Working with CAD Data and FME

Liz Sanderson
Liz Sanderson
  • Updated


Computer-aided design (CAD) uses computers to design, modify, create or analyze a design. CAD software is commonly used by architecture, engineering, and construction companies. For a high-level overview of how FME can help you with CAD data, see our website.


CAD Terminology

Attributes/Tag: Attached to block entities/elements in the form of a label or tag

Block/Cell: A collection of entities that are combined together to form a single block entity

Entity/Element: A single drawn object in a CAD file. Maybe a block, line, point, text, etc.

Extended Entity Data (Xdata): Application-driven information that users can attach to any entity.

External Reference (Xrefs): A way of importing drawings that keep them independent from the current drawing.

Layer/Level: User-defined groupings of entities that may have style or format characteristics and may reference other layers (Xrefs)

MSLinkA correspondence between a row in a table and an element.

Object DataAttribute data that are attached to individual objects that is stored in tables within the drawing

Property Sets: A definition that specifies characteristics of a group of properties that are associated with an object.



Getting Started Articles

Tutorial: Getting Started with AutoCAD

AutoCAD DWG - Which format should I use?

Tutorial: Microstation Transformations


Intermediate Articles

Tutorial: AutoCAD Transformations

AutoCAD DWG Block Attribute Extraction

Creating AutoCAD Dimensions

How to Convert DGN to Shapefile (CAD Levels to GIS Attributes)

How to retain CAD symbology and text in database formats

Overview of MicroStation Design Format

Reading Basic Geodatabase Annotation - GDB to DWG

Use AutoCAD Groups in FME

Using the FME CityGML Importer for Autodesk


Advanced Articles

Before completing the following articles be sure to work through the Getting Started Articles first.

AutoCAD Validation and Quality Assurance

Convert Raster Images to CAD Using Potrace

MicroStation Cells to AutoCAD Blocks

Reading AutoCAD Map 3D Object Data


Format Documentation

Autodesk AutoCAD DWG/DXF Reader/Writer

Autodesk AutoCAD DWF Reader/Writer

Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D Reader

Autodesk AutoCAD Map 3D Object Data Reader/Writer

Bentley MicroStation Design Reader/Writer

Esri Mapping Specification for CAD (MSC) Reader/Writer


Additional Resources


3 Tips for Total CAD-GIS Integration

3 Ways to Convert Raster Images to Vector for CAD/GIS

9 Reasons You Should Have a Data Integration Plan

CAD People

CAD to GIS: Bridging the Chasm

Digital Plan Submissions: How To Build Automated CAD-GIS Workflows

Feeling CAD-fused or GIS-organized? (CAD to GIS)

GIS to CAD Conversion in Two Parts

How Converting CAD to GIS Starts in Preschool

How to Convert CAD to GIS while

How to Convert GIS to CAD while Maintaining Data Quality

Nuclear BIM: Forsmark Integrates CAD, GIS, BIM, and Non-Spatial

Preserving Rich Data Structures



Ultimate Guide to CAD & GIS Integration



Bridging the Gap Between CAD and GIS

CAD and GIS: Connecting Two Worlds

CAD Standards by the Use of Civil 3D to Enterprise GIS

Cloud to CAD - with FME nothing can go bad

Conversion of CAD Drawings and Shape Files to Oracle Objects

Enabling Spatial Decision Support and Analytics on a Campus Scale with FME Technology: Bringing GIS, CAD, BIM and Tableau Together

First Time User with Creating a Simple Yet Effective Workspace

From BIM, CAD to GIS to Mobile Device: Converting SFO Interior Data to IMDF

GIS - CAD Data Integration

Managing Floorplans with AutoCAD and ArcGIS Using FME

The Joys of APIs & FME - Integrating CAD Documents to GIS from a Document Management System

Transforming AutoCAD Data to Smallworld with FME

Transforming Civil3D Data into ArcGIS Geodatabase Format

Using FME to Validate CAD File Submittals for Utilities


FME Hub Templates

CAD to GIS - Converting Text to Attributes

GIS to CAD - Symbolizing CAD Data



Automated Bulk Conversion of 250,000+ CAD and Corresponding Raster Files to PDF - FME UC 2017  [34:05]

CAD to GIS: Converting DGN to Esri Geodatabase  [3:42]

Converting CAD (IBM TRIRIGA) to IMDF for iOS Indoor Mapping  [1:31]

Finding the Shortest Path for GIS, CAD, and other Spatial Data  [7:53]

GIS to CAD Demo: MapInfo TAB to Microstation DGN  [2:54]

How to convert DGN to SHP (CAD cells and labels to GIS points)  [5:24]

How to convert DGN to SHP (CAD levels to GIS attributes)  [3:27]

How to determine Spatial Relations for CAD, GIS, and other data  [3:12]

Improving Data Integration and Quality through Digital Uploads - FME UC 2017  [23:55]

Processing Building Plans Faster and More Thoroughly using FME Server  [14:01]



5 Tips for Integrating CAD Data with Esri ArcGIS  [1:03:51]

BIM Workflows: How to Build from CAD & GIS for Infrastructure  [1:04:47]

How to Automate CAD & GIS Integration  [1:00:12]

How to Overcome 7 Top AutoCAD Road 'Blocks'  [1:04:34]

Leveraging Autodesk Products with FME: AutoCAD to GIS is Only the Beginning  [1:05:11]



FME Creates Large AutoCAD DXF Files

AutoCAD Map 3D Object Data translation fails with 32-bit FME 2017+

Installing FME changed the file associations of my Mapinfo/Autocad/Microstation etc files

FME Fails to Write Coordinate System to Autodesk Map 3D Dataset

FME Desktop 2018.0+ cannot extend Autodesk Map 3D and Civil 3D

Known Issues

For a list of Known Issues, see the following articles2021.x, 2020.x, 2019.x, 2018.x, 2017.x


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