Editing GIS Data in CAD: Attributes
ArcGIS desktop reads and writes both AutoCAD and Microstation files. In the case of AutoCAD files, ESRI’s mapping specification for drawing allows attributed GIS features to be included in plain AutoCAD files. So what good is that? It is useful for me to create AutoCAD data that will also be used as GIS data and to comply with GIS submittal requirements, but what about as a means for editing ArcGIS data in ArcGIS data sources?
If I want to allow AutoCAD users to make attribute-only edits to my ArcGIS data I can use ArcGIS geoprocessing tools like EXPORT TO CAD, JOIN and CALCULATE to facilitate the workflow. By exporting ArcGIS data to an AutoCAD file with the EXPORT TO CAD tool, the resultant AutoCAD file retains the unique object identifier and feature class organization and attributes of the source ArcGIS feature class according to the mapping specification for drawings. I can make attribute edits to the copy of the data in AutoCAD with ArcGIS for AutoCAD, or any other MSD compliant application. After attribute changes are made to that copy of the data, I can JOIN the AutoCAD version of the data to the original ArcGIS GIS feature class, based on the unique object identifier field and use the geoprocessing CALCULATE tool to move the attributed data from the CAD-based copy of the data to the geodatabase version for each of the attribute fields I want to update.