Tutorials > 

A standard AutoCAD object, such as a line or arc, that can have properties such as color, linetype, or lineweight.

adjacent arrows

Polygonal objects in a map book template that display the map tiles immediately contiguous to the current one.

attribute data

Tabular data that describes the characteristics of a feature, for example, the number of lanes and pavement-type belonging to a road feature. See also external data, object data, property.

AutoCAD layer

A logical grouping of data. Layers are like transparent acetate overlays on a drawing. An AutoCAD layer differs from a map layer in Display Manager. A Display Manager layer references a feature source or a drawing source, contains styling and theming information, and optionally has a collection of scale ranges. See also layer, drawing layer, feature layer, or surface layer.

Autodesk Design Review

A free software utility that allows anyone to view, print, measure, mark up, and revise 2D and 3D designs created by Autodesk design software. You do not need the original design-creation software to use this tool.


A zone of a specific radius created around a selected feature. Used to select features within a specific distance of another feature. In AutoCAD Map 3D, you can define buffers for drawing topologies and for features, but you define them differently.


Short for Coordinate Geometry. COGO inquiry commands extract geometric information from drawing objects such as lines, curves, closed polylines, and polygons. Use COGO input commands to enter accurate geometry when creating objects. For example, you can create parcel boundaries from legal documents or survey data.

Enter COGO commands from a dialog box or “transparently.” Use transparent COGO commands by entering an apostrophe ( ' ) before the command name.


Restricted to particular values. A feature class property that is constrained is validated when a new feature is added to that class. For example, a "minor road" feature class may be constrained to be 25, 30, or 40 miles per hour.

contour lines

A line that connects points of the same elevation or value relative to a specified reference datum. The lines can help you determine the elevation at a specific location on a surface. They help clarify and analyze the 3D surface terrain, and help with tasks such as navigation.

coordinate system
Create Method

A setting on the Class Settings tab of the Define Object Classification dialog box. It determines the method used to create new objects from this class (when you right-click the object class and choose Create Classified Object).

Data Connect

AutoCAD Map 3D window where you can access a data store and add specific data to your map. Display the Data Connect window by clicking Data in Map Explorer or Display Manager (in the Task Pane).

data provider

Used by Data Connect to connect to geospatial data stores.

data store

A collection of feature classes contained in a single data storage location. The data store contains feature classes defined within one or more schemas. Data stores can be files, such as an SDF file, or databases, such as an Oracle Spatial database.

Data Table

In AutoCAD Map 3D, the feature-based grid where you can view and edit attributes of selected spatial features, perform searches, and work with selection sets.


Digital Elevation Model. A file that contains a representation of surface terrain. The surface is stored as a grid. Each grid cell can have any one of several different meanings, such as elevation, color, density, and so on.


To convert existing data from paper maps, aerial photos, or raster images into digital form by tracing the maps on a digitizer. Object locations are recorded as X,Y coordinates.

Display Manager

A tab in the Task Pane that handles the styling and theming of features in your map.

display map

All the settings for a specific map, such as the data to include, the appearance of each layer, and the legend definition. A display map can include objects from attached drawings, raster images, and features stored in data stores. For example, it can include data from Oracle databases, SDF or SHP files, and ArcSDE. One map can include multiple display maps.


The process of displaying a set of features or a raster image on a surface so that the features or the image reflect the underlying terrain.

Draw Query

A query that retrieves objects (copies them into the current drawing). You can manipulate and edit the objects. You can save them back to their attached drawings, save them to the current drawing, or save them to a new drawing.

drawing layer

A layer in Display Manager that contains drawing objects from a DWG file. See also AutoCAD layer, feature layer, layer, or surface layer.

drawing set

The set of source drawings attached to a map.

drawing source

In AutoCAD Map 3D, a drawing (DWG) file and also its associated information, such as attached drawing files, drawing-based feature classes, linked template data, and topologies. Compare with feature source.

drive alias

In AutoCAD Map 3D, the mechanism that points to the folder where attached DWG files are stored.


Design Web Format. An Autodesk file format for sharing two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and spatially enabled design data on the Web.

external data

The attribute data linked to a map object but contained in a database or file outside the map file. See also object data, property.


Feature Data Objects data access technology. An Autodesk software standard and general purpose API for accessing features and geospatial data regardless of the underlying data store. See also feature class.


An abstraction of a natural or man-made real world object. A spatial feature has one or more geometric properties. For example, you can represent a road feature with a line, and a hydrant with a point. A non-spatial feature does not have geometry, but can be related to a spatial feature that does. For example, a road feature can contain a sidewalk feature that is defined as not containing any geometry. See also attribute data, FDO.

feature class

A schema element that describes a type of real-world object. It includes a class name and property definitions. Commonly used to refer to a set of features of a particular class, for example, the feature class "roads" or the feature class "hydrants." See also FDO, schema.

feature layer

A layer in Display Manager containing features from a single feature class in a spatial data source. Feature layers are added to your map using Data Connect. See also AutoCAD layer, drawing layer, layer, or surface layer.

feature source

Any source of feature data that has been connected to a map. Compare with drawing source.


A specific category of information in a data file, such as Address or Diameter.

geometry (Oracle Spatial database)

The representation of a spatial feature.

GIS (Geographic Information System)

A computerized decision support system that integrates geographic data, attribute data, and other spatially referenced data. A GIS is used to capture, store, retrieve, analyze, and display spatial data.

global coordinate system

A method that converts the coordinates representing latitude and longitude into an AutoCAD Map 3D map Cartesian coordinate system. This method accounts for the curvature of the surface of the earth with a projection. A coordinate system can use a projection, an ellipsoid definition, a datum definition, standard parallels, and a central meridian to define it.


A detailed, large-scale portion of a map, often placed on the same sheet as a smaller-scale map of the larger area.


A relationship that is established between attribute data and feature sources to create a view of the combined data for ad-hoc analysis.

key view

A thumbnail view of an entire map. You can create a simplified view of the mapped area to use as the key view.


Text placed on or near a map feature that describes or identifies it.


A resource that references a feature class or a drawing source that you add using Display Manager. The layer contains styling and theming information, and optionally a collection of scale ranges. See also AutoCAD layer, drawing layer, feature layer, or surface layer.


A table that lists the styles in your map and specifies which layers or map scales they represent.


To make all or part of a disk file read only so that other users on a network cannot modify it. Object locking applies to objects that another user is editing. File locking applies to entire files, for example when an AutoCAD user wants to open a file while the file is being edited in AutoCAD Map 3D.

logical operator

A symbol such as And, Or, Not, =, >, >=, <, and <= used to define logical relationships.


A collection of layers displayed within a consistent coordinate system and extents. See also layer.

map book

A collection of map tiles that you publish as separate pages. You can specify the layout and properties for your map book on the Map Book tab of the Task Pane.

Map Explorer

The Task Pane tab where you manage your mapping resources.

map query

A set of conditions that specify the selection of drawing objects from source drawings. These conditions can be based on the location or properties of an object or on data stored in the drawing or in a linked database table.


Data about data. In the GIS context, metadata consists of information that describes the essential characteristics of geospatial data sets.


A polygon object. A polygon differs from a closed polyline in that it stores information about its inner and outer boundaries.

north arrow

A visual indicator of the northern direction in a map. Sample north arrows and scale bars (both metric and imperial) are available as dynamic blocks for you to insert into your maps.

object class

All the drawing objects that have been created using a specific object class definition. Use object classification to organize objects in your drawing based on the real-world features they represent, such as roads. Object classes allow you to create new objects that automatically have the appropriate properties and values for objects in your drawing.

object class definition

How to create a classified drawing object in a drawing. An object class definition can include information about the object type, default properties of the object, or default data to attach to the object.

object data

The attribute data attached to a drawing object and stored in the drawing file. Compare with external data.

Object Type (drawing classification)

A setting on the Applies To tab of the Define Object Classification dialog box that determines which existing objects you can add to this object class. If the object was not created with the selected method, you cannot add it.

overlay analysis

Provides spatial and data analysis capabilities for two sets of geospatial features. Use an Overlay operation to compare two layers that overlap in space.


A closed area that stores information about its inner and outer boundaries, and about other polygons nested in it or grouped with it. In a polygon topology, any lines or arcs in the drawing can enclose the polygon. In addition, AutoCAD Map 3D supports a polygon object, sometimes called an Mpolygon or mapping polygon.

Preview Query

A query that displays the objects on screen, but does not retrieve them. When you change the screen, the objects disappear.


A single attribute of a feature class. A feature class has one or more property definitions. For example, you can have a Road feature class with properties called Name, NumberLanes, or Location. See also attribute data, feature.


To generate output from a map.


A set of criteria for specifying the selection of objects or records. For example, a layer-based query can display only the objects on the layers that contain state and district boundaries.


Images containing individual dots (called pixels or cells) with color values, arranged in a rectangular, evenly spaced array. Aerial photographs and satellite images are examples of raster images used in mapping. Compare with vector.


In a raster image, the density of pixels-per-inch (PPI) or dots-per-inch (DPI).

save set

Objects that were created or modified in the current drawing and are marked to be saved back to source drawings.


The ratio of the distance on a paper map to the distance on the ground. A scale of 1:100,000 (also represented as 1/100000), means that a distance of one unit on the map corresponds to 100,000 units on the ground. On a digital map, scale represents the scale of the map from which the digital map was derived.

scale threshold

Levels at which a map display changes. You can define different styles at different scale thresholds. For example, turn on the display of road names only when the drawing scale factor is below 1:5000.


The metadata that provides a logical description of multiple feature classes and the relationships between them.


Spatial Data File. The current version of the SDF format that is the native format for the Autodesk MapGuide technology (Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise 2007 and MapGuide Open Source). Each SDF file can contain multiple feature classes or types of data stored in tables with attributes and geometry.


A previous version of the SDF file format that was the native file format for Autodesk MapGuide (the last release was Autodesk MapGuide 6.5). Each SDF 2 file generally contained one feature or type of data, for example points, lines, polygons, or text.


An individual named object in a sheet set that can be published. A sheet references a layout.

sheet set

A named collection of sheets and sheet subsets for publishing.

sheet subset

A named collection of sheets within a sheet set. An individual sheet can be a member of only a single subset.

sheet template

A drawing file that defines a title block and a layout for use in sheets. A sheet template can be specified for sheet sets and sheet subsets.

source drawing

A drawing file attached to another drawing. The set of all source drawings attached to a drawing is called the drawing set. Use a query to retrieve selected objects from multiple source drawings.


A generic term used to reference the mathematical concept of n-dimensional data.

spatial data

Information about the location and shape of geographic features, and the relationships between those features.

spatial database

A database containing information indexed by location.


Settings that specify how to display the objects in a Display Manager layer. For example, you can style color, linetype, linewidth, and scale.


An AutoCAD Map 3D user who can perform user administration tasks, set system options, and perform any other AutoCAD Map 3D operation.

surface layer

A layer in Display Manager containing features from a raster image that contains elevation information. Surface layers are added to your map using Data Connect. See also See also AutoCAD layer, drawing layer, feature layer.


A tab on the Task Pane that allows you to bring in LandXML or ASCII point data, manage the resulting point layer, and Bulk Copy the data to another data store.


A set of data arranged in records (rows) and fields (columns). When a table is displayed in a grid, records are displayed in horizontal rows and fields are displayed in vertical columns. Each field value in the table is displayed in a cell.

Task Pane

AutoCAD Map 3D window that displays information about the current drawing. The Task Pane contains four tabs: Map Explorer, Display Manager, Map Book, and Survey. You can resize the Task Pane and place it where you want.


A paper space layout you can use as the basis for a new layout. The paper space objects and page setup in a template are used for any new layout you create with that template. You can keep, delete, or modify any of the objects from a template you use. No model space objects are included. Layout templates are identified with a .dwt file extension.


A style that varies the appearance of an element in a layer based on the value of a specific property. For example, instead of coloring lakes blue, you could vary the shade of blue based on the depth of the lake. Instead of choosing one line width for all roads, you could vary the line width based on number of lanes.


Map books divide a single map into a set of tiles and display each tile on a separate map book page.

title block

A defined DWG block that can include title information, such as your company or group name and the name of the map. Many organizations have standard title blocks to insert in this element. You can define certain attributes of the title block from within your template. When you generate the map book, you can choose a drawing for the title block. That drawing replaces the original title block contents defined in the template layout.

unclassified objects

Objects that have not been assigned to any object class.

user privileges

The AutoCAD Map 3D operations available to each user.


A mathematical calculation of an object with precise direction and length. Vector data is stored as X,Y coordinates that form points, lines, and areas. Compare with raster.

viewport (paper space)

A view of model space from a layout.


An automated set of tasks that can be arranged to run in series or parallel. The output of one task can be used as the input of another task. The user can configure the sequence and parameters for execution graphically.

workflow activity

A single step in a workflow that executes a command or set of commands.

workflow binding

A relationship between activities such that the output of one activity is used as the input of another.


Contains the commands and tools for specific tasks. The Tool-Based Ribbon workspace is tailored to those already familiar with the AutoCAD ribbon, while the Task-Based Ribbon is optimized for mapping tasks.

Click the current workspace name in the status barto change the workspace.


To change the display magnification. Magnification focuses on progressively smaller areas of an image (when you zoom in) and larger areas (when you zoom out).

zoom extents

To magnify a drawing based on its extents so that the view shows the largest possible view of all spatial objects.