Using OBDC to Map Your Own Data

AU is over and whether you went in person or took the virtual route, everyone may be on a Autodesk overload this week. So I decided to write about a little trick I found out by watching the 2008 AU screencasts back in July.

If you have never heard of ODBC it is not the new fad attention disease. ODBC is a powerful way of creating your own geo-referenced data to be mapped in Map3D. The official definition from Microsoft Developer is here. There are many way to create your own data or get it from online free clearinghouses. What I would like to discuss is how to use it in Map 3D.

Read more after the Jump….

So what I have created here is a small list of store locations with their Lat-Long locations. This is an excel spreadsheet. I could have also used MS Access to create the data.


The first thing I need to do is name the data inside excel. To do this you highlight your data and type in a name in the upper right hand corner. I named mine loc (original huh?). I then save the xls file and exit.


Next you need to go to windows control panel and open Administrative Tools. (I’m using Windows 7, so yours may look different if you are using another Windows version)


When the dialog opens select the Add… button.


For this exercise I used Driver do Microsoft Excel (*.xls) and selected finish.


The ODBC Microsoft Excel Setup Dialog will come up. This is where you are going to name the database connection and give it a path to your source file. In our case the excel file we created with our store location and their Lat-Long coordinates.


Once you hit the Ok button you see that your database link has been added. (Great. So What. We haven’t even opened Map3D yet.) It seems like a lot of steps to get here but really is only a minute once you’ve done it once.


So now open Map3D or Civil3D. Open up the Map3D Task Pane (I usually use MAPWSPACE>On at the command line). Use the Data Connect button on the top left corner of the Task Pane to open the Data Connection dialog. Highlight the Add ODBC Connection.


Select the Ellipse button next to the source line.

Here you will see your Lat-Long Locations ODBC that you created. Highlight and select.


Back to the previous dialog and hit the Connect button.


Since your ODBC was to a local file that you have permissions to there should be no need to log on with a user name or password. Just hit Login.


Now you will see the data names that you had in the excel file. I also had another dataset named alldata. We are going to use the loc dataset. A quick change of the Coordinate System.


We now can pick which of the data we want to be our X and Y data from the corresponding columns in the excel file.


I have the GA counties in the background. You can edit the style of your store locations to used different symbols or be a different size.

There a number of different application I can think of for using this procedure to add your own data to a map. What ways can you think of?


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