Computer-aided design (CAD) is a system of hardware and software used to design and document real-world objects in industries such as engineering, architecture, surveying, construction, and so on. Currently, AutoCAD and Microstation are the two most widely used general-purpose CAD platforms. These systems accommodate a wide range of applications. ArcGIS Pro accepts data generated by AutoCAD- and Microstation-based applications.
CAD text as a label
CAD data often has text that you need to use for GIS content, either to display or to convert to an annotation feature class. When CAD text is added to ArcGIS Pro, it is displayed as labels. You can then customize the design of the labels and convert them to annotation.
Display CAD feature classes as individual CAD layers
In ArcGIS Pro, CAD data is displayed as a group layer to match the CAD file name. Individual layers organize the data by geometry type and reflect the layers, levels, and colors defined by the CAD file. Feature layers generated for each CAD layer or level allow you to identify and use the CAD content.
A group layer is created with the feature class name and the suffix group. The feature class is included with its layer visibility turned off. Additional feature layers are included for each CAD layer or level that contains entities that belong to the CAD feature class. A definition query distinguishes the features that belong to the unique CAD layers or levels in the drawing.
Display CAD feature classes by individual blocks or shared cells
In ArcGIS Pro, CAD data that contains AutoCAD blocks or Microstation shared cells will be displayed as point feature classes. You can use the attributed blocks or shared cells because their attributes are automatically created as separate direct-read feature classes.
In addition to the default feature classes organized by geometric type (Point, Polyline, Polygon, Annotation [Point], and Multipatch), feature classes will be automatically generated for drawings that contain blocks or shared cells. These feature classes can then be used by any geoprocessing tool or added to your map. Only the attributes for each block or shared cell will be included as part of the schema of each block or shared cell feature class. Block and shared cell references are not included in point feature classes.
Convert CAD data to feature classes
When using CAD data in ArcGIS Pro, you can convert a portion of or the entire CAD drawing to geodatabases. On the Options dialog box, on the CAD tab, there are options to make this conversion automatically. If the On adding new layer to map, convert CAD feature class to project geodatabase check box is selected, all CAD data added to your map will automatically be converted to feature classes in your project geodatabase.
All data represented by a CAD dataset is typically contained in a single source file. This includes geometry as well as non-graphic information, such as feature attributes and graphic properties that define symbology. CAD layers do not follow the GIS simple features model. CAD authors are free to mix geometry types and other data in a single layer. It is also possible to use line type and color to further classify the data. As a result, the data's context, along with textual information and a significant amount of human interpretation, can be required to identify geometry as a particular feature in GIS.