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    By David Crowther


    In this previous blog we explored how we can better integrate CAD and GIS teams by sharing spatial datasets more effectively.


    Now, in Part 2 we utilise the ESRI ArcGIS to AutoCAD plugin to provide basemapping options for our spatial assets within AutoCAD.

    Step One: Download the ArcGIS for AutoCAD plugin.

    To download the plugin visit this webpage:



    Step Two: Run the Installer

    Once the plugin is installed, double click to run the installer and install to the default C:/program files location.



    Step Three: Open AutoCAD and load the Plugin

    Now open AutoCAD and in the Command Line type NETLOAD.


    This will allow you to add in a new Assembly. Navigate to the folder that contains the ArcGISforAutoCAD plugin DLL and press Open.


    Once you load the .DLL file the plugin will load.


    Once loaded the plugin adds a new Ribbon called ArcGIS into your AutoCAD.


    Step Four: Load your AutoCAD Drawing and Assign a projection

    Before we can add basemaps, firstly choose a Drawing (.DWG) file that contains the assets that you wish to manage.


    If that DWG has no projection assigned you should ensure that you choose a projection e.g. British National Grid.


    Step Five: Add an ESRI Map

    From the ArcGIS ribbon choose the Esri Maps button


    and from the list of basemaps choose the one you wish to load into the drawing.


    In this example we will choose World Imagery basemap and once loaded we can now see the imagery at the location of our spatial assets.


    Step Six: Add a GIS Service

    In addition to the core ESRI Maps, you can also connect to an ArcGIS Server instance.


    In the Add Service tool, if you choose the New Server Connection option you can access other spatial assets via a web service – although these are limited to ESRI ArcGIS Services only.

    In this case we will use the default ArcGIS Online GIS Service.


    Once connected we can then choose which GIS Service we wish to connect to. For example we can add another basemap e.g. the World Street Map. Simply tick the Service you wish to connect to and press Add.


    The new GIS Service is added to the drawing as an extra basemap, where we now have World Street Mapping.


    Step Seven: Other Tools

    Using the Layer Manager tool you can decide to switch between the basemaps that you wish to view by making them visible and invisible.


    The ArcGIS plugin also provides a Locate tool which allows you to find an address and zoom directly to that location.


    e.g. searching for Shrewsbury and pressing Locate.


    A results box will appear which may provide a list of multiple results records.


    Right click on the search result and choose Zoom to Selected Feature, and the map now recentres over the new location.

    Now we have loaded the ArcGIS for AutoCAD plugin for AutoCAD we will explore a number of the other tools available in part 3 of this series where we aim to explore better integrating CAD and GIS workflows.