January 23, 2013

AutoCAD Template Files: Optimized for ArcGIS Feature Extraction

I have several template files for each project with different types of objects in those template files depending on what tasks I am performing with ArcGIS for AutoCAD, whether I am editing, extracting or referencing ArcGIS data and maps. 

I plan to blog about other template file examples used in other workflows such as: ( GIS Data Editing, Disconnected Data Creation, Uploading Data to ArcGIS Server, Maps/Images/Features for Reference)

When my task is EXTRACTing features from the County's feature service layers, my AutoCAD template file contains the following items:

Coordinate System Definition.  I know where I am working in the world, so I store the coordinate file definition in my template file so any ArcGIS services that I connect to will be positioned correctly within my drawing.  When working in California I have the appropriate California State Plane zone coordinate system definition already stored in my template drawing.  Saving this information in the template ensures it will be there when I open any new drawing.

ArcGIS Map Service connection that is based on the same data I want to extract and other useful maps such as global imagery from ArcGIS Online.  My dynamic maps are already in my template drawing and I don't need to make a connection to them when I open a new drawing.   The map gives me geographic context so I can either pan and zoom to a location or enter an address in the location service.  I set the transparency and display modes of the map services the way I like them.

AutoCAD Layer Definitions.  I already know the feature service layer names and have anticipated what the AutoCAD layer names will be when I extract the data.  Therefore I have those AutoCAD layer names already created in my AutoCAD drawing with the symbology I prefer for the color and line styles.  Otherwise ArcGIS for AutoCAD randomly generates colors.

AutoCAD Block Definitions.  I know that ArcGIS for AutoCAD will use an AutoCAD block instead of a simple point if my drawing contains a blocks named in the same manner as the feature service layer name.   So if I am working with a feature service layer called METER_RIVERSIDEWATER, I will rename the AutoCAD block I used for meters to the "esri_Meter_RiversideWater" and store it in my seed file so that ArcGIS for AutoCAD uses that block when it draws the features in my drawing.

Blank ArcGIS Feature Service Layer Definitions.  As an expert user of ArcGIS for AutoCAD and I want to save some steps and optimize my productivity.  So my template file for extracting features from a feature service already has connections to my server for the appropriate layers.  To save me the steps of connecting to my server and browsing to the appropriate layers I have blank feature service layers already connected within my template file.   When I want to EXTRACT or EDIT features I zoom to the area of interest and select the SET SERVICE LIMIT  FROM CURRENT VIEW button on the FEATURES section of the ribbon. Which populates my drawing with the features from the feature service layers.   When I am EXTRACTING features I right-click in the FEATURE CLASS (Feature Services) item in the TOC and select the EXTRACT ALL FEATURE SERVICES option to perform my data extraction of the features in my target area.

Here is a brief video that outlines the use of an AutoCAD template file with ArcGIS for AutoCAD stuff in it:
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