You may have seen me mention FDO in some previous posts and wondered what I was talking about and why you should care. FDO stands for Feature Data Object, and is Data Access Technology that allows easy access to many types of Geospatial information, including images, files, and databases. The FDO tools that are packaged with Map 3D and Civil 3D can be found in the Task Pane (MAPWSPACE if you don’t see it).
Pick one that fits data you have (there are SHP, SHP, and Raster samples in the Sample folder), and try it out.
Why, you ask? FDO keeps the data outside the drawing. That means three important things:
- your drawing size stays small (sort of like an XREF)
- if you are working with data that changes frequently, such as assessors data, every time you open the drawing, you’ll be working with the most up to date information
- if you are working with other users who use different software but compatible files, you can all see the same data at the same time
There are also many additional advantages to working with spatial databases for data storage, like versioning, multiple simultaneous users/editors, and access control, but that’s for another post.