Carlson GIS

With tools for data capture and linking, data labeling, import/export of SHP files, polygon topology creation and analysis, and more, Carlson GIS is an awesome GIS “Swiss Army Knife” for the surveyor or engineer. See the Carlson GIS Improvement List tab below and be sure to check out our GIS Primer.

The Carlson line of software works on AutoCAD® and comes with IntelliCAD built in. Carlson GIS includes the ability to utilize higher resolution Google Earth images even over large areas with the use of auto-tiling. And, more map types are available besides aerial for roads, terrain, or hybrid. The GIS editor also supports the import and export of the Esri® geodatabase and provides a smoother workflow with Esri ArcGIS® services.

Also included are hundreds of enhancements to basic AutoCAD commands. Part of the Carlson Civil Suite, Carlson GIS runs atop of regular AutoCAD, AutoCAD Map, Land Desktop or Civil 3D, as well as legacy versions, plus on IntelliCAD.

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System Requirements


Import GIS Data From SurvCE
  • New command to create GIS data links in the drawing from attribute data collected by SurvCE
Export GIS Data To SurvCE
  • New command to create SurvCE files for feature code library, GIS feature definitions and GIS attribute data from selected drawing entities with GIS data, Field-to-Finish and GIS definitions
Esri MSC
  • Added option to create Esri feature coding in DWG for sewer networks, lot files, mining timing and surface mine reserves
Export DWG File with Esri MSC
  • Creates DWG with Esri coding for selected features
Define GIS Features
  • Redesigned version of Define Template Database
  • Added geometry setting per feature including polyline or point type, layer, color, block and linetype
  • Added attribute settings for whether attribute is editable in the field and whether to restrict input to list values
  • Added new report functions for feature attributes and geometry
GIS Query
  • Added method to create selection set of entities that match query
Attach Image To Entity
  • Added support for multiple images per entity
Properties Converter
  • Added filter for linetypes

Built from the Carlson product line, first introduced in 1994, Carlson GIS  delivers a new level of powerful GIS automation, including the following features:

Standard Features
  • GIS Database Settings
  • Input-Edit GIS Data
  • GIS Inspector
  • GIS Inspector Settings
  • GIS Query/Report
  • Hatch GIS Polylines
  • Mark GIS Polylines
  • Label GIS Polyline: Closed Polyline Image
  • Label GIS Polyline: Closed Polyline Data
  • Label GIS Polyline: Open Polyline Data
  • Links Manager
  • Create Links
  • Erase Links


  • Built on AutoCAD

    Runs in AutoCAD legacy versions as well as AutoCAD Map, Land Desktop and Civil3D and on IntelliCAD

  • Project Setup

    Flexible data storage methods

  • Drawing Cleanup

    Fix common drafting errors

  • Drafting Enhancements

    Handy tools for working in AutoCAD such as Join Nearest, Shrinkwrap Entities, Polyline Utilities, Drawing Inspector, Layer Inspector and Twist Screen

  • Data Compatibility

    Supports industry standard LandXML and scores of specific data conversions


  • Runs with AutoCAD Map 3D

    All Map tools are available when running with AutoCAD Map plus additional commands to use Map data such as Label Object Data Areas

  • Data Capture

    Extracts drawing text or block attributes into database

  • Attach GIS Data to Entities

    Input, edit, label, inspect and report with simple tools, including querying for parcels or entities that meet conditions

  • Polygon Processor

    Overlays layered polyline perimeters to create all the subareas

  • Import/Export Esri

    Conversions between Esri Shape data and coordinates and polylines


  • Import/Export

    User-defined import and export of point data along with conversions with specific other formats

  • Draw Points

    Draw points with settings for symbols, layers and styles

  • Point Groups

    Point group manager to define sets of point by filters

  • Coordinate File History

    Tracks all changes to points with report and undo functions

  • Fix Point Label Overlaps

    Finds point label overlaps with rule options to fix automatically

  • Point Tools

    Utilities for modify point labels such as move with leader, twist and resize

Companion Programs

  • Carlson SurvCE

    Data collection for Windows CE and Pocket PC

  • Carlson Field

    Take Carlson and AutoCAD to the field for data collection and stakeout with total stations and GPS

  • Carlson Takeoff

    Construction Estimating for earthworks, subgrades, material quantities, strata quantities and trench networks

  • Carlson Point Clouds

    Process laser scan data to generate models, breaklines and points

  • Carlson Natural Regrade

    Design stable land surfaces that follow natural hydrologic and geomorphology principles

  • Carlson Geology

    Models drillholes and strata structures and attributes

Carlson GIS includes commands for processing data attached to drawing entities and commands for drawing cleanup and conversion. Carlson GIS supports three methods for attaching additional data to entities: AutoCAD Map, Carlson GIS links and Carlson note files. Links can be converted between these formats. For example, using the command “Convert GIS Links to AcadMap”, you can convert Carlson-style GIS links to classic AutoCAD-style GIS links.

Be aware, however, that the features in the MapPlus menu require Microsoft® Access 95 or Microsoft® Access 97 formats for the “mdb” file. If your Carlson-linked data (developed using the GIS pulldown commands) is in Microsoft® Access 2000 format or later, this conversion from Carlson to AutoCAD links will work, but the linked data will only be viewable using the Map pulldown rather than the MapPlus pulldown options such as View/Edit Data. All entities linked to data can also be converted to ESRI SHP files.

The AutoCAD Map links require one of the following AutoCAD Map versions: R2, R3, R4, R4.5, or R5. The commands for this method are in the Map and MapPlus menu and are available only if you are running AutoCAD Map. The AutoCAD Map drivers support multiple database formats including Microsoft®, Oracle and dBase. When using Map links, you have both the standard AutoCAD commands to work with in addition to the GIS 2009 MapPlus commands. The drawback to Map links is that they require more steps to setup and use.

The Carlson GIS links use Microsoft® Access MDB database files to attach data to drawing entities. You do not have to have Microsoft® Access installed on your computer to use this method. The commands for the Carlson GIS links are in the GIS pull-down menu. These links are quicker and easier to setup and use compared to the Map links. Also the Carlson links can be used with Carlson Field which is Carlson Software’s AutoCAD based data collection for total stations and GPS. The Carlson GIS links associate drawing entities to database records by attaching extended entity data (EED) to the entities. These links are self-contained and do not need Link Path Names and database environment setup like Map links require. The link EED contains the template file name (.MDB), the database file name (.MDB), the table name and the record ID. The database file and table names define where the data record is stored and these names are specified by the user when the link is created. The record ID is a unique key number to identify the record in the table. This number is automatically generated.

The Carlson product line introduces enhanced offerings from Carlson Software, addressing the GIS needs of the engineer and designer. It is an outgrowth of a well-established product line dating back to 1983. Since 2000, Carlson Software has emphasized development of a new set of advanced GIS tools.

Carlson GIS is designed for GIS technicians and engineers by civil engineers, based on 25 years of experience in the software industry serving this market. Carlson GIS 2012 takes the lessons of these years in land development feature development, adds in the comprehensive experience in the overlapping markets of survey, construction and mining, and distills the highest level of robust automation and ease-of-use of GIS processing solution available today.

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