Testing Bentley Map: ESRI Interoperability

Previously We saw how to do with Microstation Geographics V8, and the alternative of importing .shp files.

Let's see how the world changed in the case of version 8.9 known as Bentley Map XM. The way to handle it is very robust, in the sense that Microstation can now read, edit, call a reference ... not only a shape but also an mxd and more.

1. Open a .shp file

image This is done simply with "file / open" and choosing the shp format. This opens read-only, but as if it were a dwg or dgn. 

Bentley did very well this alternative to open files directly, because in addition to the .dgn, .dxf and .dwg that he was already doing, you can open cells (.cel), libraries (.dgnlib), redline (.rdl), 3D Studio files (.3ds), SketchUP (.skp), Mapinfo (.mif and .tab native format) among others.

Once the shape is opened, the objects can be touched as if it were a common map.

Bentley map shp

When viewing the properties table, you can read the associated .dbf database ... wow!

imageAlso when using the "review attributes" command, the xfm features table is displayed, equivalent to the dbf data.

 Bentley map shp

2. Call Referenceimage

Making reference file / map manager can be called in different ways:

  • As picture:

Here you can call ESRI files, such as .mxd, .lyr and .shp. The advantage of calling it from here is that it supports the theming associated with the mxd while the simple shp leaves with a flat color. Also by being called as an image, the transparency control can be easily managed.

  • image As Attributes:

This is a special panel, in which you can choose feature classes separately to display them in different views, or in stored fences.

  •  imageAs a reference map:

Called as a reference, you can control the snap option, although an interesting aspect is that as a reference it also supports Mapinfo files (.tab and .mif).

So once you bring them in, through the panel of map manager can be turned off or on features, groups of features, layers or feature classes.


3. Save an .shp file

imageThe file can be saved in different formats, dgn, dwg, dxf, dgnlib (dgn library) or rdl (redline dgn).

The data is stored in xml format, inside the dgn; that is, the dgn contains the data ... the marvel of the implementation known as xfm features.


4. Importing via Interoperability:

image The option called interoperability is an alternative that allows you to connect to data served via datasource: ODBC, OLEDB and Oracle as an ArcSDE or ArcServer service.

One of the advantages of doing this is that you can choose a feature class separately, assigning the type of attribute to be imported such as line type, fill, transparency, etc. also if you have a project, the target attributes are chosen.

This is done via "file / imoprt / gis data"

In the same way you can export a service ... which is understood should see an ESRI user ... that I have not tried but one of these days I will have time.


Not bad, considering that you have the ability to edit CAD and interoperability with ESRI formats.


Golgi Alvarez

Writer, researcher, specialist in Land Management Models. He has participated in the conceptualization and implementation of models such as: National Property Administration System SINAP in Honduras, Management Model of Joint Municipalities in Honduras, Integrated Cadastre-Registry Management Model in Nicaragua, Territory Administration System SAT in Colombia . Editor of the Geofumadas knowledge blog since 2007 and creator of the AulaGEO Academy that includes more than 100 courses on GIS - CAD - BIM - Digital Twins topics.

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  1. Geographics tine the export option to shape file, if so, the three files would be created, a shp containing the geometry, a shx containing the spatial index and a .dbf containing the tabular data between them the mslink.

  2. I have Geographic 2004 and I have developed a project with cadastral maps which I have linked to a database with access, the question is: there is a way to send a linetring element or elements associated with two mslink (a common linestring to two plots) ) to ArcGis or postGis in which you can visualize that linestring with its two mslink with just clicking on the element. I need immediate answers

  3. Yes, I think there are not many good practices documented. I think that if you acquire it directly with Bentley Systems, they should provide you with links to projects or reference institutions in your area that can be of help.

  4. I'm going to buy the Bentley Map software, but I do not have a lot of literature about how to work, to start a job

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