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).


Blogger hlouie said...

Wow block rotation. Now is there any possibility to write true C3D object data to a feature class ie the invert elevation at both ends of a pipe.

6:03 PM  
Blogger hlouie said...

Wow the tool I've been waiting for. Question are their a ways of porting true C3D pipe data (ie invert elevation) to feature class?

6:06 PM  
Blogger Don Kuehne said...

hlouie, there are always "ways". Sounds like fun, do you want to do it together?
Perhaps together we can create something useful for lots of people.

8:31 AM  
Blogger hlouie said...

Question, when I use the ArcDesktop Toolbox Export to CAD from a FGDB to DWG. For some reason I'm missing DATE. Is there limitation of Domain, Subtype, Date for FGDB to DWG vs Feature Map Service?

2:27 PM  
Blogger Don Kuehne said...

Yes, you are correct the definitions of Subtypes, Domains and Dates are currently only accessible in ArcGIS for AutoCAD from feature services. Updating the EXPORT TO CAD tool for these is planned for a future release.

2:38 PM  
Blogger hlouie said...

If I created a Feature Map Service and imported the schema for offline editing, saved my DWG as a template. Would this persevere of Domain Subtype Date within the Autocad DWG?

What I trying to do is find a process where I can clip out a small section of our city, provided the DWG to consultant civil engineers. The consultant can design, fill the attributes we require and online or email the DWG for import back in to the GIS.

I currently have the process working with AutoCAD Object Data with Safe FME but ArcGIS for AutoCAD is an elegant way and will produce better results.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Don Kuehne said...

Yes it would. Creating Template Files with Local Feature Classes Extracted from Feature Services is the way to go for now for sub-types, Dates, and domains.

This is covered in this video and I think another in the series:

3:23 PM  

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