Autodesk needed a technology that could provide a way to access many different geospatial data sources through a common mechanism. The data sources included a variety of geospatial databases and file formats. It had to be flexible to meet the needs of many client applications.

The initial requirements included the following

  • Provides an object-based feature model of geospatial data that is generic and independent of any particular native implementation.
  • Supports, as a minimum, the OGC Simple Feature specification geometry types.
  • Defines a logical model that maps to commonly used physical implementations such as Oracle Spatial and SHP files.
  • Defines an FDO Provider as an implementation of the FDO API for a particular data source. Each data source has its corresponding FDO provider.
  • Defines a capabilities API to allow clients to determine specific capabilities of a particular provider and thus respond correctly to the provider to which they are connected.
  • Allows new commands and schema additions to be easily added over time to the generic API and allows custom commands to be added to a particular provider. The capabilities API allows a client to discover the custom commands.

Before Open Source

The first version of FDO was shipped with the Autodesk Map 3D 2005 product in the spring of 2004. It included providers for Oracle and SDF. Version 2.0 added the ArcSDE provider, and version 3.0 added providers for MySQL, SQL Server, ODBC, SHP, Raster, OGC WFS, and OGC WMS.

See the Products Using FDO page for the full list of FDO releases.

FDO Goes Open Source

The release of FDO as open source coincided with the release of MapGuide as open source in 2006. It included the SDF, SHP, MySQL, ArcSDE, ODBC, OGC WFS, and OGC WMS providers.

Here is an excerpt from the MapGuide Open Source FAQ on the question of why Autodesk made MapGuide Open Source. The same reasons apply in the case of FDO.

"Our developers and customers have been demanding:

  • Faster innovation of our web mapping solutions
  • More frequent software releases
  • Lower cost of entry and ownership

Autodesk wants to help make map serving technologies more readily available for widespread adoption. Our conclusion was that joining and supporting the existing open geospatial community and open sourcing our next-generation web mapping platform was the best approach."