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Despite the availability of 3D CAD systems, the designers in shipyards still use 2D CAD systems because of the need to produce drawings rapidly and a shortage of labor. The design information of ship structure contained in 2D drawings is represented by symbols that are well known among designers in shipyard. The shapes of symbols are recognized by analysis of experienced and knowledgeable designers. We propose a method for automatic recognition of 2D symbols and extraction of design information from the midship drawings. The shape and rationale of 2D symbols used in ship design have been analyzed, and symbols have been classified according to the analysis. Based on the classified symbols, the developed system recognizes the symbols expressed in 2D drawings. The meaningless geometric shape is translated into the design information including designer's intents. The extracted design data can be applied to the downstream design process in shipyards, and the 3D ship model can be automatically created.