August 16, 2016

ArcGIS for AutoCAD Five Uses: #2 Exported GIS Data

It is always nice to find something useful I own that I didn’t know I had.  I might wish I had found it sooner, but it is always good when it happens.  ...The pristine hardwood floors you find under that old carpet you’re replacing, or the twenty dollar bill in your suit coat from your last business trip, or the other half of your sandwich you thought you’d already eaten!

When I share ArcGIS data with an AutoCAD user, I want them to not only see the vector geometry but the attributes too.  I hope it is not a surprise, but the second most common use of ArcGIS for AutoCAD is the ability for AutoCAD users to see the smart drawings that ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro create whenever they export AutoCAD DWG files with the EXPORT TO CAD tool.  The default behavior of the EXPORT TO CAD geoprocessing tool in ArcGIS desktop for the last decade or so has been to create smart DWG files that contain a coordinate system and attributed feature classes inside the file. Any AutoCAD users can see and use this ArcGIS data if they have the free ArcGIS for AutoCAD plug-in.   If they don’t have ArcGIS for AutoCAD they will just see the simple AutoCAD entities without their smart attributes and data organization.  It is because of this that I often say that exchanging shapefiles is an outdated method of exchanging data between ArcGIS and AutoCAD.  The combination of ArcGIS for AutoCAD and ArcMap, or ArcGIS Pro means you can use the DWG file itself as an exchange format for ArcGIS data.


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