Viewing and Editing Linked Data

In AuotCAD Map 3D, when an external database is attached to a drawing, the data is not brought into the drawing file as AutoCAD Mapobjects or data. Instead, the database is attached through a Universal Data Link file.

Linking records in an external database to individual drawing objects requires some setup. Much of this setup is a one-time task, after which the arrangement of links between the database and the drawing, and the database records and objects in the drawing, remain persistent in the mapping system. Once this step is complete, the map is ready to use with these links to analyze data and create reports.

Data in the linked database table can be viewed by clicking on an object, and using the Properties palette. This option is a simple method to review the data associated with a single object.

To view and manipulate the data associated with multiple linked objects, you use the Data View table.  The database application that created or maintains the database file is not required to use Data View.

The easiest way to access the Data View table is through the Map Explorer Task Pane.


The Data View table is like a mini-spreadsheet application. You can change the order of columns to better view data of interest without affecting the data source. For example, you may want to view APN values as the first column in the Data View – simply drag the column to the desired position.


To sort columns in a data table to view ascending, or descending values in records; simply right-click any column header, and click one of these options.

Data View provides an easy-to-use interface to build SQL statements to refine and filter the data. Once filters are set in place, you can use the result as a report or for further analysis by selecting the corresponding linked objects in the drawing.


You can set options in Data View for specific behavior when a record is selected. For instance, when a record is selected, you can set the drawing editor to zoom to, highlight, and/or select the corresponding object(s).


You can use a selection set to filter the records that are displayed in the Data View. You can use this functionality to easily create reports or documentation that include only records for a given area. In the following example, seven APN numbers are selected, and the Data Viewdisplays the records for only those APN objects selected.


Attached external databases, and the Data View tool are covered thoroughly in our book A Practical Guide to AutoCAD Map 3D 2012,  and in our books Digging Into AutoCAD Map 3D, available for versions of the software back to 2004.

And don’t forget, these tools are available in Civil 3D, as well.

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