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Instructions provided describe how to use Microstation data linked to external tables such as MGE or Geographics in ArcGIS. Intergraph MGE data sets and the similarly formatted Bentley System's Geographics data sets both consist of Microstation design files linked to external database tables. ArcGIS software can read Microstation files and database tables. To recreate the same database table links created in MGE, Geographic or other Microstation applications within ArcGIS, re-establish the table links between the design file elements and the external tables.
Users must have some knowledge of the contents of the Microstation design file to determine which objects in the drawing belong to a given data collection. Often a collection of design file elements can be analogous to an ArcGIS feature class. By isolating the design elements that constitute a single feature class, data groupings can be created that are the same as they were in MGE or Geographics, including the externally linked attributes.
The key to re-establishing the table links to the features is the MsLink- and MsCtlg- values that are stored on Microstation elements within the design file. In the Microstation design file a single element may be linked to multiple external database tables. Each table can be joined by repeating the process below.
In order to know which external database table a Microstation elements is linked to, the locations of the external tables must be identified and a database connection must be established to that database. Included in the database is a special 'catalog' table. The 'catalog' table contains a list of the names of the feature attribute tables linked to the Microstation elements.
The MsLink- and MSCtag- values are written as pairs on a database-linked Microstation element. The MSCtlg- value is an integer that specifies the record number within the special 'catalog' table. To know which table any given design element may be linked to, the catalog table must be referenced to locate the table that the MSCtlg- value is pointing to.
When the desired table is known a simple table JOIN or RELATE can be created in ArcGIS to re-establish the database links.
Using an expression based on a specific MsCtlg- value ensures that only objects joined to a specific table are included in the feature class.