CAD and GIS, the right tools for the job

A while ago I got the following email: “Hi Henny, I’m responsable for projects that have to do with the management and maintenance of our dunes. The spatial information is stored in an Oracle Spatial database by my GIS colleagues. We want to work with the information relevant to our maintenance work directly in an AutoCAD environment. Can you support us ?

I believe this is a common situation with a lot of companies that have both CAD and GIS-departments. Often information is exchanged using Shape or DXF files, whereas AutoCAD Map using the FDO-functionality can connect to the Oracle Spatial database directly.

We did the following in the form of a handson workshop:

We started with the connection to the ArcGIS tables in Oracle as so called Foreign Datastore. These are tables not created by AutoCAD Map and therefor without FDO-metadata. The data is displayed correctly, but working with for example the Style Editor to create thematic maps is somewhat time-consuming.

Therefor we created in a new Oracle schema the desired feature tables using FDO’s Schema Editor incl. the FDO-metadata. Herewith we could make a choice which columns contains information necessary for the management and maintenance duties and which could be skipped. After that we used BulkCopy functionality to migrated the data over from existing tables.

In the ArcGIS tables the area information from polygon geometries where calculated using database triggers after the tables got updated. In AutoCAD Map database attributes are displayed and edited using a Data Table. Here we can also add a so called calculation-column ( see image ). Herewith the area information from polygon geometries are directly available.

Different thematic maps are defined and the style definitions are stored into Layer definition files, making it easy to re-use them in existing CAD-drawings.

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