Georeferencing a CAD Drawing

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03-03-2011 08:20 AM
New Contributor
I have been trying to georeference a Cad drawing to match my raster.  When I use the Georeferencing toolbox, the CAD drawing does not appear as a target layer.  I used the tool CAD to geodatabase to load the CAD into ArcSDE.  It adds to the map fine, but why can I not see it in the layer box to georeference it?  If I add the raster to my map, that file will appear, but not the CAD drawing?????

Can someone help me?

My goal is to overlay the CAD drawing over the aerial.
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New Contributor III
I have been trying to georeference a Cad drawing to match my raster.  When I use the Georeferencing toolbox, the CAD drawing does not appear as a target layer.  I used the tool CAD to geodatabase to load the CAD into ArcSDE.  It adds to the map fine, but why can I not see it in the layer box to georeference it?  If I add the raster to my map, that file will appear, but not the CAD drawing?????

Can someone help me?

My goal is to overlay the CAD drawing over the aerial.


Hi Laurie,

When you add a CAD drawing using Add data button, you will be able to see the CAD layers in Georeferencing toolbar. More help topics here.
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New Contributor
Something must be wrong because I cannot see the CAD in the georeferencing layer box.  I have added the data and see the image, but it does not allow me to georeference it.  I have tried several times.
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New Contributor III
Something must be wrong because I cannot see the CAD in the georeferencing layer box.  I have added the data and see the image, but it does not allow me to georeference it.  I have tried several times.


Hi Laurie,

Georeference the CAD drawing and then use the CAD to geodatabase tool.
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New Contributor
Thank you for your reply.  When I added the CAD drawing to the map without loading it into the geodatabase, I was able to view the file in the target layer box and georeference it. 

I am however, having trouble saving the transformation changes and loading the transformation changes into ArcSDE.  I am not sure if I am understanding how to do this from the notes online.  After I update georeferencing, will the CAD drawing only save its position and size for this map? It seems as if this is the case.  I am wanting to save this like every other feature class.  When I add it from the database, I would like it to display in the location that I have georeferenced. 

I know that there is the CAD to Geodatabase tool, but since my georeferenced is not saved properly, I am not sure how to do this.

I did find that I can save the changes as a layer, but am not sure how to put this layer into my geodatabase.

Hope this makes sense.

Help would be appreciated.
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Occasional Contributor II
after you georeference the cad file in arcmap and update the georeferencing from the georeference toolbar you should be pompted to create a world file (.wld) in the same directory and with the same name as your cad dataset, once that is created your data should be in the right place spatially when you convert the cad to geodatabse
you have to make sure you mxd sessionis using the coordinate system as the dataset you are going to use in the geodatabase; if you want the output geodatabase features created from the cad to be the same as your other database features make sure the mxd coordinate system is set up correctly
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New Contributor
:confused:

I am really confused.  I wasn't prompted to create a world file. When would you be prompted? Right now, I have the cad file overlayed in my map over the aerial and it is dead on.  I am just now sure how to convert the new georeferenced cad into a feature class.  I want to be able to bring it into any map and have it overlayed right where it is now.  Also,the file indicates that the cad may not be projected correctly since it does not have a projection.  I have tried to define a projection from the toolbox, but it gives me an error.

I am sorry, I am not understanding what you mean????
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New Contributor
:confused:

I am really confused.  I wasn't prompted to create a world file. When would you be prompted? Right now, I have the cad file overlayed in my map over the aerial and it is dead on.  I am just now sure how to convert the new georeferenced cad into a feature class.  I want to be able to bring it into any map and have it overlayed right where it is now.  Also,the file indicates that the cad may not be projected correctly since it does not have a projection.  I have tried to define a projection from the toolbox, but it gives me an error.

I am sorry, I am not understanding what you mean????


--You have most likely figured this out by now, but just for the sake of completeness, after you have the CAD drawing positioned where you want it, you would go to the Georeferencing toolbar and choose "Update Georeferencing" - after which you will be asked to save the world (wld) file and you will want to place it in the same directory as the DWG file.
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New Contributor
I have been trying to georeference a Cad drawing to match my raster.  When I use the Georeferencing toolbox, the CAD drawing does not appear as a target layer.  I used the tool CAD to geodatabase to load the CAD into ArcSDE.  It adds to the map fine, but why can I not see it in the layer box to georeference it?  If I add the raster to my map, that file will appear, but not the CAD drawing?????

Can someone help me?

My goal is to overlay the CAD drawing over the aerial.



dont use that tool for drawing spatial adjusting tool is avalabul for u r work
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New Contributor
Yes I believe Georeferencing is for rasters & Spatial Adjustment is for other features.

In my quest to do the same thing, even with Spatial Adjustment the features would NOT move.  So, ESRI Support told me:

The following steps help to fix the issue:
1. Create a Feature class in the Geodatabase with unknown spatial reference.
2. While creating the feature class import the fields from the original feature class.
3. After creating the feature class right click on the feature class and assign the projection by importing the desired projection.
4. Right click on the feature class and then click on Load > Load Data.
5. Select the feature class to from which you need to load the data.
6. Create another feature class in similar manner.
7. Register the feature classes as versioned.
8. Start Editing and make sure the editing templates are created visible in edit session.
9. Create four or more control points and adjust the data.
10. This would adjust the data spatially.

Also, for doing any editing in SDE Geodatabase, the feature classes and the data set have to be registered as versioned.

Good luck.
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