Exporting Object Data to a DBF

In our book “Digging Into AutoCAD Map 3D 2011 – Level 1 Training” we cover the basics of Object Data and External Database Links.  We explain the differences between these two methods of linking data to AutoCAD objects, and what types of data are appropriate for each.

At some point, you might wish to do a little more with the Object Data than you can from within AutoCAD Map 3D.  One very quick and easy way to do this is by EXPORTING the data to a Shapfile, and then opening the accompanying DBF file with a database program like Access, or with a spreadsheet program like Excel.  From there, you can use Access or Excel tools to sort and display the object data in various ways, perform counts and math on values, etc.


To get a DBF file of your Object Data table(s), use the Map Export command.  From either of the Geospatial Workspaces, select Output > Map Data Transfer > Map 3D Export.  You can also enter “mapexport” at the command line.

Once you have indicated that you want to export to Shapefiles and where to save them, there are two important steps to take in the Map Export dialog box.  You must select the proper object (geometry) type; point, line or polygon. Then, you must select the objects themselves, either manually, or by layer or filter.  In this example, I have selected Line Object type, since my geometry represents sewer lines, and all of the objects on the layer: “SAN_PIPE_MAIN”.


Next, click on the DATA tab, and then click the Select Attributes button.


In the Select Attributes dialog, click the plus sign next to Object Data, then enable the Object Data tables you wish to include in the Shapefile DBF.  In this example, I have selected three different tables that are associated with the sewer lines.  Map 3D will only export the Object Data associated with the objects you specified on the selection tab.

Once the Export is complete, you can open the DBF file and work with it using any software that can read the DBF format, such as Microsoft Excel.

There are several ways to export data from AutoCAD objects, but if it is Object Data you are after, this method is quick and easy.

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