Back to Blog Posts

Map 3D toolset is included with AutoCAD 2023

The model-based GIS mapping software provides access to CAD and GIS data to support planning, design, and management. With the Map 3D toolset, you can directly access spatial data using Feature Data Objects (FDO) technology, directly edit geospatial data and manage infrastructure systems with Enterprise Industry Model.

Work faster with access to model-based GIS mapping

Map 3D toolset features

Use Feature Data Objects (FDO) technology

Work with spatial data from a variety of CAD and GIS data formats and coordinate systems.

This map of a water distribution system is made up of features stored in a set of SDF files. The feature source could be a database (such as Oracle, SQL Server, or MySQL), a file-based feature source (such as SDF or SHP), a web server (such as WFS), or a table of feature geometry data (such as Microsoft Access).

Once you connect to a feature source, you select the types of features to include in your map. Each type of feature is called a feature class AutoCAD Map 3D toolset displays all the features from the selected features classes in your map, and each feature class becomes a layer in Display Manager. For example, a feature class called Roads contains individual streets and appears on a layer called Roads in Display Manager. You can apply a single style to this layer, and all the streets in the layer will use that style.

schema is the definition of multiple feature classes and the relationships between them. It determines the criteria an individual feature must meet in order to be a member of a particular feature class. For some feature sources, you can add and edit a schema and its feature classes and properties. For more information about editing schemas, see About Schemas.

For data stores that support multiple-geometry feature classes (Oracle, WFS, SDF, PostGIS, MySQL, SQL Server Spatial, SQLite, and SQL Server), you can specify which geometries to add to the map for each feature class.

You use FDO to connect directly to a data source and work in its native format. Each data source type uses its own FDO provider , and each provider has different capabilities.

For example, Oracle supports locking on the feature level. When you check out a feature, other users cannot edit it, even though they can view your edits and edit other features in the feature source. Oracle also supports persistent locking, so the object stays locked until you check it back in.

SHP feature sources, on the other hand, support locking on the file level. When you check out a feature, its entire SHP file is locked. Other users cannot edit features from that file until you close the map, which releases your lock (even if you still have features checked out at the time). Be careful to check in your changes before you close the map.

Versioning allows multiple copies of a spatial dataset to be stored and tracked by date of creation, date of change, and so on. Not every FDO provider supports versioning.

Connect to ArcGIS

The Autodesk Connector for ArcGIS® uses your ESRI ArcGIS login information to connect AutoCAD Map 3D toolset to your ArcGIS data. Once you’ve signed in, use the Autodesk Connector for ArcGIS to browse available datasets and add ArcGIS data layers into your map drawing.

1. Open the Autodesk Connector for ArcGIS

The Autodesk Connector for ArcGIS can be launched from the AutoCAD Map 3D toolset Data panel by clicking on the  icon.

2. Navigate to your area of interest

Enter a location name, address, or point of interest in the search bar. You can also input longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates, or import a SHP file that defines your area of interest. Use the mouse to pan and zoom, or use the zoom tools (+/- buttons) to further refine your search. Use the selection tools to define your area of interest.


3. Browse datasets

Browse available datasets for the selected area of interest using the Public, My Content, My Groups, and Organization filters. See the ArcGIS Online Help to understand how to find and work with your ArcGIS Online content.

Convert data between DWG and GIS data

 During import, AutoCAD Map 3D toolset copies data from the input file into the active drawing and converts the data to drawing objects. You can work with your data using Data Connect or by importing it.

When you use Data Connect (from Display Manager), you view and edit data in its source. Edits are saved back to the source. The data stays in its original location.

When you import data, you make a copy of the data and bring that copy into your map. When you edit the data, you are editing the copy. The original data is unchanged.

For some formats, such as MicroStation Design (DGN), Arc/INFO, and SDF 2 (Autodesk MapGuide 6.5 and earlier), you can only import the data. For most other formats, you can either connect directly to the data or use import.

Edit geospatial data directly

Edit data against GIS data sources, such as ESRI SHP, MapInfo, and Oracle with standard AutoCAD commands.

AutoCAD Map 3D toolset works on two types of objects: features and drawing objects.

  • Features are GIS objects stored in external files and databases. Display and edit them in your map and then save the changes back to the original source. Use the options described in Working with Features.
  • Drawing objects are AutoCAD objects stored within a map or retrieved from attached drawings using queries. Save changes to drawing objects in the current map or back to the attached source drawing depending on the source of each object.

AutoCAD Map 3D toolset works with both DWG objects and GIS features.

Use both AutoCAD Map 3D toolset and AutoCAD to edit features and drawing objects. Many AutoCAD commands work on both types of objects. Some AutoCAD commands can only be performed on a feature after you extract its geometry and edit it as a drawing object. You can then save your changes back to the original data store with no loss of precision.

Many AutoCAD Map 3D toolset Help topics are specific to one type of object or the other.

Topics that are for DWG objects are marked with this icon: 

Topics that relate to GIS features have this icon: 

Apply coordinate geometry

Use coordinate geometry (COGO) input commands to enter accurate geometry when creating objects.

Use the coordinate geometry (COGO) input commands to enter accurate geometry when creating objects. For example, you can create parcel boundaries from legal documents or survey data.

Typical field sketches showing points defined by distance-distance (left) and bearing-bearing (right).

You can access COGO commands from the COGO Input dialog box. The COGO Input dialog box is available on the ribbon as well as on the tool bar of the Task PaneSurvey tab. You can also enter COGO data “transparently” (while running other commands) by entering ‘mapcogo at the command prompt.

For example, start the Polyline (PLINE) command. When prompted for the next point in the polyline, enter ‘mapcogo. The COGO Input dialog box appears. Select a COGO routine, and enter the COGO data to calculate the new point. When you finish specifying the point, the Polyline command prompts you to enter the next point. You can enter the point normally, or you can start another transparent command to specify the point.


You can still access most COGO commands transparently by typing an apostrophe (‘) plus the command name (AD, BB, BD, DD, DDIST, ZD). Orthogonal/Offset and Inverse Report are only available from the COGO Input dialog box.

It can be very helpful to enable node object snapping when specifying points using coordinate geometry. Node object snapping allows you to snap to point objects in the drawing window, which makes selecting points much easier.

Run drawing cleanup actions

Use drawing cleanup to automate time-consuming corrections for common drafting and digitizing errors.

Drawing Cleanup actions can be used to detect map errors (for example, duplicate objects, undershoots, or zero length objects), simplify complex 2D maps, and to weed and supplement 3D polylines. Because Drawing Cleanup can alter your data, make a backup of your data before cleaning up a map.

For best results, run cleanup actions individually or with a minimum of other actions.

The following table shows examples of problems that Drawing Cleanup can correct.

Order of Cleanup Actions: The order of cleanup actions can produce different results. Specify the order by moving cleanup actions up or down in the list. The action at the top of the list is performed first.

Setting Cleanup Options: Set the options for each cleanup action individually. For more information, see the individual help topics about each cleanup action.

Cleaning for Topology: Some types of errors should be fixed before you create a topology. The following table indicates data errors that should be considered when you are creating a network or polygon topology. Node topologies do not usually require cleanup.

In addition, if you have closed polylines (polygons) that may be missing centroids, you should create centroids for them before using them in topology.


  • Drawing Cleanup affects objects on layers that are OFF. It does not affect objects on layers that are FROZEN. It is recommended that you use drawing cleanup on a layer-by-layer basis, or on selective sets of layers. Avoid using automatic cleanup for all objects on all layers.
  • All tools except Weed Polylines work in two dimensions only, ignoring Z-values. When you use the 2D tools, Z data (indicating elevations) might be lost when processing objects at different elevations.

Use enterprise industry modules

Use intelligent application modules to efficiently manage a wide variety of infrastructure systems.

Convert data to intelligent industry models

Create and manage intelligent industry models by converting GIS data.

 The conversion process enables you to define mappings from the source data to corresponding feature classes and attribute values in the current industry model. You can convert multiple sources in one operation. You can apply filters to the sources to convert only the data of interest from each source.

To convert data to industry model features

  1. In AutoCAD Map 3D toolset, switch to the Maintenance workspace.
  2. Open a project or an industry model template or file.

    The current industry model will be the target for the converted data.

  3.  – Click Insert tab > Import panel > Convert To Industry Model.
  4. In the Convert to Industry Model dialog box, under Source Data, click any of the following:
    •  – Add File-based Sources. Use this option to convert data from DWG, SDF, SHP, and SQLite sources to design features.
    •  – Add FDO Connection Sources To Convert. Use this option to convert data from an FDO connection to design features. You must first connect to the source using Home tab > Data panel > Data Connect.
    •  – Add Industry Model Sources To Convert. Use this option to convert data stored in previous versions of AutoCAD Map 3D toolset Enterprise. In this case, minimal mapping is needed.
  5.  – After adding the source data and assigning an industry model, you can expedite the data mapping process by clicking the Automatic Mapping button.

    Feature classes and their properties may not always have logical names. The mapping process allows you to set logical names that are easier to understand. For example, instead of using the feature class name like EL_OH_CONDUCTOR, it could be mapped as Conductor.

  6. If you have saved a mapping profile, at the bottom of the Source Data list, click Load and specify a saved mapping profile.

  7. Select and clear mapping check boxes as desired and click Convert.

    You can select multiple sources to convert.

    Tip: Right-clicking in the source data column of the Data Mapping area opens a menu where you can choose to select or deselect all features and properties.
  8. To apply a filter to the source data, right-click the data source and click Filter Source.

  9. If necessary, you can change the coordinate system assigned to the source data. Right-click the source and click Set Coordinate System.
  10. In the Data Mapping area, define the mapping between items in the source data and feature classes and attributes in the industry model data model.

    If the source is DWG, you can create mappings from layers, entities, or blocks, to corresponding feature classes in the industry model. From the drop-down list, select EntityBlock Name,Layer, or Object Data.

    To create mappings between particular attributes, click the attribute of interest in the source list, then click the drop-down list in the All Models column.

  11. When you have completed the mapping for a source, you can save the mapping as a profile. You can later reload the profile for future conversions. From the dropdown at the bottom of the Source Data list, click Save.
  12. To validate the connectivity of features and run design validation rules, select Reinitialize and Validate Topology.

    This option will display any connectivity and rule errors encountered in the Topology Checker palette when the source data is converted.

  13. When you have finished creating the mapping between the source and the industry model, click Convert.

Apply styling and theming

Easily update styling using the style editor and use themes to display data to indicate different values.

Build topologies

Create topologies to perform useful calculations, such as identifying customers downstream from a faulty pump.

 After you have created a drawing topology, you can use it to analyze spatial relationships between the drawing objects. You can:

  • Extract or create new information about a set of objects
  • Determine the distribution of an object, or objects, over a network or area
  • Manage relationships between objects
  • Analyze the location, proximity, and orientation of objects
  • Evaluate suitability and capability, estimate, predict, and interpret
  • Identify conditions at a geographic location, in a spatial area, or along a linear network, and predict effects of future events on these items

The three types of topologies: polygon, network, and point.

Different topologies can contain information on different aspects of a map. For example, a political map shows county lines or cities and towns. A geological map shows soil types or contour lines. A social map might show the locations of crimes or high-income areas.

Before you can analyze a topology, you must create the topology and make sure it is loaded.

Analyze data with tools

Use robust functionalities, including buffers, overlay, and spatial queries, to analyze data.

Need Autodesk AutoCAD support?

If you would like to purchase AutoCAD licenses or need support, please contact us at Our team will assist you in getting the assistance you need.

Read More

What is CAD in Construction?

CAD has been revolutionary in almost every single industry that requires us to design and manufacture something. CAD has revolutionized construction, transforming how we go about drawing, designing, and building. CAD is an acronym meaning computer-aided design. It involves using specialized CAD software to go through the same design process you would do on paper. However, since this building design is digital, you can manipulate it and conduct more testing without destroying anything.

CAD software makes it easier for you to design and build because everything is done digitally. All changes can be reversed, and you can even conduct certain tests without building anything in the real world. It has made engineers worldwide more productive, and it has led to a revolution in how accurately we can build things. In the future, CAD software programs will do even more to revolutionize workflow and project management in the construction process. There are many innovations coming through the pipeline that will be groundbreaking for construction professionals.

Building information modeling, or BIM, is a specific type of 3D CAD software dedicated to the construction industry. Unlike traditional CAD, BIM software focuses on static objects and physical infrastructure. Information about the structure, floor plan, and other important data is held inside the BIM file. When coupled with powerful version control systems, you can even go through various iterations of building plans.

AutoCAD LT 2021 Web Blocks

History of CAD

The history of CAD can be traced back to 1957 with the introduction of PRONTO and DAC. PRONTO was the first numerical control programming system, and it formed the foundation of what we see today.

In 1963, Sketchpad was created. Sketchpad was the first system to use a graphical user interface. It allows users to draw on CRT monitors using a light pen. From there, CAD was introduced to the aerospace world in 1965. This introduction came through the CADAM tool. This powerful tool was created by Lockheed and IBM.

Siemens NX is one of the most popular CAD programs today, but it can trace its roots back to 1973. It was created at the same time as Unigraphics. Unigraphics allowed for 2D modeling and drafting. This would later set the standard of what CAD software should look like. In fact, many concepts we see today in CAD construction can be traced back to these roots.

The introduction of NURBS was also an important discovery in CAD. Most geometric modeling kernels still utilize this technology. NURBS forms the foundation in helping CAD software manage mathematical shapes and the procedures we do to those shapes. AutoCAD and Autodesk both came to the world in 1982. This CAD design software is one of the most important foundations in the construction industry. AutoCAD was the first to work on a normal personal computer instead of on expensive mainframe computers that the average user did not have access to. The introduction of AutoCAD LT made 2D modeling affordable and accessible.

In the construction industry, we have to go to the year 2000 for the first major development in CAD. Revit was created by the Revit Technology Corporation. This remains one of the most popular BIM and CAD software tools for construction. Two years later, SketchUp was also introduced. This and MicroStation are excellent tools for people looking for a simple and affordable CAD solution.

Modern CAD solutions for the construction industry have added powerful graphics engines and visualization systems. The object modeling has also been enhanced, meaning we can now model some of the most complicated projects on normal computers. Despite how far we’ve come, CAD for construction and BIM systems are still in their infancy.

How Is CAD Used in Building and Construction?

CAD software is now a requirement when working in building and construction. Almost every single phase of a project’s workflow is created and managed through CAD. Engineers find that working with CAD is a lot easier than doing complicated engineering designs on paper. On top of that, design tools like AutoCAD can turn complex DWG files and BIM software output into paper drawings.

Usage starts in the planning stage, where structural engineers think about the user requirements and start laying the groundwork. For example, there are subsystems for construction management, pricing, and even materials. In fact, some CAD systems even allow you to manage your general contractor and subcontractors as well.

The CAD system manages the BIM at all times. Every engineer that contributes something to the building design will be contributing to a central repository of design information. There are PLM tools that allow you to revert changes if you find that you made a mistake. CAD software allows you to manage materials and even operations.

Most modern buildings have complicated piping and other systems. Modern CAD systems allow you to model those as well. During the construction phase, you can manage it all using CAD software programs.

Finally, CAD software allows you to manage the building through the design-build lifecycle. You aren’t done with your project when you have built it. You still need to go through various maintenance steps. 3D models and elevations of the building allow you to easily see where systems are located and how to spot problems to complete renovations quickly.

Introducing Asite Platform for Cloud-Based Collaborative BIM


Importance of CAD in the Construction Industry

CAD is now at the heart of the industry. Without it, construction projects would take much longer to complete, and we would not be able to build the complicated structures we do today. On top of that, CAD has made it possible to quickly and easily maintain buildings better than we could imagine before. Imagine how difficult it would be to fix a problem with a building based on drawings instead of 3D models. It is those subtle differences that make construction technology so important.

CAD is also important because you can see a history of changes to your project using PLM software. If everything were done with drawing tools like pen and paper, you would have to go through your stuff to find the right drawing for your project. On top of that, it is much harder to lose a digital asset than to lose physical construction documents.

Future of CAD in Construction

CAD systems are continually going through innovations that will matter for the future. With every update, BIM files get more efficient, design tools are added, and functionality is improved. There are a few trends that will improve CAD systems in the construction industry.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are being implemented into almost every software tool we see today. 3D CAD software tools are no different. We will see artificial intelligence being used to generate designs, and we might even have generated designs that are as good as what could be created by a professional architect.

Virtual reality and augmented reality are also being added to CAD. Instead of using a mouse and keyboard to interact with your model, you could look at it through a virtual-reality or augmented system. This will allow us to interact with our model better, leading to much better designs.


CAD systems have been revolutionary in the building industry. We now live in an environment where no project could get done without using these systems. In the future, new features will be added to make these systems more impressive and valuable to construction projects.

Are you ready to learn how to successfully implement CAD at your firm? Contact us.

Read More

Raster Design toolset is included with AutoCAD

Use raster design tools in a specialized toolset to edit scanned drawings and convert raster images to DWG™ objects. With the Raster Design toolset, you can access tools to enhance image editing and cleanup, edit REM objects using standard AutoCAD commands and simplify your workflows with vectorization tools.

Image editing and cleanup

Despeckle, bias, mirror, and touch up your images.

Raster Entity Manipulation (REM)

Use standard AutoCAD commands on raster regions and primitives. Easily edit raster images, lines, arcs, and circles.

Vectorization tools

Create lines and polylines from raster images, and convert raster files into vector drawings.

Image transformation functionality

Show and analyze geo images in Civil 3D civil engineering software and the AutoCAD Map 3D toolset.


Need Autodesk AutoCAD support?

If you would like to purchase AutoCAD licenses or need support, please contact us at Our team will assist you in getting the assistance you need.

Read More

Latest Tweets

MicrosolTweets @MicrosolTweets
Join us on February 22 at 12pm as we show you to create immersive 3D experiences from your building models. You’ll…
Join us on February 16th, 2023 at 12pm EST as David Spergel, Microsol Resources' #Bluebeam Revu expert, gives out s…
Interested in discovering the key ways digital technology can improve the construction industry? Click on the link…
Load More...