[postgis-users] PostgreSQL/PostGIS and ArcGIS Server 9.3
pramsey at cleverelephant.ca
Fri May 23 13:20:55 PDT 2008
On Fri, May 23, 2008 at 12:56 PM, Obe, Regina <robe.dnd at cityofboston.gov> wrote:
> Okay I need to be educated here. What does ArcMap do exactly that is
> special? Most of the time when I see people using it here, its to
> export the data they need out of ArcSDE into ESRI Shape so they can use
> it in there apps.
I'm sure ESRI runs a special camp they can send you to for re-education :)
It does absolutely everything! Which is why it's so hard to pry it out
of the hands of a dedicated ESRI fan... if you spend the time on it,
you'll find there's not a problem you can't solve with this one
universal tool. You can use it as a database, you can use it as a
graphic design package, you can use it for map algebra, for network
analysis, for data integration (using the Interop Extension), as a
programming environment, as a capture package, for image analysis, for
Of course, it will be slow and sub-optimal at solving many many
problems, but that doesn't take away from it's universality.
Things it does really well, well enough to be considered a category
leader on meritorious grounds:
* Ad hoc cartography.
* Ad hoc analysis.
* Data exploration.
Having all those tools in one place at your command makes trying
different possibilities and approaches easier.
Take the conversation away from GIS. Let's say you're a statistics
analyst. You're a wizard at SPSS. I show up and say, "hey, you should
use R, it's just like SPlus, a really powerful statistics package,
only it's open source!". Do you switch? And that's a switch with
almost perfect feature parity.
Unlike web services, which can be chipped away at and operational
people don't have a really visceral attachment to (a web page, is a
web page, who cares what software serves it up), ArcMap is an
in-your-face operational tool, that people have years of mind-share
invested in. You'll pry it out of their cold dead hands. Maybe. And
ESRI can and does use that loyalty to push other less-superior
software into lots of other places in the IT space where the decisions
are controlled by loyal devotees.
That has been my experience, in any event. Is ArcMap "all that"? It
is to the people who have learned the ins and outs. Why do people
still use MSWord, when OpenOffice will do what they need? Corporately
it's the safe choice, and that 5% of users who actually use the extra
features in Word can drive the decision to take the "safe",
full-featured package instead.
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