ArcGIS Reviews

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Score 8.8 out of 101

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Score 8 out of 10
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ArcGIS is used by my department in the earth sciences. It allows sophisticated visualization and statistical analysis of geospatial data. It is also used by some other departments (e.g. astronomy and archaeology) for ad-hoc needs.
  • ArcGIS can handle multiple data types natively and usually without error. This mixing allows for more in-depth analysis than with a less robust software suite.
  • ArcGIS has ready-to-use basemaps that save time when doing quick work.
  • ArcGIS often allows multiple solutions to a problem. This user flexibility makes for a more comfortable experience.
  • There are frequently errors when using some tools, and the descriptions on these errors are often vague and unhelpful. This makes troubleshooting very difficult.
  • ArcGIS is slow for many tasks, which makes for an annoying experience - particularly with large datasets.
  • ArcGIS is expensive. Licenses may be out of reach for some researchers or organizations.
ArcGIS is the industry standard for geospatial analysis because nothing else has such a large suite of features. This robustness is the software's greatest strength and is why it's used everywhere from academia to industry. One useful scenario is in performing network traces from thousands of different points - model builder or Python can automate this process.

However, ArcGIS' high cost and memory/slowness issues preclude it for being perfect for all scenarios. Some open source competitors offers 90% of the functionality without the headache.
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Nikardi Jallah profile photo
Score 9 out of 10
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ArcMAP/ArcGIS is new for the department that I work with. I, on the other hand, have previous experience working with ArcGIS from my university. I currently use ArcGIS as a way to map prevalence and incidence estimates of several behavioral risk factors in my state. The prevalence and incidence estimates can be entered or uploaded to the attribute table in ArcGIS, where differences are illustrated using symbols (graduated colors or polygons). Spatial mapping is also important for our team. Hotspot analysis, address geocoding, and spatial rate and smoothers are easily done on the ArcGIS system. ArcGIS does a great job mapping X,Y coordinates which you can then spatially join on your map. In addition to spatial analysis, ArcGIS allows you to use python code to run the geo-processing tools that allow you to do the spatial analysis, buffers, joins, and much more!
  • ArcGIS is great at mapping geo-coded data (specifically data with X,Y coordinates like addresses or events in certain places).
  • Using ArcToolbox on GIS allows you to do many different analyses including spatial analysis, spatial statistics, hot-spot analysis, and joins with the many geo-processing tools.
  • ArcGIS is a great application for mapping health-related data, visually. Incidence and prevalence data can easily be visualized by using symbols or colors on your map. The layout view allows you to customize your map by adding a North arrow, legend, and scale bar.
  • ArcGIS can sometimes freeze or perform tasks slowly when too many geo-processing tools have been used on the MAP.
  • ArcGIS could be improved by having a better support page. It is difficult to get the answers you need if you are unsure of how to, for example, perform spatial auto-correlations on your map.
  • ArcGIS is only for data that can be spatially represented, and that is its limitation.
ArcGIS is great for data that can be spatially illustrated, primarily in the health or environment sector. ArcGIS does not do well with data that is better off seen on a graph or table. It is also important that you have X,Y coordinates if you want to correctly plot data on a map.
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Flávio Carmo profile photo
October 24, 2017

The good old ArcGIS

Score 9 out of 10
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Our GIS department uses as the main GIS tool, as an individual and collaborative tool. Our use is supported by our clients' needs. We use it to make vectorial databases for cities and states in urban and rural areas. ArcGIS provides to us a full set of tools to make our work organized and productive.
  • Full set of tools
  • Interoperability
  • Collaboration
  • Tools are too bureaucratic
  • Toolbox tools have a slow interface
It is suited for large applications with a complex server side integration, that makes ArcGIS desktop and ArcGIS server a perfect pair, with great collaborative tools for GIS teams.

It falls short when the job is simple, such as making a small vectorial database, when tools like QGIS are more suited or when the client has money issues, because it is a pricey solution.
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Lance Huntley profile photo
September 11, 2017

ArcGIS Software Review

Score 10 out of 10
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I can't discuss in any detail how we use ArcGIS to address problems as it would compromise our competitive advantage. Suffice it to say, we are very pleased with the overall performance of the software. Let there be no doubt, we are winning business because of ESRI's ArcGIS. Other than that I am not really at liberty to say. I do hope you understand.
  • Spatial analysis.
  • Mapping.
  • Customer Support is some of the best I have ever received, ever!
  • Secondary data for use with it's products. Good as it is, but add more to it if you could, that would be great.
  • I have used ArcGIS for a long time, it does everything I need it to. In fact it has WAY more features than I will ever use.
  • Add more secondary data.
  • Demonstrate space time boxes... what are they, when are they being used.
Everyone knows where it should be used and where it shouldn't! It's mapping and spatial analytics software, you use it to do that. If you need to map some locational data then ArcGIS can help, if you want to understand socioeconomic characteristics around a particular location, you can do that as well. There are tons of spatial tools, from analysis to creation to joining, whatever you need, spatially, this is the program to get. There are free online add-ons as well, so you can go the cloud route if you want.
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Tiffany Puett, GISP profile photo
Score 10 out of 10
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ArcGIS provides the tools for both our customers and our team to catalog, visualize, and analyze spatial data. When training, I always ask my class what industry wouldn't benefit from spatial data and it's really a trick question because I believe there isn't one. In other words, being able to add dimension and depth to data that an organization already has from a spatial perspective is invaluable. Let's say you have some addresses of all of your customers in a database. With a flat table, there isn't much more you can do. But with GIS, you can map those addresses and come up with hot spots or areas where most of the customers are concentrated. For retail, it may be beneficial to put new stores in these areas. Further, you could introduce things like household income, age range of population, driving distance, and more that may help you make that decision.
  • ArcGIS has some really strong cartographic aspects. Users can print or export to various formats such as pdf for sharing with decision makers Or they may leverage some of the interactive capabilities of an ArcGIS Online app which can be made public or secured by logins.
  • The current state of ArcGIS Desktop is intuitive and user-friendly. Users can add data, symbolize it and start working with tables in rapid time. In addition, users can easily push their data to a web map with a couple of clicks.
  • My favorite aspect of ArcGIS is being able to quickly query out data based on a certain criteria. Users can also merge the data into another layer based on its location. For example, you may have a bunch of building all over the map that need a situs address. Users can merge the building data with underlying parcel data and grab the situs address. The number of buildings per parcel can then be extracted from the data to see if it matches the tax listing. The buildings that don't match up can then be extracted for field work.
  • It would be nice if more functions from the Desktop application worked on a tablet. I understand that it is a beefy application so this would be dependent on the capabilities of the device.
ArcGIS is well suited to those who need more than just a map as a visual representation of some data. Users will benefit from the vast amount of tools available for modeling and analyzing spatial trends. That said, if you just need a map, then there are many more affordable options out there.
Read Tiffany Puett, GISP's full review
Manik Mitra PE, CFM, CPESC profile photo
Score 10 out of 10
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HR Green uses ArcGIS for all kinds preliminary engineering purposes and making exhibits. It is being used across the whole organization for planning, exhibits, design etc.
  • Making plans to prepare exhibits so that the clients can make decisions wisely and efficiently.
  • In terms of shape file editing ArcGIS could add some new features like Civil 3D.
[It's well suited for] making exhibits and planning purposes(data representation, analysis, and other planning). It's less suited for design purposes. You have to depend on other software for design purposes.
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Score 9 out of 10
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ArcGIS is used across the organization and in many departments. It is a fantastic tool for any kind of georeference.
  • A wealth of options - this is a powerful piece of software.
  • Many ways to display data which is critical in getting your findings across.
  • Easy to share work with others.
  • It can be slow so be prepared to wait if you have complex data/maps.
  • Very expensive. If it was not provided to students many simply have no means to access it.
  • Very large piece of software - an SSD is recommended.
  • It has crashed on occasion - which can be frustrating when working with complex data.
ArcGIS is useful in almost every case where you need to demonstrate something with a map. It is incredibly powerful and can produce amazing analysis. Since these are on maps, they make great tools for presentations or talks. However, using it is not easy and the software is expensive. If you would like to map some data only once or twice it is probably not worth the time or money.
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Score 8 out of 10
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Previously, I used ArcGIS in an educational capacity as a student. For a number of years I learned ArcGIS and used it to complete projects, assignments, and other tasks as required for my classwork.

Currently, I use ArcGIS in a personal/educational capacity as a tool to complete my thesis reseach. ArcGIS has proven to be absolutely critical in my thesis research as it is a fully functional GIS suite that in many regards is the industry standard (analogous to the Adobe Suite in the creative fields). Due to its long legacy, ArcGIS contains a huge suite of varied tools for analysis, display, and sharing of my data and results.

Over the years, ArcGIS has transitioned to being a bit more open in many regards. One of the biggest changes was switching the tools over to Python to ease scripting, updating, and modification of the internal tools and analyses. ArcGIS has also improved its ability to import/export various proprietary and open data formats and sources.
  • Fully-featured and powerful GUI.
  • Large library of integrated tools for analysis and visualization.
  • Large community of experts, novices, and academics to provide tons of examples, help, and guidance for users.
  • Excellent documentation.
  • Industry-wide acceptance and usage means ease of deployment and exchange with others.
  • Fully x64 native client is needed for large/complex datasets, which are not uncommon in GIS.
  • GPU-accelerated analyses is needed as it will reduce analysis times orders of magnitude in most every case.
  • Fully multi-threaded analyses where possible. Currently, analyses are almost exclusively single-threaded on the CPU with ArcGIS' GUI running in a separate thread to prevent lockup.
  • Better interchange capabilities with Open Data formats and sources like OpenStreetMap.
  • Product stability could use some improvement, especially when working on a very large project file.
If you work in the industry, I do not believe you can go wrong with ArcGIS, especially if your company is willing to license it for you. The power of ArcGIS combined with its industry-wide presence means it is the defacto tool in many companies and institutions. It also has an incredibly intuitive (for a GIS suite) GUI, which eases the learning curve when compared to other offerings which historically have had more obtuse GUIs. ArcGIS manages to strike an impressive balance between functionality and intuitiveness.

For home use, I think ArcGIS could potentially be overkill, though recently ESRI has offered a home-use single-seat license for $100 which is an excellent deal. For use-cases like this, I would recommend QGIS from OSGeo as it would be more than sufficient for home or hobbyist uses without carrying any cost for licensing.
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About ArcGIS

Esri in Redlands, California offers ArcGIS, a geographic information system.

ArcGIS Technical Details

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