Esri ArcInfo Generate Reader/Writer

The Esri® ArcInfo Generate File Reader and Writer allows FME to read and write the simple ASCII format used by the ArcInfo Generate command.

There are several types of Generate files, and each has its own syntax. Currently, point, line, and text Generate files are supported. Both two-dimensional and three-dimensional data can be imported and exported to line and point Generate files. Three-dimensional (3D) Generate files are often used to input data into ArcInfo’s TINning package. Text Generate Files are defined to accept only two-dimensional (2D) coordinates.


FME considers a Generate dataset to be a collection of Generate files in a single folder. All Generate file names are required to end with a .gen extension. The type of each Generate file must be defined in the workspace before it can be read or written.

Tip: The very simple format of Generate files makes them useful for testing purposes or for transferring data between FME and other unsupported systems.

Reader Overview

The ARCGEN reader produces FME features for all feature data held in Generate files residing in a given folder.

The ARCGEN reader first scans the folder it is given for all Generate files defined in the workspace. For each Generate file it finds, it checks to see if that file is requested by looking at the list of IDs specified in the workspace. If a match is made or if no IDs were specified in the workspace, the Generate file is opened for read. The Generate reader extracts features from the file one at a time and passes them on to the rest of the FME for further processing. When the file is exhausted, the Generate reader starts on the next file in the folder.

Optionally, a single Generate file can be provided as the dataset. In this case, only that Generate file is read.

Writer Overview

The ARCGEN writer creates and writes feature data to Generate files in the folder specified by the Dataset parameter.

As with the reader, the folder must exist before the translation occurs. Any old Generate files in the folder are overwritten with the new feature data. As features are routed to the Generate writer by FME, it determines which file to write to and outputs them according to the type of the file. Many Generate files can be written during a single FME session.