October 22, 2009

ArcGIS-Ready AutoCAD Template Files

I need to compel my children to do things that are good for them, and good for the family, but they may not always see it that way. Whether it’s eating healthy or getting to sleep, or not watching TV all day, even simple things can become a battle. Routines and schedules can do a lot to help set a foundation for success. Other times I just need to set up circumstances where they can’t fail.

AutoCAD template files are most often used to pre-define layers and symbology to support my CAD standards. Using a template file with mapping specification for drawings feature layer definitions allows me to support both a CAD standard and a GIS schema at the same time. AutoCAD drawings files that contain mapping specification for drawings feature class definitions can subsequently be edited by any software that can edit the .DWG file. Because the feature layer definitions of ArcGIS for AutoCAD are stored as standard graphic and non-graphic entities in the DWG file, any software that can edit a 2007-2009 .DWG file can be a viable ArcGIS data creation tool.

Without ArcGIS for AutoCAD I would not have a way to edit any feature attributes that might also be defined as part of the feature layer. My edits would be limited to creating feature class geometry. But I can create feature class geometry in AutoCAD LT, plain AutoCAD without ArcGIS for AutoCAD loaded, or even Microstation (although I've not tired it, I would expect versions of IntelliCAD would work too). All of these can create entities in a DWG file that are recognized by ArcGIS, and ArcGIS for AutoCAD. By simply following my existing CAD standards with feature class enhanced template files, I will be populating ArcGIS feature layers no matter what tool I use. The key to my success is that the feature layer definitions are stored as filtering information on the contents of the file, what ever that ends up being.

Here is a short video of creating an AutoCAD template file that contains ArcGIS feature layer definitions...


Anonymous Teresa said...

When will ArcGIS for AutoCAD be compatible with AUTOCAD 2010?

10:52 AM  
Blogger Don Kuehne said...

2010 will be included in the next release which should be late spring/early summer 2010. By that time it would likely include support for 2011. Autodesk historically changes the file format every three years, so if that continues 2010-2012 should be similar.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm trying to use the (ESRI_ImportSchema) function in a custom lisp routine I'm working on but it does not import the schema from an existing drawing. Has this function name changed?? The actual line in my code looks like this (ESRI_ImportSchema z:\\mypath\\templates\\schema.dwg) If I use the import feature class button and path to the schema.dwg I'm able to import the schema.

Appreciate the help...Gathen

2:48 PM  
Blogger Don Kuehne said...

Yes the function is unchanged. I might suggest trying forward slashes in lisp and doublechecking the path in quotes? (ESRI_ImportSchema "z:/mypath/templates/schema.dwg")

3:26 PM  

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