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.


Blogger Saba Naaz said...

very nice blog

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can this be done with acad object data also? we would like to keep our existing cad files with a mixed use to blocks and object data, but push them tot eh esri server. so we are not 100% spatial in cad.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Don Kuehne said...

The idea here is to use ArcGIS for AutoCAD to improve interoperability with ArcGIS. Moving information from blocks to Object Data is a step sideways if not a step back. Why would you need Object data or is the data already in object data? It might be interesting to write something to populate the ArcGIS for AutoCAD attributes from Object Data, is that what you are asking?

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

don thanks for getting back to me!!! yes to take object data from Acad to ArcGIS, we are using Autodesk GIS right now and will be running ArcGIS and Autodesk for some time until we can get all our existing information working 100%we don't have a ArcGIS and the sever at this time so I am doing research before we get one....we have a lot of lisp programing that fills out object and attrib data for us. as example parcel key is not a featid it is called parcel_link that is assigned using lisp (par_100) we tie to a sql server.


11:15 AM  
Blogger Don Kuehne said...

ArcGIS for AutoCAD does not require ArcGIS server. You can store the attributes on the entities in the drawing using ArcGIS for AutoCAD. Those attributes will be understood by both ArcGIS for AutoCAD and Esri's ArcMap. That is if an ArcMap user opened your .DWG file they would see attributed GIS feature classes. The standard ArcGIS for AutoCAD user interface helps you work with attributes on your entities, and there is also an AutoLISP API specifically for ArcGIS for AutoCAD that can help you automate things. In the example here I was using that AutoLISP to work with blocks and block attributes. I don't have to use blocks and attributes to store values on point entities. Likewise I can add attributes to linear and polygon entities, just using the standard capabilities of the free plug-in, ArcGIS for AutoCAD.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see, that sounds great I will have to d/l the plugin and play around with it. thanks for your time and answers don!!

8:44 AM  
Blogger Brion Perry said...

Does arcgis work for MicroStation????????

10:03 AM  
Blogger Don Kuehne said...

ArcGIS for AutoCAD works with AutoCAD. ArcGIS Server can serve out WMS map services that Microstation can read. There is a little less functionality to a WMS service than the ArcGIS Map services. Like you can't identify feature attributes. If you have the Bentley Map add-on to Microstation you could also access WFS (web feature services) served out by ArcGIS Server. Check out this video I created on the toipic.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interested in taking 10 years of autocad drawings and "uploading" into GIS. Is there 1) a way to automate this function without having to go file by file and 2) assuming all the CAD files follow the same layering and attribute nomenclature can the integration be tidied up in advance (in theory) through the use of the attribute blocks described herein? Trying to figure out a way to do this without it becoming a huge job unto itself. Thx.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Don Kuehne said...

You can automate the process inside AutoCAD by creating a script that performs the same operation to all the drawings within AutoCAD and actually use this AFA_BLOCKTOFC sample routine. Alternately, inside ArcGIS desktop (ArcMap/ArcCatalog) you could automate the process using a geoprocessing script or model but you would have to do more work to build that logic building that geoprocessing script or model. The ArcGIS data interoperability extension, a plug-in to ArcGIS desktop is designed for this type of data migration. Likewise you would need to build the logic to extract what you want from the CAD drawings using the logic and interface of the "workbench" interface in the data interoperability extension.
I am mostly a CAD guy so I'd probably do the first one. But any of the three methods can do the job.

11:12 AM  

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