AutoCAD and Survey Data

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By JohnBarnes

There are many ways to enter data into AutoCAD. Automated scripts can be written in your preferred language, or in LISP. You can also use Autodesk’s extensions or packages, such as Autodesk Map 3D and Civil 3D. You can also import an XML file or excel file into AutoCAD’s table database module.

It’s not surprising that AutoCAD requires data from third parties or external sources to be entered into it. These challenges have been addressed by Autodesk, so it is not surprising. We’ll use real-life examples to show you how to enter data. This is a different approach to the tutorial style. We will use CAD to enter survey data and data, which is what engineers and architects do every day.

First things first

Understanding AutoCAD’s nature, and how it refers to its components, is crucial to understanding the tutorial. We humans are able to visually see straight lines and curves. However, AutoCAD and all other computer systems will use points and coordinates. These coordinates will be extended with processing functions and procedures. This information is necessary to display these elements on the canvas. Each sub-topic will explain how this affects data entry. However, a good rule of thumb is to refer back to your revit training whenever you do this.

Line Segments

Each line segment will be composed of a coordinate plan. This is the degree of incline and distance from the origin for humans. If you wish to draw horizontal lines, the bend will be 90@ (anti-clockwise) from the point where it intersects with the ground. It will continue for the distance specified. You can write the length and incline of the line segment using the following syntax:

“@” + length + ” + Northing/Easting coordinates

The following example illustrates the expression:


Use the LINE command to enter this information and draw a segment of line that follows it. Commands automate the process of manually committing and allow you to calibrate your elements according to a specific criteria. Entering the coordinates described above will result in the LINE command.


Curves are curved (no pun intended) so you must remember the orientation of the curve. This is not necessary for line segments. You can rotate the line from its source, or another defined origin, if needed. These guidelines will help you build curves.

Non-tangent Curves

You can either use a radial bearing method to start your drawings with curved elements or if your curved element does not extend from the previous drawn element.

You can use the Line command to draw a line. Then, you can use the ends to create an arch. You will create a curve by drawing a line. After you have drawn the line, invoke the ARC command. The line’s starting point will be your point of departure for the curve. The ending point, or any other point you choose, will serve as the curve’s end point. After this, you’ll be asked to enter your radius. After entering the radius, an arc will be drawn from a straight line that you have defined.

Tangent Curves

Depending on the definition of your tangent curve, they can be more difficult or simpler to use. An originating point is an additional benefit of tangent curves. This means that you can draw the curve starting from the last element, which makes the process much easier. However, the process of creating a tangent curve requires a few extra steps. After drawing the element to which the curve must be extended, draw a segment of line starting from the tangent’s source. This line must be parallel to the element you have just drawn.


Survey data entry is about creating lines. This article demonstrates how to do this with the LINE / ARC command. These commands are the foundation of any extended functionality. You can use large amounts of data such as an Excel sheet or XML/JSON database by using an import parameter or one the available parsers.