Has anyone created a reliable process to use data from Civil 3D objects in ArcGIS 9.3? AutoDesk is not my real strength (ESRI ArcGIS is), so I'm trying to learn what the best possible workflow is from AutoDesk Civil 3D users. We've used one solution using Safe Software's FME, but am looking for something that's a little more 'direct' from AutoDesk or ESRI (i.e.: no third-party software/data formats, if possible; read data directly from the source instead of interim processing steps with interim files to create/manage/track, if possible)
Can you help?
I haven't used ArcGIS 9.3 (I date back to Arc/Info 7.0...) I'd start with checking if Arc reads in .SDF files - Autodesk's native / OpenSource GIS format. If that is the case, then you can export C3D to SDF from the output tab of the ribbon.
If not, then you have to export to .sdf and then use "bulk copy" to move from .SDF to .SHP / other which is the intermediate step you're asking about avoiding.
Let's see who else responds....
First, what type of C3D objects are you wanting to translate? The only C3D objects that come to mind which might be useable in ArcGIS are point featues (COGO points), polygons (parcels), pipes and surfaces. There may be a way to export pipe networks to GIS, perhaps via the storm analysis tools. As for the rest I don't think you will find any way to directly utilize those types of objects in ArcGIS. Map can export to Shape and other useable formats but it doesn't work with C3D objects so you would have to convert the objects into generic Autocad graphics (and lose all the C3D attributes) or export to formats that are supported by both applications such as ASCII.
Since ArcGIS doesn't read LandXML you will have to look for some workarounds to import surfaces and perhaps parcels. There may be a third party utility that can convert XML to Shape, ArcGrid, GDB, etc.
I don't know about ArcGIS 9,3, but I've had a little success in ArcDesktop 10.0. Unlike you, I'm more of a C3D expert (maybe regular user is better), and a relative rookie in ArcView products. I've been using C3D alignments in ArcGIS maps as part of a corridor study, merely by dragging the .dwg file into Arcview. For good functionality, you need to really reign in the display on the CAD side, meaning remove (or turn off) all the labels, markers, etc., so you have a minimal amount of work to do to make the objects appear correctly in Arcview (setting linetypes, colors, etc...). You can probably minimize this by creating a separate CAD dwg that contains only the object(s) you want to display. If there are lots of potential revisions, you could create a dwg that uses a data shortcut from the working cad file as the link to Arcview. I haven't experimented with other objects such as pipes; I have seen some strange effects when importing blocks (Arcview doesn't re-create them well). Let me know if you need more detailed info on my experiences.
Hi I would be interested to know the work flow you used to bring Civil3D into ArcScene using FME. Did the pipes come in as pipes or were they lines with attributes. Interested to find out if you did find any other work arounds. Regards