What is the actual use of AutoCAD Map 3D?

It seems that ArcGIS Desktop has many tools for analysis.

Is there any other advantage in using AutoCAD Map 3D?


AutoCAD Map is prefect for cleaning dwg files (spaghetti vector data) and preparing them for import for GIS applications. Also it is very good for georeferencing vector and raster data which can be pretty tedious in some GIS applications (not all of them). Generally, it is used for preparing data for GIS. You can us it as a GIS application, but it lacks lot of options and it not really suited for GIS. I don't think you can really compare ArcGIS and AutoCAD Map because they main purpose is not the same. Everyone has his benefits, ArcGIS can not replace AutoCAD Map nor AutoCAD Map can replace ArcGIS.

  • does autocad and arcgis have performance issues. i mean i have tried arcgis 10 and autocad map 3d 2011 where on autocad when more data's are pulled from a shape file for editing lags the systems performance but in arcgis 10 even in 9.3 it doesn't matters works smoothly. what my friend Devadatta and brad posted below say's like what i think. Mario do you have any experience with this issue. i am using a good workstation - i5 processor 4 gb ram, 2gb nvidia graphics accelerator. Jan 31 '11 at 16:40
  • you didn't mention how did you edit shapefile via import or via FDO. If you imported shapefile, you shouldn't be experiencing any issues because AutoCAD converts shp to dwg. This is not recommended way for editing shp files. But if are editing via FDO (connecting to shp) then it is normal experience. AutoCAD Map is not perfect for editing shp files. ArcGIS is much better for that. Jan 31 '11 at 17:39

I partially agree with Devdatta Tehngshe,
Map3d was designed at rel2000 specifically for heads-up digitizing. (This has gotten much more sophisticated in recent versions.)

Argis 10 now has some features which make it "more" usable for that.

I have map3d and raster design I use to geo-reference images and save to geo-tiff which I use in all my applications proprietary and open.
I have several templates that it takes about 4 mins each to complete.

Doing the same thing in arcmap is not nearly so fast (not to mention I haven't figured a good way to make a template) and I have yet to find a good raster format that ESRI writes that Autodesk will read and georeference straight out.

There are many other functions which are not duplicated between the two. I can't live without both.

Direct export from Map3d gives infinitely more options than any of the capabilities of FME or ESRI.

In regards to the statements about autodesk not performing analysis.

The truth is that while autodesk does not embrace the same methodology for analysis as ESRI, autodesk is one of the most highly utilized analysis tools in all of the engineering disciplines and there are literally thousands of application, and scripts written to perform a wide range of analysis in all of the Autodesk applications.

Analysis of spatial properties of flood plain is used extensively with add-on products and has only recently (maybe 10 yrs) been developed for the ESRI product line. As of right now is not supported on the latest release. ESRI Forum Question

I would never put down ESRI, I use it daily, as I do Map3d. It does take some experieince to exploit the strengths of each and use them both as a tool in the belt, knowing which works best for which task.

  • 1
    To second Brad's comment; where ESRI leaves you with a 'Spatial' or '3D Analysis' tooklit to build your own logic, the many AutoDesk extensions deal specifically with Visual Analysis, Civil Engineering, Site Design, Hydrology etc. So you are able to have directly a workflow engineered extension that leaves you with less R&D needed to establish your own workflow, you have one created by experts in that area as a COTS product that is ready to use.
    – D.E.Wright
    Jun 21 '11 at 18:49
  • Does anyone else think it is just a matter of older users not learning new software in the 90's? I get CAD data every day. It usually has grouped blocks that need to be blown apart and often has incorrect (or no) georeferencing and typically has few meaningful attributes. Not sure why it would be easier to digitize in AutoCAD... but I'll race you any day.
    – Mike
    Feb 20 '17 at 22:49

I took courses for both programs, and during saw the use of MAP 3D applications easier than Arcgis (for Engineer) of the following aspects: 1- Drawings (lines, points, polyline, polygon,....). 2- cleanup drawing. 3- working with Survey data. 4- working with Raster Image. 5- Data Conversion. 6- Data editing. 7- Data management. 8- Styling and Theming Features.


The main advantage as compared to ArcGIS is in digitizing vector data. I have seen that on average, completely digitizing an entire topo-sheet is 3 to 4 times faster with AutoCad MAP.

But once you have some vector data, editing it further in AutoCad Map is an tedious process and i would recommend sticking to ArcGIS Desktop.


While ArcGIS has a variety of powerful analytic tools, AutoCAD Map 3d offers a wide range of ways to convert from GIS features to CAD objects and vice versa. It is very good in collecting a huge variety of data on both geographical and project data, it is definately more interoperable compared to ArcGIS. It provides an opportunity to directly edit more types of entities than ArcGIS does. I like the both products, and anyway it is very useful to have AutoCAD Map even if you are shipped with ArcGIS...


Symbology and labeling engine is not nearly as robust in Autodesk Map. If you want to produce nice maps with quick cartographic representation then it's tough to find a product like Arcmap. I edit vector data in Autodesk Map 3D often as opposed to ArcMap - quicker with fewer mouse clicks although I use both.


The biggest difference that I see is support. From Autodesk I get none. From ESRI I get a screen share to solve problems usually right away. Unless you have many seats of AutoCAD they are impossible to get help from and cannot be contacted by phone. I installed an update in Cad yesterday and now the program is not running and I will spend time today figuring out what the problem is.

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