean you can select a symbol from a single symbol from an existing .fsm and bring that symbol into your new .fsm. (Reference #2 above for additional feedback on that option). It should also be noted that you can create a “master” .fsm by copying .sym files from the different .fsm files delivered with the GeoMedia product and placing them into your organization’s .fsm.
b) GeoMedia Layout Symbol File – This is what we’ll use to import the symbol file we create in the layout window in part 1 and exported to .sym. Note: This is the option that you’re most likely to use if you need to create symbols from scratch.
c) Microstation Cell Library – This allows you to import individual cells from a cell library.
d) AutoCAD Drawing File – Although I have never used this one, I believe this allows you to import individual symbols from a AutoCAD block file.
It’s important to note that the only type of symbol that can actually be edited in GeoMedia is a GeoMedia Layout Symbol File (.sym). I mention this because you’ll need the source applications (AutoCAD or Microstation) if you want to edit a block or cell library. This is important because often times the cells and blocks don’t import into a .fsm all that well. So it might take a lot of tweaking in the native application before you’re happy with the results. Alternatively, if I recall correctly, the Intergraph product SmartSketch can actually create .sym files from any .fsm file. So, if you import all of your blocks or cells into a .fsm, you should theoretically be able to have SmartSketch translate all of the different symbols in the .fsm into individual .sym files. These individual .sym files can then be imported into the GeoMedia layout window and modified one at a time. You can then re-export the graphics in the layout window back to individual .sym files. Yes, the workflow is a bit painful. But, to be honest, it’s probably a better option over drawing the symbols from scratch in the GeoMedia layout window.
7) To import the .sym created in Part 1, select GeoMedia Layout Symbol file from the file type section, and then navigate to the .sym file you create in Part 1.
8 ) Select the .sym file and hit the Open button. This will bring up the following dialog box
9) Here you can push the Insert button and it will insert the symbol you created into your active .fsm file.
10) Finally, you can use the Edit button to rename and provide comments about the symbol. This can be very useful if you have many symbols that look similar or only differ by color or other very minute details.
11) After you’re through, save your new .fsm. Your new .fsm can then be used in GeoMedia to symbolize any point feature.
It should also be noted that you can convert your .fsm file to .svg using the Save As button. SVG does have its benefits over an .fsm file. You can search the “Working with GeoMedia Professional” book if you’d like additional information on SVG symbols.
I bring it up here because you can theoretically create .svg symbols using a free product like Inkscape. Although I’ve never done it myself, I’ve heard of a few people that have tried this method of symbology creation. The biggest benefit I can see is that you have a much more robust editing tool to create your symbols. Not to mention SVG is an open standard as opposed to the proprietary .fsm file format. This, with time, could prove to be an advantage if you’re ever looking to share your symbol files among different applications (all of which support the open standard).
If anybody is looking to work with SVG symbols and decides to try a product like Inkscape, please let me know as I’d be interested to hear about your findings.
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