According to a post like this, a DWG/DXF can be "georeferenced", but not all are. I guess the same is true for other CAD formats too. But exactly what does that mean that a CAD file is georeferenced?

  • @GBG: It sort of answers. I actually asked the other question. And when I wrote the question it was twofold, 1) exactly what does it mean 2) how to check. But PolyGeo edited my question to only ask the latter part. I assume he thought the question was being too broad; being two questions in one. So after his edit, I created this question, and I believe the question is substantial and essential enough to have its own question on stackexchange, even if I already mostly have it figured out. Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 0:37
  • 2
    Please don't ask two-fold questions. As you can see, they don't always get multi-answers.
    – Vince
    Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 1:58
  • 1
    @Vince: I think that sounds like good general advice :) Now I just need this question reopened then, so there is opportunity for someone to provide (possibly better) answers to this part of the question. Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 2:01
  • 1
    That general advice is the main purpose of the Tour. The other question's answer addressed this topic adequately, so I won't vote to reopen.
    – Vince
    Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 14:49
  • Hi there! Can you clarify what part of the idea of georeferenced/non-georeferenced CAD files is confusing to you?
    – Felipe D.
    Commented Jan 5, 2022 at 18:57

2 Answers 2


In surveying, we called "the world file" the georeferenced portion of a file. It tells the GIS or mapping software where the file is located and at what scale to display it at.

If a CAD drawing/file is georeferenced, it means this location and scale data is embedded in it and can be used to place its contents on the map appropriately.

DXF file: older/simpler/smaller files, created by Autodesk, open source, cannot contain this georeferenced data (so manual placement is needed)

DWG file: bigger files, also created by Autodesk, proprietary, primarily made for AutoCAD, can contain georeferenced information


I would also point that out here, since no one brought that up. When someone gives you a DXF or DWG file, you cannot modify it. You will also have to export it to another file to work on it.

Your Answer

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

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