September 30, 2014

ArcGIS Data and Blocks: AFA_BLOCKTOFC

Blocking out time in my day or days in the week to focus deliberately doing something I identified as something I wanted to do helps me keep from filling my day with what comes up that day. 
I find it works best If I at least attempt to apply alliteration and I don't know why that is important, but it is.  Taco Tuesday, Movie Monday, Fun Friday, Thankful Thursday… and at work too; Testing Tuesday, Workflow Wednesday, Multimedia Monday, Finish it Friday…   These blocks help me organize.

Historically one of the popular way to organize attribute information in a plain AutoCAD drawings has been to use block insert entities with attributes.  Using the free ArcGIS for AutoCAD bonus tools available here on ArcGIS Online I can automatically turn blocks from legacy drawings into ArcGIS feature classes and use their attributes to populate the attribute tables of these ArcGIS data sets in my drawings.   The newest set of bonus tools also allow me to push block attributes to and from the ArcGIS attribute table for these feature classes.  Although not linked dynamically I can push a button and sync them at any time.   I can now easily use AutoCAD blocks as a source of my ArcGIS feature classes in ArcGIS for AutoCAD, or use blocks with attributes as another form of ArcGIS for AutoCAD annotationHere is a video I created that highlights some of these new bonus tools that work with AutoCAD blocks.

September 17, 2014

Converting AutoCAD Layers to ArcGIS Data: ESRI_LAYERTOFC

Working with ArcGIS data in combination with AutoLISP gives me flexible and powerful ways to edit data in AutoCAD that I can optimize and automate.  The fact that that data is also in an Esri recognized GIS data format doesn't have to be the only reason to use ArcGIS for AutoCAD.  The shear power of structured data in AutoCAD has many potential uses.
However ArcGIS for AutoCAD is primarily a tool to interoperate with ArcGIS data and the ArcGIS System.  The AutoLISP API available with the ArcGIS for AutoCAD 350 release allows me to imagine and create useful ArcGIS data-building and data-manipulation tools. I have shared some of these in a growing collection of ArcGIS for AutoCAD bonus tools here free for download.  These tools are documented in the include user's guide and demonstrated here on my YouTube GISCADChannel
The bonus tool command, ESRI_LAYERTOFC  will create local ArcGIS feature classes from every AutoCAD layer in your drawing according to the geometric types of entities found on each layer.  It will name the feature classes based on the layer name and if needed distinguish between the different geometric types by appending a suffix name qualifier.
After downloading, loading and running the command you will have local feature classes created for each AutoCAD layer in your drawing that contains features of the various possible geometric types.  If the AutoCAD layer contains entities all of the same geometric type then the command will just create a single feature class definition and the name of the feature class will be the name of the layer without any suffix name qualifier.  It is likely you may have more feature classes than you wanted but there is no harm in removing the feature class definitions since removing feature class definitions has no effect on the entities themselves.
I use this tool on well structured drawings where the data was authored in such a way that each AutoCAD layer would equate well to a corresponding ArcGIS layer.  At the time of writing this post, the current version of the ArcGIS for AutoCAD bonus tools is (1.3).

September 10, 2014

ArcGIS for AutoCAD and 2015

We recently acquired a lovely hand painted coffee table (read ugliest table you've ever seen) from craigslist to "brighten up" our living room.  The end result was that I negotiated a compromise to the table by re-texturing and painting the ceiling.  I removed, repainted and re-installed the moldings and added wainscoting to the living room.  The table was supposed to just work, didn't.

ArcGIS for AutoCAD now supports AutoCAD 2015 versions.  The free download is now available.  The same download works with 2013, 2014 and now 2015 versions of Windows 32/64 bit AutoCAD.

September 03, 2014

ArcGIS for AutoCAD Training Series: Part 5

Summer 2014 is coming to a close and it is time to wrap up the video training series on How to add ArcGIS Data to AutoCAD using the ArcGIS for AutoCAD plug-in.   Here is the last video in the five part series.
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