ArcGIS 10.3 Delivers Lots of GIS Goodies

18th December 2014

ArcGIS 10.3 was released last week, with new versions of ArcGIS for Desktop and ArcGIS for Server. ArcGIS Online was also updated. Sud Menon, the Director of Software and Development and Engineering, has summarised the key elements here. There is so much new stuff that I’ll just pick out highlights, so please do use the links to read more about them.

ArcGIS for Desktop

The biggest change for Desktop is the release of ArcGIS Pro. This is a new 64bit desktop GIS application that complements ArcMap, providing an alternative environment for creating and publishing GIS data. One of the areas Pro is targeted at is working with 3D data and this can now be done alongside 2D views in a single application. The full release of ArcGIS Pro will actually be in January (it remains in pre-release just now) and we’ll cover it in more detail then.

At 10.3 the ArcMap tools for analysis and data management continue to be refined with a mixture of new tools and refinements to the existing tools.

ArcGIS Online

I think the most significant thing here is the full release of the Web AppBuilder, making it a fully supported part of the platform. The release of AppBuilder includes a couple of new widgets and refinements to others, in response to the feedback from the beta programme. We have explored the AppBuilder in a couple of previous posts and there is an introductory video that includes how to add access to geoprocessing models to your application.

After the European Dev Summit in London I posted about 3D being one of the big themes. At the time 3D scenes could be loaded in a separate web viewer. With the update of ArcGIS Online we now have an integrated Scene viewer (note, this is currently a beta version and it requires a browser that supports WebGL such as Chrome or Firefox). There are some example scenes to explore and I did take a look at these. To be honest though I got distracted by the 3D topographic map and “flew” around the Himalayas for a bit. Rest assured, the more modest topographic features we have in the UK are also brought to life.

The power of digital maps as a communication tool is something we all understand. They are a great way to enhance content within a website and this release includes changes to streamline the process of embedding a web map from ArcGIS Online. Similarly maps are a great way to report on the status of spatial assets or operations. Explorer for ArcGIS lets people access web maps and run embedded presentations on a smartphone or tablet. Initially only available on iOS and Mac, the Android version has now been released.

Open Data

Open data initiatives are a key element in allowing regions and communities to optimise the way they operate and to increase citizen engagement. I’ve recently been looking into the Smart City movement where Open Data is recognised as integral to using technology to do things more efficiently and more effectively. ArcGIS Open Data provides a really easy way to setup and manage an Open Data site using your ArcGIS Online subscription. There have been several enhancements including the option to use a custom basemap.

Working with open standards is a long standing commitment for Esri. Although GeoJSON isn’t an official standard it has become so widely used as to be a de-facto standard. Support for GeoJSON has now been added to both ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Open Data.

ArcGIS for Server

Whether Portal is being used as part of ArcGIS Online or on premise it is becoming an increasingly important part of the ArcGIS platform. At 10.3 Portal for ArcGIS is included with ArcGIS for Server standard or advanced. This allows you to share maps, create web applications and use the Esri apps as easily in an on premise deployment as ArcGIS Online users are experiencing. There are also some changes in Portal for ArcGIS to improve the setup and administration of your site.

Support for near real-time, streaming data continues to mature in ArcGIS. There are a lot of improvements and new features for the GeoEvent Extension including the introduction of new kind of service. Stream services allow a client to receive data immediately on it being submitted, rather than having to submit a request for the data. The client can also specify spatial and attribute constraints on the data which they receive.

For a quick a look at just some of the features this is looking more like a newsletter than a post so I’d better stop. I’ll just have to save some of the details for another day.