GIS and CAD
In recent years, ESRI has focused much research and development on improving how CAD data can be used as GIS content. ArcGIS now offers better tools for organization of CAD data and a larger, more useful set of symbols for representing CAD information. In addition, ArcGIS provides a commonly accepted framework for georeferencing CAD data so it can be used in many types of applications and by a wider range of professionals.
More recently, ESRI has turned its focus to streamlining workflows that provide GIS content to CAD users. The arc gis for auto cad plug-in provides GIS content to CAD users via an elegant services-based approach to interoperability, where designers and draftspersons can access and use GIS Web services delivered by ArcGIS Server without leaving the CAD environment. ESRI is exploring how other ArcGIS Server services, such as geoprocessing and geodata services, as well as Web editing, can be used inside AutoCAD and other CAD software.
ESRI has also created a new data specification called the Mapping Specification for Drawings (MSD), which is a method of defining and creating GIS content using AutoCAD files and ArcGIS for AutoCAD. The MSD format not only makes CAD data more easily understood as GIS content but also gives the CAD draftsperson the means to enhance drawings with spatial information and attributes normally enjoyed by GIS users.
ESRI continues to pursue a two-pronged approach that increases the value of CAD to our customers by making it easier to use in a GIS and building better linkages between the two systems so that CAD users can enjoy the full benefits of GIS.
Looking ahead, ESRI is working on fully exploring the potential uses of all ArcGIS Server GIS services (such as geoprocessing, geodatabase, and editing services) inside AutoCAD and other CAD software. Another area of research is the leveraging of technologies like Building Information Modeling (BIM) and 3D GIS. BIM promises to provide well-structured datasets that can be incorporated with existing GIS applications to improve asset management, emergency response, property management, and facilities management projects. GIS applications can also be fused with 3D GIS for solving problems associated with 3D networks, volumes, and complex geometries