How I roll: Georeferencing CAD datasets in ArcGIS

Everything is Spatial

It’s the bane of a GIS Professional’s existence – or mine anyway. Here’s how a typical conversation would go:

CAD person: Hi, can you convert this dwg/dxf to “GIS” please?

Me: OK, should be fine. Is it coordinated?

CAD person: What?

Me: Does the drawing have a coordinate system assigned?

CAD person: I don’t know…I don’t think matters.

Me: What LO is it in?

CAD person: Oh! Why didn’t you say so? It’s LO19.

Me: OK. Send it to me, I’ll convert it to a shapefile and send you a map.

CAD person: Cool. So I can expect that in 15 minutes then, because that’s easy GIS right?

Me: …

So most of the people who send me CAD drawings simply do not know what a coordinate system is, or if they do know, why it matters. Here are the steps I follow:

  1. In Catalog, assign the alleged CS to…

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