Importing data into AutoCAD

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Part of putting your drone to work is having the right data for analysis. DroneDeploy allows you to export your data quickly from cloud to your desktop for integration with third-party software.

This guide covers how to import into AutoCAD the GeoTIFF, contours DXF and point cloud LAS files exported from DroneDeploy. Additionally, we will cover how to overlay the DXF file on top of the GeoTIFF resulting in a bold, data-rich display to share with your stakeholders.

Export Data from DroneDeploy

Select the map you wish to export from the DroneDeploy dashboard and follow the steps described in our Exporting Your Data guide for a full walkthrough of the export process.

For this guide, we have downloaded the elevation GeoTIFF, the contours DXF file, and the point cloud LAS.

Data Export Formats
Please visit our Data Export Formats support documentation to check the file formats that are available to export on your DroneDeploy subscription.

Importing data into AutoCAD

Once you have your data saved to your computer and extracted the data from the zipped files, proceed to open AutoCAD.

Open the DXF Contour File:

To select and open the DXF file you can click on the Open icon at the top and choose the DXF as “Files of Type”, or go to the File menu and select the Open > Drawing option:

To open the DXF file, make sure to select the DXF (*.dxf) option in the Files of type box.

To zoom to the DXF opened, make sure that you have enabled the navigation toolbar. To do so, please go to the View tab, turn the Navigate Bar option ON and click on the icon Zoom Extents:

Zoom Extend option

View Elevation Information:

To view the elevation information associated with every line of your contour DXF file, you need to open the Properties window. To do so you can type PROPERTIES in the command line or go to the View tab and click on the Properties option.

Once the Properties window, is active, select one of the contour lines and read the Elevation information.

Viewing the elevation information associated to the DXF file.

Units within AutoCAD
You can define the units of the drawing space first to match it up with the units of your DroneDeploy file. In this case, we're using the Web Mercator Projection so the elevation must be given in Meters. To change the units of the drawing space we need to go to the User Preferences option and select the User Preferences tab. You can also type *UNITS* in the command line and select the units.

Import the TIFF File:

Now that the DXF file has been opened, we can continue importing the GeoTIFF file. To do so, go to the Insert tab, and select the Attach option within the Reference Panel section:

Select Attach from the Insert tab to import the GeoTIFF file.

Coordinate system note:
The raster within AutoCAD does not take into account any coordinate system. This has to be scaled and adjusted manually to line up with the DXF file.

Once the TIFF file has been imported to the location of your preference, we can adjust the files settings to correctly display the DXF file on top of the TIFF file:

  • Select the TIFF image. The Image tab will be activated.
  • Click on the Background Transparency to change the background of the images.
  • Once the TIFF is selected, right-click somewhere on the images > hover over the Draw Order and select Send to Back.

This is how your overlaid map should look like in AutoCAD:

If you would like to save this drawing as a DWG file format you can go to File > Save As > Drawing.

View the Point Cloud file:

AutoCAD is compatible with RCP (.rcp) or RCS (.rcs) point cloud formats. To learn how to convert the LAS file exported from DroneDeploy to RCP using Autodesk Recap, please visit our guide Importing Point Cloud into Recap.

Once you have the RCP file, within AutoCAD go to the Insert tab and click the Attach button located in the Point Cloud section:

Import RCP Point Cloud into AutoCAD

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