What is a CAD feature dataset?

A CAD feature dataset is a read-only representation of a CAD file that is organized into a geodatabase-enforced schema comprising five generic CAD feature classes. The data is displayed in memory while the source file remains on disk in its native format.

When you add a CAD dataset to ArcMap, ArcScene, or ArcGlobe, all standard map functions are enabled for each CAD feature class, including attribute tables and labeling functions.

You can define a coordinate system and a geographic transformation and create and edit metadata for CAD datasets. The information is stored in external support files and moves with the CAD dataset when it is managed in the Catalog window.

AutoCAD drawings (version 2007 or higher) have the extended ability to store the coordinate system in the CAD file. In cases where both internal and external spatial references exist, the external projection file takes precedence over the embedded coordinate system.

External support files

External support files must be saved with the same name and in the same folder as the source CAD file.

Support file


<file name>.prj

Text file containing coordinate system and map projection information

<file name>.wld

Text file containing georeferencing information

<file name>.xml

Metadata for the CAD dataset

External support files

Related Topics

Published 6/8/2010