Importing Orthophotos into Civil 3D

Open Civil 3D 2020 Imperial (or the version installed on your machine). Civil 3D will automatically open a template drawing titled “Drawing 1” or a template drawing set up by your CAD manager. Click the Model tab near the screen's bottom-left corner to switch to model space. 

Note: For importing an orthophoto downloaded from the Propeller Platform, we will keep the insertion units at the default of Unitless

To check the insertion units, type the command “units,” and press enter or the spacebar. Commands can be entered in the command line at the bottom center of the screen or simply by typing with the crosshairs anywhere in model space. 

The Drawing Units dialog box will appear. Verify that the Insertion scale is set to Unitless.


Type the command “mapcsassign” and press enter. 

The Coordinate System - Assign dialog box will appear.

Enter the EPSG code of your desired coordinate system, as shown near the bottom-right of the Propeller Platform. The coordinate system will appear below the search box. Select it and click Assign.

Save the drawing to your desired location.

Type the command “mapiinsert” and press enter.

The Insert Image dialog box should appear. In the file type dropdown menu at the bottom, you can keep it as All Images or select Tagged Image Format to show only .TIF and .TIFF files.

Navigate to the .TIFF image you want to import into Civil 3D. This image should already have the coordinate system assigned and should match the coordinate system assigned to your Civil 3D drawing. 

Uncheck the Modify Correlation box. (Since the ortho image is already georeferenced, transformations or modifications to the insertion of the image are not necessary). 

Note: If downloading the JPEG orthophoto, a .WLD and .JGW file will be included. These will need to remain in the same folder as the JPEG so Civil 3D can correctly insert the orthophoto. Check the Modify Correlation box from the Insert Image dialog box so Civil 3D is able to read the .WLD file. 

Verify that the Correlation Source is World File. Click OK. 

Note: If the file name combined with the file directory name exceeds 128-characters (including spaces), Civil 3D will not read the World File.

Type the command “ze” (Zoom Extents) to zoom to the extents of the image.

The insertion coordinates can be viewed by selecting the orthophoto, opening the Properties pane, or by selecting the orthophoto and typing the command “MO.”

Save your drawing.

Note: Common practice is to assign the orthophoto to a designated layer and not keep it on layer 0.

I still can't do it!

We wrote these articles to arm you with everything you need to get the job done on your own, but we understand that sometimes this isn't sufficient.

If you're stuck, the Propeller data success team may be able to help. You can contact our support team by clicking the support tab on the top-right pane of your user portal.

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