Posts Tagged ‘UNC paths’

GIS Dork-Out Session: ArcGIS Server Pathing and Roundtrips in ArcGIS for AutoCAD

September 2, 2009
I recently received the email below from a fellow GISer.
Hi Ari,
I attended your presentation at the UC last month which I found very interesting, and spoke to you briefly afterwards. I wondered if you’d be able to answer a couple of questions I have about your ArcGIS Server implementation. We are going through the implementation process ourselves at the moment. Our scope is global although right now we’re focused on data that is within the UTM Zone 10 area in southwest BC.
Do you still keep data files on your network? We anticipate that our network will be required for working shapefiles, MXDs, etc. But I’ve also learned that to publish MXDs the data within them has to have a UNC filepath, not a mapped drive. Is that the kind of setup you have? Because the data will be stored in single features classes for multiple projects and clients I anticipate having to create a lot of LYR files.
I am also interested in knowing more about how you deal with CAD data. We have been able to generate a test map service that included some basemap CAD topo, but I’m still not clear on the full power of integrating our CAD data. Our SDE database will have WGS84 projected data, and our CAD is mostly NAD83 UTM (e.g. zone 10). I think you mentioned you can edit CAD data directly within SDE or a map service – is that correct? Did you create any customization to do that?
If you have any time to get back to me with advice on those questions, or any other tips, I’d really appreciate it.
Kieran Smith, M.Sc.
GIS Analyst
Knight Piésold Ltd.


I am so glad that you enjoyed our presentation. There are many GISers out there dealing with many of the same issues. You seem to have two main issues 1) UNC paths and 2) CAD. I will address them each individually.

1) I assume you are referring to the warning 10027 “Layer’s data source is referenced via a UNC path” when you use the Analyze Button ATT26608 on the Map Service Publishing toolbar. ArcGIS Server likes local file system path names, but this can create problems when trying to access data on your network. The best way to get around this is to make the source paths the same whether you open the mxd on your local box or on the server. Mapped drives to shares do not give this warning. The easiest way to solve this is to find a drive letter which is not being used on the server and your personal machine. Share the proper folder and map to the share with the same drive letter on both machines. The mxd will open properly on both machines and will allow you to publish using either ArcGIS Server Manager on the server or ArcCatalog from your personal machine.

Another method is to use UNC paths for your development efforts and file system paths for production maps, data and services. To do this you should install ArcGIS Desktop on your server machine. When you want to create a production service then resource the data in your MXDs to the servers local file system path and republish the service from ArcGIS Server Manager using file system paths. UNC paths will work fine for development efforts. I don’t think there is a performance cost, but it is not quite as stable. This is the method we use at the Port of San Diego. We have a “production” folder which holds MXDs and raster and vector data, and we publish our services to a “production” folder. Everything in these production folders use file system paths and outside these folders we use UNC paths.

2) The product I mentioned in our presentation is ArcGIS for AutoCAD. There are 2 parts to this tool. The first is the ability to use AutoCAD as a client to view ArcGIS Services (including ArcGIS Online data out of the box for free). The second is the ability to give an engineering drawing characteristics which closely resemble GIS data including the ability to define coordinate systems and/or give attributes to features. When this dwg is brought into ArcGIS Desktop and/or published using ArcGIS Server these characteristics shine through. If all your GIS data, services and CAD drawings have defined Coordinate Systems it will all reproject on the fly. Of course, if the CAD designer moves the data 100 feet over this will throw everything off. The CAD designer really needs to follow both CAD and GIS standards.

This functionality creates the ability to do what we have been calling a “roundtrip.” CAD data is edited in AutoCAD, served through ArcGIS Server and then consumed within AutoCAD using ArcGIS for AutoCAD.

Don Kuehne, ESRI’s technical product manager for CAD interoperability, describes it well on his blog at the link below.

Below is a screenshot of a “roundtrip” in action. The image and the linework are both coming from ArcGIS Services.

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