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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?

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  • @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. Jan 4 at 0:37
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    Please don't ask two-fold questions. As you can see, they don't always get multi-answers.
    – Vince
    Jan 4 at 1:58
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    @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. Jan 4 at 2:01
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    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
    Jan 4 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.
    Jan 5 at 18:57

2 Answers 2

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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

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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.

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