At the Port of San Diego, our CAD Designers and Mapping Technicians can access our new 2009 4-inch aerials photos within AutoCAD in 2 ways. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these pros and cons empower our CAD designers to be more efficient and effective. I suggest any substantial project would be best approached by utilizing both methods.
ArcGIS for AutoCAD- Great for everyday workflow
access to content on other ArcGIS Servers, including ArcGIS Online
easy to create image with defined extent
Best resolution not guaranteed at all scales
mapiinsert command – Printing
best resolution guaranteed at all scales
CAD users more familiar
As a footnote, it should also be mentioned that ArcGIS for AutoCAD has another powerful component; the ability to create GIS attribute data within AutoCAD. As the PortGIS Program matures it will require us to gain more information about our features which originate in AutoCAD. What is the material/width/flow capacity of this pipe? Collecting this type of attribute data will allow us to 1) display and symbolize this data across the enterprise and 2) do spatial analysis, such as identifying where weaknesses might be in our utility infrastructure.
ArcGIS for AutoCAD can be downloaded from ESRI at the link below.