The "ArcGIS for AutoCad" tool with WMS keeps giving FDO errors and is unreliable so we have procedure for putting cropped raster (TIF images) from ArcGIS into AutoCAD that has been used for years. We do not use ArcGIS's export world file function since ArcGIS doesn't allow for precise specific rectangle exports in Data View. We do all exporting from ArcGIS in Layout View.

Basically will build a world file through several complex manual tasks in ArcGIS and AutoCAD. (i.e. shape ArcGIS's data frame to what is needed, write down coordinates from 2 corners of data frame in ArcGIS, draw a rectangle in AutoCAD based on these coordinates, insert the tif image, scale, etc.)

Just wondering if anyone knows of a better way to accomplish this?

1 Answer 1


AutoCAD LDD, Civil 3D, Land Map Desktop, etc, are all capable of interfacing with spatial data directly. If I'm understanding your question correctly, bringing in spatially referenced rasters and (shapefiles) is quite an easy process.

As I said, If you have a "Map Capable" version of CAD, just georeference this image in ArcGIS, and update the georeferencing (I suggest a refresh in Catalog just to be sure it takes hold). Then, open CAD and type "mapconnect" in the command line. The rest should be easy to figure out (from here you'll attach a raster image and you should see that option in the window that opens in CAD). When you route to your geotiff and add it, it will be to scale & proper location. You may have to select it and order it to the back (it usually covers the drawing layers that are present in the drawing). I am making the assumtion that you have a map capable version of CAD. If you need further explaination let me know.

This works the same with vector data. That command will also allow you to connect to shapefiles. The command "mapimport" does the same thing, but brings the data in as AutoCAD features with no attribution.

  • Thanks Dano, the Mapconnect works fine for vector data but the rasters are always a mess.... lots of confusing errors and typical AutoCad unfriendly functionally. Between MicroSoft, Esri, and AutoCad i'm not sure which one is the most surprisingly successful corporation.... never underestimate the power of a good marketing team i suppose.
    – sirgeo
    Aug 10, 2011 at 21:48
  • I've never had such problems Sergio. I would alway reproject all my data and images to the same datum & zone in ArcGIS prior to bringing it into the CAD environment and I found it to be quite easy. Perhaps this is the root of the problems you're experiencing. Mapperz addressed a question on assigning different coordinate systems in CAD at the link below. Hit the top link in the posted answer and try some targeted searches on the AutoDesk site. You will likely find your answers there. Have a look: gis.stackexchange.com/questions/8984/…
    – Dano
    Aug 11, 2011 at 13:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.