Export to CAD

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01-10-2014 11:16 PM
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New Contributor III
Dear All,

Please help me looking for the best practice writing a tool exporting arcgis data to CAD. I need to export a selection set of multiple layers including annotations to CAD in the same symbology as shown in ArcMap mxd.

Hope for an early response and support.

Regards
Rouf
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New Contributor III
Hello Rouf,

The way Autocad works with symbology and text is much different than ArcGIS. There is no easy way to do that.
For point features - ArcGIS uses true type fonts. Autocad, on the other hand, uses blocks, which are small drawings that are being placed in every point location. In order to create point symbology in cad drawing, you should first prepare a cad drawing with all the blocks that are going to be used. This dwg file will be used as a template (seed file) in the export process, so every point will use one of the block templates.

The point FC should have few extra text fields:
1. A field called CadType - should be populated with the string "Insert" to make sure it is being exported as a block.
2. A field called RefName - should be populated with the name of the matching block in the seed cad file.

For Line features - You should add a field called "Color" to the feature class and populate the this field with the cad color code. ArcGIS will use this value when exporting the lines to cad.

I guess this is not an easy way, but that is the way to control the appearence of features in the cad drawing from ArcGIS.

Regards,
Yigal
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New Contributor III
Thank you Yigel for you suggestions. Apart from this the challenge would be export Annotations and setting up the Resultant CAD Data in a predefined layout.

I don't know how will it perform after I create this customized tool.

Regards
Rouf
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Occasional Contributor III

Export to CAD does support Geodatabase Annotation, and it does a pretty good job of matching the fonts.  It can get a little tricky matching symbology as Yigal accurately points out.

If you really want to get into it you could use the Esri True Type fonts in AutoCAD, although its tricky.  I wrote a blog post a few years back on the topic you might find useful (or not).  GIS CAD Interoperability: GIS and CAD Signs, Symbols and Fonts

<snip>...One of the primary point symbol types supported by ArcMap is the use of true type-fonts as marker symbols. I use true-type marker symbols in both ArcGIS and CAD when I want the symbols to be the same in both the CAD and GIS versions of converted data. Although I have more flexibility in the creation of cells and blocks for CAD symbology, the ability to reference existing ArcGIS marker symbols in a true-type font can be easier than recreating a CAD symbol set of the GIS marker symbols for interoperability. The trick to getting the ESRI marker symbols in CAD is to create CAD text rather than points. The ArcGIS Export to CAD tool available with an ArcView license, allows me to export point features as CAD text by overriding the default [CADType] with TEXT and then specifying the Unicode character or formatting code string in the text value stored in the [TxtValue] field of the point feature layer’s table.

I can specify the right symbol with CAD formatting syntax in the text string recognized by CAD (ie: [\U+0073], or use the keyboard short cut to type in the actual Unicode value in the string once I’ve done a little research to find the values of the symbols I want to use. Finally to get the right symbol in CAD I need to have access to the same true type font in ArcGIS as in the CAD system. Export to CAD will then use the true-type font referenced by the [TxtFont] field that I include in the feature layer attribute table or an existing CAD font style based on that true-type font that I could reference in a field called [TxtStyle].

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