ArcGIS is the most advanced tool for geographic analysis, just make sure that's your main focus before going with it
Thomas Young profile photo
February 16, 2019

ArcGIS is the most advanced tool for geographic analysis, just make sure that's your main focus before going with it

Score 10 out of 10
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Overall Satisfaction with ArcGIS

ArcGIS is used by my organization to present geographic maps and to do a host of geographic analytics. The tool offers geocoding, buffers, traffic analytics, and many other tools that can't possibly be listed here. ArcGIS is used across the organization for the purposes just mentioned. Perhaps the most advantageous part of ArcGIS is that it is the geographic tool of choice for so many analysts that it's not hard to find help from another analyst.
  • ArcGIS has such a large user base that accomplishing a geographic task is much easier than using other competing tools. Whenever you have a question, almost always, perhaps always, someone else has had the same question and had it answered by the ESRI professionals.
  • ArcGIS is perhaps the most advanced tool for geographic analyses. You can just about do anything you want to with geographic data.
  • ArcGIS's recent move towards online interactivity is awesome. They've made data transparency much simpler.
  • ArcGIS takes forever, not kidding, to open. Especially if you have tons of data in the system. If you plan on using ArcGIS with big data sets make sure you have an awesome computer.
  • ArcGIS offers so many advanced analytics tools that it's hard not to use it over other tools. But, those other tools come with costs. I wish ArcGIS came with all the analytical toolsets in the base package.
  • Learning the python coding side of ArcGIS isn't for the faint of heart. It's not hard, but it's not exactly easy to become completely competent at either.
  • ArcGIS is almost assuredly a positive ROI. The software is nicely packaged with a large user base. If you plan on doing geographic analysis and think there could be a boost to your bottom-line by doing geographic analysis, ArcGIS is the first tool I would turn to.
  • For some analysts that just want to geocode addresses and plot city, county, or country boundaries, ArcGIS is a negative ROI. There are lots of other tools (free ones) that will accomplish these tasks without investing lots of time and money in ArcGIS. If that's all you're looking for, ArcGIS will turn out to be a negative ROI.
  • ArcGIS has been a positive ROI for cases involving customer analytics. The software is great for geofencing customers and finding the most optimal targeting of customers.
There's really no competitor to ArcGIS. The software was really the first to get into advanced geographic analysis and has kept that lead through today. The software does everything that any other geographic analytics tool attempts to do and then some. Some tools offer geocoding and buffer analysis or some other analytical methods, but nothing is able to offer everything that ArcGIS can. With that said, if geographic analysis isn't your main focus, and you just need geographic analysis as part of an overall analytics process, then ArcGIS is the wrong tool. ArcGIS won't do big data visualizations and analytics, for example.
Of all the geographic analysis tools I have used, the one I always come back to is ArcGIS. The software is able to accomplish any geographic analysis task possible, and the time it takes to accomplish the task is usually much less than other tools. ArcGIS is well-suited for proximity analysis, transportation analysis, geographic coding, geo-regressions, and many, many other common analytical tasks for spacial analysts. The software is not well-suited for any analysis that doesn't need geographic analysis. It's only geography and geography's connection with statistics.