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National Information Exchange Model (NIEM)

NIEM is a national model for information sharing that provides a common framework for collaborative exchange of information between government agencies, as well as with private organizations. Using Enterprise Architect and the NIEM model you can compose your own NIEM sub-set schema ready for building an IEPD for exchanging data. This IEPD can contain all the necessary exchange files, static artifacts, metadata and catalog files.

Objective: Create a NIEM Schema of a persons birth date and their citizenship. Generate an IEPD from this.

The following steps will guide you through a simple process of creating IEPD from a NIEM model.



Step 1. NIEM Starter Model:

NIEM Tutorial: Step 1 - NIEM Model Wizard

Create a NIEM 3 IEPD Starter Model model using the Model Wizard:

  • Select a Package in the Project Browser in which to create your model.
  • Press Ctrl+Shift+M to open the Model Wizard
  • Under Technology select Frameworks
  • In the right-hand column select

NIEM 3.1 Reference Model

NIEM 3 MPD Types

NIEM 3 IEPD Starter mode

  • Click on OK.

Step 2. The Schema Composer:

NIEM Tutorial: Step 2 - Open Schema Composer

Open the Schema Composer:

  • Select: Tools | Schema Composer, from the main menu.

Step 3. Create Model Transform:

NIEM Tutorial: Step 3 - Create New Model Transform

Create a new Model Transform for NIEM:

  • Click on the New button and select Model Transform.

Step 4. Define Model Transform:

NIEM Tutorial: Step 4 - Define New Model Transform

Define your new NIEM Model Transform:

  • Add details into the following fields:

Name: Provide a Name for your profile.

Schema Set: Select NIEM from the drop-down.

Save Profile to: Click on the folder icon.

Select a package to save your Artifact.

  • Click on OK.

Step 5. NIEM Classes:

NIEM Tutorial: Step 5 - Select a Class

Select a Class to be added to the Classes column:

  • From the Project Browser, select the package:

- Model.NIEM 3.1 Reference Model.NIEM

  • From this package drag the PersonType Class onto the Classes column.


Tip: To speed up your selection of classes, select a class at the top of the package, then type the first few letters of the class name you are looking for.  The selection will move to the first class whose name begins with those letters.

Step 6. Class Attributes:

NIEM Tutorial: Step 6 - Select Class Attributes

Select which Attributes to include in your subset package.

With PersonType selected in the Class column, in the Attributes column select:

  • PersonBirthdate
  • PersonCitizenship

Step 7. Attribute References:

NIEM Tutorial: Step 7 - Define Class Attribute References

On adding the PersonBirthdate attribute, the classifier referenced by this attribute, DateType, has been added to the Classes column.


The attributes of the class DateType do not hold data that represents a date value.

However, the DateRepresentation attribute references a PropertyHolder class that does contain attributes capable of recording a date.

So, in the DataType Class select the DateRepresentation attribute, then in the DateRepresentationPropertyHolder class, that Enterprise Architect automatically adds to your Classes list, select DateRepresentation, then select the attributes corresponding to the date information you want to include in your schema.


Similarly you need to check that the appropriate attributes in the PersonCitizenship class are selected. This is simply PersonCitizenship.

Step 8. Schema Export:

NIEM Tutorial: Step 8 - Schema Export

Once you have selected the subset of classes and attributes that you want for your schema, you can then generate the schema. To do so:

  • Click on the Update button to save your schema.
  • Click on the Generate button.

This will open the Schema Export dialog.

Step 9. Generate Schema:

NIEM Tutorial: Step 9 - Generate Schema

In the Schema Export dialog:

  • Select the NIEM Model Subset.
  • Click on the Generate button.

Step 10. Schema Save Location:

NIEM Tutorial: Step 10 - Find Package for Schema Generation

In the Find Package dialog, locate the package:

- Model.NIEM 3 Starter Model.myMPD


Click on OK.


This will generate the subset model, defined by your Model Transform profile.

Step 11. View Model Subset:

NIEM Tutorial: Step 11 - View Model Subset

In the Project Browser expand the package under the package selected in step 10:

- Model.NIEM 3 Starter Model.MyMPD.Niem-core


This will show the objects in your NIEM Model subset that were generated in step 10.

Step 12. Model Schema Subset:

NIEM Tutorial: Step 12 - Model Schema Subset

Open the Niem-Core diagram.

In the Project Browser select all the elements in the package and drag these onto this diagram.

In the Diagram toolbar click on the Diagram Layout toolbar icon icon.

ensure the Diagram Toolbar option is enabled.
Diagram toolbar option icon


Check over the generated subset model, to verify that it correctly represents the schema you want to model.

Step 13. Generate IEPD:

NIEM Tutorial: Step 13 - Generate IEPD

In the Project Browser select the package created in step 1:

- Model.NIEM 3 Starter Model.myMPD

In this package is the myMPD: ModelPackageDescription object instance.


To generate the IEPD:

  • Right-click on the  myMPD: ModelPackageDescription object instance.
  • Select Extensions | NIEM 3.0 | Generate NIEM 3.0 Schema from the context menu.

This opens the Generate NIEM MPD Schemas dialog.

Step 14. Generate MPD:

NIEM Tutorial: Step 14 - Generate MPD

In the Generate NIEM MPD Schemas dialog:

  • Select the directory where you wish to save your IEPD files.
  • Click on the Generate button.

This will generate the IEPD files, as listed in the dialog.

Step 15. View IEPD Files:

NIEM Tutorial: Step 15 - View IEPD Files

To view the  IEPD files you have generated:

  • Click on the View Schema button.

Windows Explorer will open, displaying the directory tree that contains the files you generated.

To close the Generate NIEM MPD Schema dialog:

  • Click on Close

Step 16. Review XSD Files:

NIEM Tutorial: Step 16 - Review XSD Files

You can now review the XSD files within Enterprise Architect.

To do this:

  • In Windows Explorer, right-click on the XML or XSD file
  • From the context menu select Open With | Choose Default Program
  • Select:  Enterprise Architect Document Handler.

Then double clicking the file in Windows File Explorer will open the XSD file in Enterprise Architect.

Additional Resources

NIEM Solution with Enterprise Architect Overview - Sparx Systems Website Read More
NIEM 3 and Enterprise Architect Webinar Libary Video Watch Video
Introduction to NIEM Enterprise Architect User Guide Visit Guide
Overview of NIEM 4.0 Enterprise Architect User Guide More Details
UML Profile for NIEM 3.0 Enterprise Architect User Guide Visit Guide
Creating a NIEM IEPD Enterprise Architect User Guide Read More
The NIEM 4.0 Data Model Enterprise Architect User Guide More Details