How to Migrate Visio ArcGIS Models to Enterprise Architect

Webinar November 2015
In this webinar you will learn how to:
  • Import existing Visio geodatabase designs into Enterprise Architect
  • Apply Enterprise Architect's UML profile for ArcGIS
  • Leverage state-of-the-art tools to maintain geodatabase models

Do you have existing ArcGIS geodatabase designs in Visio?
Would you like to ensure these designs can be maintained and updated for years to come?
Are you simply looking for a better way to design ArcGIS geodatabases?

With Esri's support for CASE Tools and Visio wrapping up, we'll walk you through the process of migrating your Visio designs to Enterprise Architect - the award-winning modeling platform that Esri now recommends for geodatabase design.

Ben Constable
Ben Constable

Questions from the Audience

Click on a question to see the answer.


 What are the advantages of using Enterprise Architect to do geodatabase design instead of Visio?

Some advantages include:

  • Less manual typing of model data: For example, tagged value names are predefined for particular stereotypes and you can choose from preset values in many cases; cross-references to elements are maintained dynamically rather than using manually keyed element names; and you drag and drop shape stereotypes, rather than manually keying shape types.
  • Better traceability: You can link parts of your geodatabase design to upstream and downstream models and artifacts. For example you could show how the geodatabase design satisfies specific business requirements, and even include traceability links to the implemented geodatabase schema file.
  • Support: Sparx Systems is actively developing and enhancing its modeling support for ArcGIS, whereas support for Visio CASE Tools will be retired imminently.

 What version of Visio was used in this presentation?

Visio 2007, SP2.

 Will the model migration work with Visio 2010 or Visio 2013?

We've confirmed that the migration tools work with Visio 2010, whereas Visio 2013 is unconfirmed. Basically, the Visio installation needs to support XMI export to work with Enterprise Architect. (Note: Esri's CASE Tools is not a required component for the model migration.)

 After import and migration, can you convert an ArcGIS diagram to a geodatabase schema?

Yes. The main purpose of the Model Migration script is to facilitate generation of schemas from the designs that were originally drawn in Visio. Before generating schemas from your imported model, however, it is useful to check that the model validates in Enterprise Architect. (Select your Workspace stereotyped package in the Project Browser, then use Extensions | ArcGIS | Validate ArcGIS Model).

Some of the warnings the model validator issues can be safely ignored (it can be very strict), but you should correct any errors before generating the schema. For details, see our ArcGIS Model Validation web page.

 What are the costs for all the migration tools used?

Apart from Visio, you only need an Enterprise Architect Corporate edition license. The other tools – MDG Link for Visio and the Model Migration script – are free. For details, see our Visio Case Tools Model Migration web page.

 Your screen indicates you were using Enterprise Architect 12.1 Beta. When is version 12.1 going to be officially released?

Enterprise Architect 12.1 is due for release imminently. Along with that, the updated MDG Link for Visio (1.8.42) will also be officially released, as it depends on Enterprise Architect 12.1.

Even though both tools have Beta status at the time of this webinar, they provide the cleanest import of Visio ArcInfo models to date.

 Does Enterprise Architect support migration of other Visio models apart from ArcGIS – like business process models?

MDG Link for Visio imports various kinds of UML drawing from Visio. If you specifically need to migrate business processes, you could try to import these as Activity models. One of our partners, Cephas Consulting, also provides a specific service for migrating business process models from Visio to Enterprise Architect. For more information, see their Visio BPMN migration web page.

 Why is it necessary to perform this model conversion instead of exporting the Visio file in XMI format and importing that into Enterprise Architect?

The XMI 1.0 file exported by Visio does not contain enough information to perform a complete import of the design in Visio. Furthermore, no diagram information is contained within the XMI file. That said, MDG Link for Visio does read the XMI file to extract as much model information as possible. It then uses the Visio API to get a more complete picture and to restore diagram layouts.

 What information is not migrated from Visio with these tools?

In terms of ArcGIS-specific information in Visio, the only thing we are aware of is that Composite connectors are not yet fully migrated (though use of these in CASE Tools models appears to be rare). Apart from that, some of the cosmetic aspects drawn in Visio may not be migrated – for example background images in a Visio diagram template.