Make an Annotation Template for Labeling Map Object Data

imageNow that you have seen how to bring Map data into your drawing using Map>Tools>Import (see this post for detailed instructions), you might ask “How can I made a label that ‘reads’ the object data fields?”. Special text that reads the object data (and many other properties if you’d like) is called an “annotation”. It is similar to a Civil 3D label because it is semi-dynamic and reads some information from the object itself, but it is really just a beefed up attributed block.

In this example, we will label a road with its name. This particular batch of GIS data has a field called “STREET”. Yours might be called something different. Be sure to read the metadata or talk to the person who created the dataset if you are unsure which one to use.

Read how to do this after the jump.


Once you have your GIS data imported, go to Annotation>Define Annotation Template

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Create a New Annotation template. Give it a name, press OK until you get to the Block Editor interface.

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The Block Editor interface opens. The only thing that makes this interface different from a normal block editor is this TINY toolbar.

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Press the Edit Annotation Text button.

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Press Enter in the command line to bring up…

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…the annotative text dialog. This looks like the attributed block dialog. Name your TAG, then use the expression button to build the intelligence of your label.

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In the expression chooser, note that you can choose regular AutoCAD properties as part of your label as well- such as layer, color, length, X,Y,Z, etc.

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Expand under object data and choose the correct table.

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The scroll down to find the field you’d like to use in the label.

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Change things like text style, height, etc. Note that you can do advanced techniques like using expressions to determine height, rotation, justification and more.

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The command line will ask you where to place this annotation. Remember, in the block editor 0,0 is the block insertion point.

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You can build additional information in here, like mtext, dtext, lines, wipeouts, etc. if you’d like. Press the save button when you are done. Note that the block editor shows your tag here.

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Click OK as many times as necessary to approve your annotation template, then choose Map>Annotation>Insert Annotation.

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It wil bring up the templates you have made… Click Insert and choose your objects.

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The labels come in! Note that you can further mess around with the annotation template to achieve your desired orientation, text height, style and more. Look under Help and in the Map tutorials for information on how to update annotation text if the object data changes and some other ideas on taking this to the next level.

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So that is one way to use your annotation template. In my next post I will show you how to apply annotation as part of a theme- which is how I did it in my AU Class.

5 comments

  1. Great post, I wish we could use the dynamic block features with annotation.

  2. Thanks for the detailed steps and pictures! I’ve struggled with this in the past. Recently I resorted to the FDO connection labeling instead, which happens to work very nicely.

  3. […] Make an Annotation Template for Labeling Map Object Data […]

  4. Dale Miller says:

    Todd, Dana
    Have you found an easy way to convert FDO connection labels to AutoCAD text? We have an SDE server to maintain all of our GIS data and I am able to FDO link and convert the actual geometry to AutoCAD polylines but haven’t figured out how to convert the labels. There seems to be a disconnect between the map object data tools and the FDO data links.
    I was able to Export Layer Data to SDF and then re-import into map and use Dana’s method above to create AutoCAD based labels… but that is kinda clunky… and way too many steps.

  5. John Benstead says:

    Hi Dale
    With respect to converting FDO connection labels to text, you could save the AutoCAD Map drawing to AutoCAD, this will result in your labels being converted to AutoCAD text.
    The command is available from the file pull-down menu (in the Geospatial Workspace), select Export > Current Map to AutoCAD DWG

    Cheers
    John