More on ArcGIS “Sucks”

On February 24, 2011 I posted a blog asking for opinions on ArcGIS 10, mainly due to all the bad reviews I see and hear.  Since that post the hits on this site have spiked, and not because of my awesome content regarding information about earning an advanced degree in GIS or learning about different uses of geographic information on the web.  Most  people have found their way to my site through  “Googling” something related to their feelings about ArcGIS 10.  Thanks to Google Analytics I have extracted the following keywords that have driven traffic to my site over the past two weeks.

  • arcgis 10 sucks
  • arcgis 10 comments
  • “arcgis 10 sucks”
  • arcgis 10 is awful
  • arcgis 10 issues
  • arcgis 10 never opens
  • arcgis 10 problem
  • arcgis 10 reviews
  • arcgis stinks
  • arcgis sucks
  • arcmap 10 sucks
  • arcgis10 review 2011
  • does arcgis10 suck
  • esri arc 10 ratings
  • i hate gis – (haha, I love this one.  I once had a friend in grad school who lived by this mantra)
  • problems with arcgis 10
  • problems with arcmap 10
  • reviews arcgis 10

This is crazy!  What drives people to go to Google and type in one of the previous keywords?  I want to know!  Yes, there are problems with ArcGIS 10, but I have found much more success than frustration since I installed it this past June.  For example, I have built a number large and complex models and python scripts that handle millions (yes, millions) of points, that perform analysis on tens of thousands of polygons, and create multi-gigabyte output files that run perfectly ever time.  I have a model running right now and the results will be ready when I get to work.  I’ve had no major problems with raster analysis, map creation, or data sharing.  Are there bumps in the road? Sure, but a comparable number of bumps to the other software that I use…

Now, do I have some kick ass machines that run the processes?  Yes.  Do I have an ArcInfo level licenses?  No, I’m using ArcView. But the point is that I am able to do everything I want to do with the software.  Are people having issues with software configurations, hardware limitations, or user error (it’s never user error by the way…).

I want to know what problems others are running into so that I can avoid those mistakes, because I hate downtime and I love results.

Have you had a problem?  Leave a comment.  I’d love to know what problems people are having.  You never know, someone else may have had the same problem, or they know of a solution.




254 Replies to “More on ArcGIS “Sucks””

  1. I have a problem exporting an feature event created from converting long/lat into a feature file onto a feature (shape) file. It nevers displays proerly because it builds a very wide extent that is beyond the extent of the area being covered. Nothing that I do (import the xy file through excel 2003, txt or dbf) solves the problem.

      1. “I have the same problem” is a famous last post in many forum-threads on the esri forum 🙂

    1. I had the same ( or similar ) issue with various exports to all sorts of formats, in the end it was cured by being meticulous about the ‘Extent’ settings / defaults which can be affected by a maddening variety of places in the interface ( the worst was I had set a clipped fixed extent while printing in the Frame properties dialog. I mostly use the ArcToolBox dialogs for operations, so I just as a habit set it there and check it before executing.

    2. Make sure your attribute table has no “0” fields in it. You may not see the “0” fields in the other programs that you are bringing in your xy data from but they may be there and in my very limited experience are why your extents are so wide.

    3. The reason that is happening is because one of your Lat/Longs is all the way out to that extent. QA/QC your lat/longs. ArcGIS can not create an extent beyond the variables that you provide. It is programmably not possible unless you break into the code and change it.

      Send me your list and I’ll find the outlier that is causing your problem.

  2. I have been using ESRI software from a time before it was commercially available (Yes I’ve been at this a long time) and once again I find myself beating my head against the wall with an ARC problem. I typed in ESRI sucks in my web browser and found this site. Once again ARC is inconsistent with a process (this time Extract Values to Points) one time running it correctly and then when I attempted to reproduce the process with my detailed notes outlining every step – and with the same files (but different output file name) producing garbage output for half the world. Only difference is that it was done on two different computers (I was attempting to show one of my students how to do this). I’m not looking for an answer- I know from experience that ARC will do strange things from time to time. JUST WANTED TO VENT SINCE ESRI WILL NOT LISTEN OR RESPOND TO ANY NEGATIVE COMMENTS.

    The company should be shut down with the Feds going for an antitrust action against ESRI (monopolistic behavior). Then perhaps we can have some realistic competition in the field rather than having all legitimate competitors bought out – and then perhaps GIS will begin to reach its full potential rather than being hamstrung by a company that produces shit for software.

    There- I had to say it. Almost 30 years of working with this company’s garbage products is too much. Imagine where GIS could be now if there was some real competition.

    1. You know, I totally agree, at least at an emotional level. My love-hate relationship goes back to the mid-90s. I’ve thrown in the towel a few times on ESRI, only to be sucked back in by the need to get something done that I couldn’t figure out how to do elsewhere given the time I had to do it. Which leads to the comment I wanted to make. Monopolistic behavior? Maaaaybe, but I don’t think there are barriers to entry into this business. There are tons of competitors out there, lots of them cheaper, many of them free. If ESRI is arrogant, it is because they manage to maintain enough market share. This is something that WE enable, as consumers.

      1. This is true. I wasted five years of time on arcinfo learning the software , and yes it does work , sometimes. But it is bloated, poorly written code that crashes as often as it works. They split everything into “modules” with the intention of selling you crap instead of making truly useful software. Often the open source software works better , and costs nothing. I have called ESRI tech support and have them tell me something is not possible , after I already figured out how to do it. Their days are numbered , everyone go out and look at QGIS , it is free and more useful.

        1. Yes, it is great.

          The best thing is Qgis works on my Mac. ESRI always has hated the Mac and Apple platforms. They basically blew off millions of possible users! We did have Arc/Info on the Unix Suns at work back in 91. However, ESRI have always gone kicking and screaming from the PC platform the last 10 years. They finally came out with iPhone apps, but they don’t really take advantage of gis tools and are only toys to play with.

          Now that Apple has bought three map companies I hope and pray that Apple will add some powerful GIS tools whem iMap comes out. I would like to overlay shape files. Maybe a World Page and grid for look-up and other gis features?

          What has ESRI done lately? Nothing! Another has been Microsoft company thinking they still have a monopoly.

          1. Sorry — gonna disagree with you on the utility of QGis here. For a project of its scale, it sucks. It randomly crashes on me, can barely handle any datasets over a few mb in size and has an extremely unintuitive workflow for editing vector data, which is what I tried to use it for. I don’t have access to ArcGIS, and I landed on this page by searching for “qgis sucks” instead! I ended up having to roll my own tools for editing gis scale polygons in C++ using bits and pieces of GEOS, CGAL and other libraries. QGis may be alright for some other stuff, and maybe viewing data in general, but for editing data its pretty useless.

            I think GIS software (at least with FOSS) is in a pretty poor state… and I guess the commercial side of things look just as bad.

          2. Yup, I gotta agree – QIGS rocks. I run QGIS and ArcGIS in my organization with a handful of users, and have found Arc to be a touch better for cartographic styling & templating etc, but QGIS beats the pants off it for data processing and analysis.

            I use Arc “Basic” for the mapmaking & styling tools, and some data editing, and QGIS for all the heavy duty raster/vector processing… impossible to justify spending >$10,000 on higher level ESRI licenses when QGIS can step in and do a better job – for free.

            Spark is out of their mind when they say “FOSS GIS software is in a pretty poor state” – QGIS, GRASS, PostGIS… these are best-of-breed.

      2. forget Intergraph. That Monolithic migraine is swapping the jury for the executioner.

        FalconView is an interesting application, meaning it’s a good viewer, but outside military circles it’s not a real player

      3. Would love to use something different. However, since my university bought in to the ESRI software scam I am forced to teach students to use it. Yes, I know that I could teach something different- but what does a student who wants to work in the GIS field tell a potential employer? “I don’t know how to use ARC”. All of the employers in this area use ARC or have to be able to use it since they depend on government contracts that require the use of ARC.
        And if you want to discuss “user error” please know what you are talking about. I started using the ESRI software back in 1984. I am responsible for some of the early development of the raster software leading up to ARC having that capability. I’m not kidding when I say that I may have more experience with the software (and especially the raster components) than most users. I’m careful, document everything and then am still confounded by these wonderful ARC oddities whichpop up unexpectedly. And I’ve seen my fair share since 1984.
        By the way. I ended up resolving the problem. On the fifth try the process worked. I DID NOTHING DIFFERENT! I just ran it until it worked.

    2. Amen!

      10 years at GIS in Development and Analysis, and I’m still hamstrung by ESRI’s inept software.

    3. I wholeheartedly agree. ESRI needs to quit making new baubles, and concentrate, instead, on making the basic software robust, stable, fully operable, and friendly.

  3. Well, where could I start. There are so many things that annoy me about this software. I spend most of my past 6 years working in ArcInfo almost every day so I’ve compiled quite a list but I’ll just list the big ones here.

    1) They try to do everything GIS, which means the do nothing well. It seems like every release they add new gadgets and tools, which is exciting, but they neglect to fix bugs from the existing tools. I even participated in their beta program for Arc10 so I could be a part of the solution rather than impotent whiny jerk. Not only was their no clear method through which to report issues, but they changed the report method several times and I had to research how to get a hold of them. To top it off they didn’t fix the problems I reported other than to say it was a known issue. Try drawing a feature from the create feature template window if your feature class has a definition query. I let them know about this problem 3 times, at beta release, Arc10 prelease, and at Arc1o public release. As of service pack 1 it still is not fixed.
    2) It took them 30 years to come up with a “map package” tool. Are you kidding me? It finally dawned on them that someone may want to take a map to another computer or give it to a co-worker, associate, contractor, etc? Before 10 it was an afternoon process just to get my map to the guy on the other side of the cubicle. I sometimes wonder if they make things more complicated than they need to so it forces companies like mine to purchase and Enterprise GIS. More revenue for ESRI.
    3) Analysis tools are slow – I purchased Surfer just to do interpolations because ArcGIS is so slow at processing the millions of points I sometimes deal with. For example, I left ArcGIS running Friday-Monday while co-kriging 2.5 million points and generating a semi-variogram and it got to 64%. Surfer banged it out for me in 2 hours, and I now use mostly freeware that will crank these processes out more accurately and reliably than $18,000 worth of software ESRI sold me. I see they added an image classification tool in Arc10. Excuse my skepticism on the functionality of this tool, but I won’t even open the damn thing cuz I know it will just let me down.
    4) Exporting maps a) label engine does not place labels on the exported map to the same location as displayed on the screen. b) graphic features such as grouped text or a legend with “no color” selected on the frame properties will often produce a mask over features behind it. c) large plates often will not export at resolutions I need, to which esri tells us is a windows problem, not an ArcMap problem (I’ve gotten that one for several issues).
    5) I’ll give ArcGIS some credit when it comes to cartography, which is probably the single reason we put up with the above. However, they’d better get their shit together because once some competitor figures out how to make a cartographic software that matches ESRI they will be in trouble. For as long as I can remember they’ve promised a new graphics engine which is sorely needed for increased raster display functionality and mashups. The last users conference I was at they stopped saying it will come at “the next release” and just said it is still in development. I’m at least impressed with the fact that they are working on it and didn’t release a piece of shit and let the users troubleshoot it for them like usual, although it is premature to assume they won’t do that when the time comes.

    Thanks for the chance to vent . . . This is about as short as I could keep it as I could go on for days.

  4. I am an archaeologist, attempting to use ArcGIS as a useful tool for both mapping and analysis. Briefly, my problems with ArcGIS (all versions!) are these:

    1. Interface and Ease of Use.
    The fact is for even for technically very literate users, the interface for ArcGIS desktop software is pitifully anti-intuitive, convoluted and time-consuming. The aesthetics still remain that of 1990s ‘software gothic’ (ie. filling the page with gazillions of toolbars and icons). Achieving what should be trivial tasks (eg. linking data from different tables), often takes 3-4 work arounds to actual get things done. There is absolutely no reason for this to be the case.

    2. Reliability.
    Just when you think you have everything working as you thought it should (data in place, linked etc.), suddenly ArcMap crashes on you, or an ArcToolbox process provides an uninformative error “System Error”. Hours of time are lost on creating things which do not work.

    In sum, the software takes up most of my time fiddling with niggles, finding out how to find features (let alone use them), and wasting days on tasks which can never be completed because of mysterious errors or crashes.

    Whilst I’m sure there are many arguments about the necessary skills to use a complex piece of software like ArcGIS, I do not consider myself to be a clueless user. I have had many years database and small-scale programming experience, for example. But in my role as an archaeologist, I want to use the program to achieve /archaeological/ goals and not waste time on the interface and on reliability issues. Making ArcGIS such a bad program when it doesn’t need to be (and when ESRI almost has the monopoly) also simply perpetuates the division between GIS technocracy and the rest of the world who should be using (and understanding) GIS.

    Grrrrrr. Yes it’s infuriating…

  5. I’m with Louis, I’ve worked on ESRI software across the platforms and versions over many-many years and it has been getting progresively worse. I too cannot fathom why ESRI does nothing to appease the growing discontent. The problems that top the list of complaints have been consistent over the past 15 years since the shift from the Unix platform to the windows environment – slow and getting slower. GUI might look better but it does nothing for performance. I, like Louis just need to vent – I am completely over ESRI and their lack of customer focus. In the 1990s, one of the companies strengths was its relationship with clients, especially the more technical clients. This has been lost, I seldom have contact with the company and technical issues are poorly managed. With the growing chorus of discontent, why is the product getting slower and making the fastest computers run like an XT (when it does run).

    We have used it in teaching for 16 years and have invested time and effort writing practical exercises and this makes it difficult to just shift from the product, but every year ESRI makes it easier to contemplate the shift. I have now set up MapInfo, and while it is not as functional it runs and can perform many of the spatial processes. The latest shift to version 10 just continues the history of ESRI not considering the fundamentals. Get the basics right and do not release a product until it can work. I don’t expect any change from ESRI, the product will continue to under perform, crash and no longer do the things it did in previous versions and I will do more and more on the MapInfo platform.

  6. I’ve got a crash report of over 2000 crashes with ArcView 10 running on a fast machine. I had these crashes working on a SINGLE project! I’ve been using QGIS for most things now until ESRI get’s this v10 sorted out. It really needs to be properly multithreaded and stable before it will be acceptable.

  7. I am a completely new user and am trying to make sure I have completed the installation of ArcGIS Desktop version 10 (education 365 days evaluation edition) correctly. One thing I never did was to set up the ArcGis Server. I don’t think I completed the post installation task for that. If anyone could help me to set up this server the SOC and some other user and web services, I would really apprecaite any advice I can get. I don’t even know if this is a .NET or a Java version. I suppose since it is Microsoft it’s most likely .net but I don’t think I get to have that .net framework with the student license. I agree about the documentation, so far, It’s just not really clear. I thought I was just stupid. Has anyone tried Oracle Spatial? How is it compared to ArcGIS?

    Thanks very much,

  8. have any body tried raster processing…simple like copying some rasters from one fgdb to another. or extracting zonal attribute.
    i am working with 161 rasters in batch mode with each raster having 150 pixels (only)..
    damn it takes 45 mins to copy in a pentium iv 2 GB ram machine..
    and if i do the same in some other software.. it is done in under a min..
    secondly, importing various raster files is great, you can import virtually anything.
    When it comes to exporting to simple tiff or img.. damn this software add some horseshit xml tags.. and voila you can’t open these files anywhere…
    just go around and around..
    and this problem was there in 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, and yes 10.0
    what do the programmer do in esri by the way..

  9. The ArcGIS Desktop Help is the primary cause of pain and anguish in our introductory GIS classes. For students and novices unused to the specialized vocabulary of GIS programs, the help causes more harm than good. I’ve gotten to where I tell students to avoid using the built-in help files, and Google what they can — but that only leads to search engine frustrations (i.e. ‘arcmap sucks’ queries) when their limited vocabulary fails them. I am not only describing 18 and 19 year old students — but also PhDs and masters students needing an introduction to GIS. The tutorials are not help files or glossaries, and minutia of GIS parlance takes longer than a semester to learn. Thus, ‘arcmap sucks’ for novices.

  10. Great work. I’ve been google ESRI Sucks, or ArcGIS Sucks for years. Just to find a place to vent. I’ve been working with ESRI software for a decade now. I have a B.S. in Geography and use this crappy over priced, glitchy garbage on a daily basis. I’ve emailed ESRI, trolled their discussion boards and was even harrased by one of their reps for being too critical a few years ago.

    This company needs a competitor but not have come around. I have nothing good to say about it. It’s gotten fat on extortionary government contracts and a pervasive monopoly. Originally all of the core of their software came from gathering a bunch of public domain software functions up and bundling it into a clunky interface.

    I describe ESRI, the company as SMARMY, if you run into a problem they act like you are doing something wrong, you’re not holding your tongue right and doing a dozen tedious procedures in the exact right in the exact order to make it work. I’ve been to a mess of ESRI trainings, read every square inch of their help manuals and spent hundreds of hours on their message boards. I hate ESRI with a passion. ArcGIS 10 is another failure in a long line of failures.

    1. I’m with you. I can’t believe how much they’ve needlessly wrecked the user interface in Arc 10, while not fixing long-standing functionality issues, apparently just so they could release a new version and get more money.

      1. I am a new ArcGIS user, for like a month now, I don’t have IT background or something but I can tell that the user interface sucks.

        It’s like PALM TREO’s, while everything now’s should be as easy as iPHONE.

        However I can’t tell my teacher 🙁 she’s one of the founder of ArcGIS or so. I just wish the interface smarter so I don’t have to spend time figuring out what they “talk” to me, I could have loved the software more.

  11. As a former software developer for over 20 years at ESRI or is it now esri because of legal issues with an oranization in the UK. I feel your pain. I got squeezed out because of being on disability. you would think after working there 20+ years and being an awesome programer, SQUISH. Oh well, at least my hair is still intact. I wish all the worker bees at ezreee the best.

  12. 13 words: ArcGIS Desktop has encountered a serious application error and is unable to continue.

  13. Or how about even few words: ArcGIS not responding

    Multiply by 24-7. Shake or stir, as desired. Same result.

    1. The new error I’m getting is a yellow triangle with an exclamation point. Nothing else. I spend approximately half of my day trying to get shit to work in this program. I HATE GIS!!!

  14. I have never seen a bad software like this.
    I have never seen a bad documentation like this.There are alot of information, but you can not find any information you need. In one document they recommend that you should do this, and in another document reverse of it.
    I miss LuciadMap.
    Or another open source gis software?

    1. Just try AutoCAD Civil 3D and you will find out that there’s software with even more and really annoying bugs 🙂 Well actually you have to know AutoCAD really well before you can say if it’s a bug or if it’s a feature.

  15. One thing that drives me crazy is the inability to work with the file system. ArcCatalog doesn’t update until you hit refresh (F5) and/or puts a lock on a file requiring you to close ArcMap or ArcCatalog. You open a tool in the toolbox telling you that an input doesn’t exist and yet that same input WAS JUST CREATED BY THE SAME SOFTWARE THAT IS TELLING ME IT DOESN’T EXIST !!! doink ! You ask an ESRI representative about this and they act like they don’t know what you are talking about (I guess they don’t use the software).

    Today I got here because merging tiffs (mosaic, merge ? I dunno, is there a way that works) doesn’t seem to work for me. No wonder colleagues use ENVI for this. If I had that software here, I’d be using it too.

    1. I run into this problem all the time! The programs are not in sync. As for your mosaic problem, I am not a fan of generating raster mosaics through Arc. I’m fond of other programs, Like ENVI and ERDAS for that purpose.

  16. If you can avoid using this software, by all means do it. We are looking into other possible substitue programs. This software is an example of incompetence. It is laughable that it still exists in this highly competitive techonology world.

    1. Or maybe you are just doing it wrong? iv used ArcGIS for many years and as long as you know what is potting then you are good to go.

      1. OK, I’ll bite — what IS potting anyway?? Ross, are you by any chance a programmer at ESRI?

  17. I did enter into google – arcgis sucks when it comes to printing really sucks – I ordinarily avoid using the ARC print formatting tools, rather put the output into Illustrator or Photoshop and finish it there. I am working with a ca county and just want to print the county but the program does not seem to allow me to adjust the size of the county map. Maybe I am dumb, who knows. Other thing was that I was working with soil data – did a bunch of joins with vector/database data, and then created raster with vector data. Arc created raster without the values I was interested in in the value field and instead had them as attributes. I tried to refer to the attribute data using dot notation – found out that ESRI removed that functionality in 10. I then tried to use the Lookup tool to create a new raster with my target data – but Arc created a shell with no data. Alas.

  18. I’ve been using ESRI for a long time and it can be a frustrating piece of software! Right now, I’m exporting a map to a tiff and I have no idea when, if ever, it will be complete. It’s telling me it drawing layers, but no status bar. I have yet to find a software package that provides the same quality of cartographic presentation, however, I have been playing with a free GIS application called QGIS (Quantum GIS) and it’s great! Super fast, easy to use, and best of all it’ll pull in different file formats into the same map without having to convert it first! However, it doesn’t make a polished looking final product. If it ever does, I think it could be a serious contender. STILL WAITING FOR MY EXPORT!!!

    1. Doug, if you are comparing Quantum GIS to ArcGIS then you do not have extensive GIS experience. Quantum is not even the shell of what Arc is. ArcGIS handles far more data formats, has far greater functionality and thousands more geoprocessing tool.

      1. Not true. QGis standalone is way more functional IMO than ArcView, but when you add feature plugins for GRASS, GDAL, PostGIS and a few others, you’ve got a robust platform that ESRI could only aspire to be.

        ESRI has made several critical engineering errors over the years, starting with their decision to release on a completely one-off platform (PrimeOS) and use that platform’s scripting language (PML) as a model for their API, then moving the a module architecture where the modules couldn’t communicate with each other (ArcEdit to ArcPlot for example). However, their biggest engineering blunder was to throw all their marbles onto the Microsoft .NET platform.

        Amazingly, for all their engineering shortcomings, the one thing that keeps them above the competition is their charismatic leader and through that, their locked-in relationship with the federal government. Since the feds selected ESRI as their platform de jour, we are sadly at the mercy of this crappy platform. Hell, Genasys had a way better and more open platform, but lacked a Dangermond.

        FWIW, if a geospatial problem can’t be solved with open source tools like GRASS, GDAL, QGis, PostGIS and/or MapServer it simply can’t be done. ESRI’s one advantage, however, is their ability to polish a turd with their hardcopy output tools.

        1. “Jack”, great post. I’m finding that I can do more and more with open source spatial tools without the frustration of their “for pay” counterparts. Since I first wrote this post almost a year ago I have exclusively moved to using only open source GIS tools for my at home use (which entails a number of projects), and I haven’t missed a beat.

    2. Early on the quality of cartography was my one complaint about Quantum, but with other visualization tools emerging, like TileMill, the “establishment” may start to worry.

      1. I just recently downloaded the trial version of SuperGIS 3.1 as well as TileMill and have been pleasantly surprised by both. I think I will move onto QGIS and see how that is.

        What is sad about ESRI products is that they are so over priced that it is impossible for anyone to start a consulting company without handing over an arm, leg, first born and a boatload of money.

        1. What is the price of SuperGIS?

          They have extensions just like the ESRI setup that I don’t like. Do they charge a lot for them?

  19. To conclude my 10 years experience working with ARCGIS: The product is just NOT worth the money.

    1. Tell that to the cities and municipalities that just keep on buying ArcGIS with our tax dollars.

      We should write the city gis departments and tell them to stop WASTING tax payers money on overpriced and outdated software! Go with the FREE open source stuff and save our money.

      1. The problem with the open source is that your don’t get the same support, training, documentation, etc… that ArcGIS gives, though you do need to pay for that on top!

        1. For the price of a ArcGIS license they had better respond quickly. I’m talking Batman fast! With a cold beverage and cookies in tow!

          I have worked with ESRI software for years, since our company was a ESRI test and beta development site. The words “selfish” “ungrateful” and “greedy” come to mind every time I think of ESRI. Every year they made us pay FULL price at the ESRI conference since we did not have enough arc licenses for everyone to get an entrance pass. They should have let ALL our employees go for FREE! We developed tons of new edit tools for them and did MAJOR fixes to Maplex when they bought it. ESRI and the slave driver Dangermond basically spit in our faces for the major effort we put in to help make ESRI software somewhat useful and bug free! I now live for the day they go belly up. They just don’t get it and NEVER did! They think they are God’s gift to gis. When they don’t even realize that they have been passed by. GIS software never caught on with the general public, but other online map programs did. They actually think people are going to use 10 and their domain. I laugh every time I go to that site! 99.9999999% of the public don’t even know about it. Won’t be long now.

  20. Problem is when I open toolbox and want use any tool, like cut, there is just blank window, but worst of that is freezing arcmap when I open any tool i toolbox, windows says it stopped interacting? Please tell me formating windos isnt necessery! Sorry, I m bad with english!

  21. Oh! Don’t forget the product’s signature performance:
    • EITHER takes a long time to produce something that is not useful
    • OR goes straight to crashes
    Here is my sincere recommendation to ERSI. Replacing the product’s progress bar with a movie or TV show might make user experience more enjoyable.

    Thanks ESRI Team!

  22. How does this piece of $hit ESRI still have a monopoly on GIS???
    As someone here stated it is “It is laughable that it still exists in this highly competitive technology world.”

    I use the help forums alot at GIS stackexchange ( which tends to understand that ESRI is biggest joke in the history of software… but even there you find the occasional ESRI idiot sycophant lackey telling you the problem is you, not ESRI….
    This is root of the monopoly problem, too many people actually think this cheesy, pretentious, incompetent, greedy, sleazy, self-centered, insincere, contemptible company is worthy of respect.
    “ArcView (bottom tier) is $1500 or $100 for home use. Arceditor is a fair bit more, but not $20k. – redbeard Sep 14 at 18:01”

    1. “How does this piece of $hit ESRI still have a monopoly on GIS???”

      They are on the dole. LOL
      They have a monopoly with the feds and municipalities. Just that simple!
      Why do you think they charge so much for software that barely works.

      The one thing they do have that works is lobbyists.

      1. is it really that simple (or complicated, depending on one’s point of view) Chris?

        who is a good example of one of these lobbyists you speak of?

  23. Because people just make due with arcGIS is why it is never really truly fixed. Its been patched, globbed onto, and bandaided so much over its lifetime that it contains bugs that the developers could never fix. As much as it would piss off the entire GIS community, this software needs a from-the-ground-up rewrite.

    Just as Microsoft did so for Visual Studio .. it pissed off a LOT of customers, even made some go elsewhere to fulfill their development needs. A bunch of software had to be rewritten before updates could be made, it was expensive. But out of it, we gained a much more robust and powerful development tool.

    ArcGIS is powerful… but too many bugs to deal with without throwing computers out the windows.. and such. heh

  24. I got here by googling “ESRI monopoly”. I wish there was a viable alternative to try every day. Our ArcGIS 10 installation is extremely buggy and contains layers and layers of extensions and toolbars and confusing infinite loop error messages and little red error “X”s that dont really seem to mean anything.

    I’ve used this software since I was in the Peace Corps in Africa, and we were mapping healthcare and education access, years ago. Every release brings more non-function and vapid responses when I ask for help. The thought of starting a project fills me with dread, and it shouldnt, because maps are awesome.

    1. You really have to do your research on the software and ask a lot of questions before buying anything.

      I know a lot of people that just bought older versions of ArcGIS and are very happy with the software. You really don’t need every bell and whistle that is packed in 10.

      Also, I use a lot of different gis software now. I’m no longer am locked into ArcGIS like I was 10-20 years ago.

  25. If you do not like the software, find better ways to avoid using it. Our team just decided to replace the ARCGIS in our office with SimplyMap for our business analysis. Some of us were hesitant to the change but it worked much better than we initially thought. We are happy with the change of software platform overall.
    For geo-coding, the Geobatch web application works like a charm. We had so much trouble using ARCGIS to locate businesses. It has been a nightmare experience. I would suggest you look into other products rather than venting your grievance here. Even Microsoft MapPoint can be considered. We glad ESRI actually made us find better GIS software.

  26. I’ve always wanted to know why the programis written such that when a layer has been changed (whether it be symbology, labelling, or just adding to the map) the entire map has to redraw? I’ve used this product since 1999 and it still baffles me that the map constantly redraw. The time wasted watching the screen redraw over and over again is enough to stop using the product right then. Its fine if your only working with a couple of layers but when you have a complex map it can take 30 seconds to a minute or more to redraw the map. I know there’s the pause button but why would I look at a big grey screen that says paused while I make changes to a layer then un pause and again redraw every flipping layer. I think they have alot of flunkies writing this software. They could learn a thing or two from mine planning developers. Now that is efficient code. This thing is a bloated piece of @#$*.

  27. Strangest experience with this. My ArcGIS 10 Desktop program would not advance past license initialization – the license was already verified – I kept verifying it over and over through the different methods thinking something was not working properly in this phase of installation. Still nothing. Thought it was a .net 3.5 issue, but supposedly 4 is backward compatible so that wasn’t the issue…I am connected through a “quick connect” login based wifi access at my University and I thought perhaps there was some issue there? The programs were all allowed through the firewall, so I was totally stumped. Then just for the heck of it, while watching the “initializing license” splash screen I turned off my wifi. The program opened almost immediately. A total fluke, I thought. I tested it again…it did the same thing. How on earth does this make sense?? I am happy it is working, though!

  28. The dysfunctionalily of the product is just too much to articulate. The low levels of quality and productivity may be ok at ESRI but it is absolute unacceptable in my organization. I heard too often from my department staffs about the troubling experiences with the software and its service which cause consistent and numerous delays in our production. I personally don’t use the product. But watching my GIS staffs with years of quality experience deal with the product make me rethink of whether continuing paying for the product…

  29. I’ve always liked the last Esri version the best; takes a while to appreciate a new version especially when the dashboard changes. If you get too frustrated, take a leap off the Esri grid; try Manifold. The price is right.

  30. I hate it! It’s so f***ing buggy. It crashes 10 times a day, thereby ruining your work if you don’t back up manually every few minutes. It also promises a million things that do not work because of some random bug. Just look at the list of confirmed issues and you’ll understand why everybody hates it.

  31. I have used GIS since about 1987 and have “progressed” to where I try to spend more time on writing papers, getting grants and teaching and less on complex technical data processing tasks. That said, I realized the other day that even for me, I was using ArcMap quite a bit less than usual over the past year or. Why??? Because ArcMap 10 simply fails to open. Or it seems to be working but then a process takes 10-15 minutes and meanwhile, busy person that I am, I forget what I was doing and have moved on to other things. So, I am writing this during the 15 minutes the program took to initialize the license. I turned off the program and restarted it because it had locked up some files mysteriously while I was trying to project data and then everything got stuck. I have spent perhaps 4-5 hours over the past 3 days trying to get e00 files to import. This function has been moved about in the toolboxes repeatedly and I have accomplished it probably 8 different ways over the past 20 years – in the past, I did not always use ArcGIS, but maintaining efficiency and up to date licenses in GRASS, MapInfo, Maptitude and IDRISI takes too much time / effort. But I HAVE GIVEN UP!!!! I am sending the files back to my technical GIS guy who has not switched to Arc10 and for whom the process still works. I “know how” to do it. It does not work on my particular OS and situation.

    So, I am venting and that is why I typed in problems with ArcGIS 10.

    1. I would be happy to look into updating your Maptitude license. For folks as busy as you, Maptitude should be able to quickly create the maps/analysis you require plus it supports Esri files natively.

      The Maptitude Mapping Software has improved in leaps and bounds over the years but is still only US$695.

  32. I usually don’t complain too much about the software for they all are have some sort of problems. But for ARCGIS, those “problems” just shouldn’t be surfaced after the product release. Those are not just “bugs” but fundamental product defects. I am not sure how ESRI can get away with the unrealistic expectations it raised in and around the GIS community. It is a shame! It is not an even a “get-by” product in many respects.

  33. New record opening time. I opened the mxd file I needed to work on at 0920 AKST, program sat unrensponsive in the task manager, finally opened at 1324 AKST. 4 hours and 4 minutes to open a map, folks!

    1. Really? That long to open an mxd? There is something else rolling in your workflow besides the software.

      1. There sure is….. ArcGISConnection.exe, AppROT.exe, ArcGISCacheMgr.exe, and splwow64.exe (no need to move from 32 bit). Bloated steamy pile of ……

  34. What drives me crazy is the inability to change column names, order and data type. Also nearly everything you do in ArcGIS produces another feature class. Before long there are so many new FCs that you lose track of whats what. Programs like MapInfo apply changes to the FC itself without generating a copy. Without this, editing polygons or polylines are nearly impossible (I do all my editing in MapInfo then import it).

  35. Well…you should all check out Intergraph/ERDAS, now part of Hexagon, to make the biggest GIS firm in the world (no joke). And another true statement, Intergraphs Geo-Media was built before ESRI’s Arc products. They own the market share in Europe and will soon be taking it over in the US. Watch out or see for yourself.

    1. Technical support for ERDAS has traditionally been awful — I’ve been using it since the mid 90s and it hasn’t gotten any better at all.

  36. If it is useful for you I found your page googling:

    “esri Simple Slider”
    and yours is the first link. 🙂
    I’m half-hearted about arcgis 10. I hate it and I love it half and half.

  37. If only Esri would concentrate on fixing the bugs instead of adding on bells and whistles. Alas the majority of Esri users aren’t the ones who actually buy the software. The constant, constant delays make it a really horrible program to use. I too could write something in arcpy to process millions of points, but unfortunately most of my work requires the user interface in ArcMap and its turning my hair grey.

  38. I had a very simple problem. I wanted to export shapefile coordinates to excel, or a text file. The solution is counter-intuitive, esoteric, and hidden deeply inside a menu tree:
    -Click on the toolbox
    -Click on “Date Management Tools”
    -Click on “Features”
    -Click on “Add XY Coordinates”

    Ok, first of all, this is a technically advanced GIS interface. How are coordinates so hard to find?

    Second, all ESRI help files are written backwards. They spend 2000 words talking about coordinate system, and how magical it is to be able to represent coordinates in 50 different ways. Then, somewhere in the verbage they give an example of how to actually do something useful. Compare this to Matlab help. Syntax1, syntax2, syntax3, explination1, explination2, explination3, detailed description, examples, useful links.

    What does ESRI help tell me to do? Well, they had some code examples, but I could not actually find any useful ESRI help to use the toolbox. I had to search user forums for a solution.

    1. Very good point about the help files. It seems like they are writing on the one hand, for someone who has never taken a geography class (kind of insulting really), or on the other hand, for an advanced programmer. No in-between.

      By the way, the old command line ArcInfo was clunky as hell, but it had EXCELLENT documentation. You could figure out how to do anything if you just read through it. Examples, troubleshooting, error messages that meant something….Sadly when they went to a Windows type interface they also adopted Windows style “help files”.

  39. Step 1: Execute a convert to polygon operation.
    Step 2: Wait 49 minutes and 26 seconds for operation to complete.
    Step 3: Read “Error 999999: Error executing function” message.
    Step 4: Google “Why is ArcGIS such an unstable piece of crap?”
    Step 5: Arrive at your site.

    Hope that helps.

  40. I’m trying to convert a string date time field to a date format date time. So far, I can get it to work as far as converting to a date, which can be animated, but no luck having it output the time as well, so that the date and time can be animated. I add a date field, then use the convert time field command to output from the string field to the new date format field. Unfortunately, despite the input being in the format outlined (yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss:s), only the date is converted. Can you suggest some alternatives?

  41. ArcGIS 10 is the latest steaming load of crap from ESRI fecal delivery system. With a crash rate higher than NASCAR, this software sends any hopes of productivity straight into the crapper. Is it too much to ask for a little stability in your platform, Jack?

    1. Don’t forget their web data download site also is a steaming load of CRAP!

      They tease users by letting them download the data. Once they have downloaded the data they find out that they NOW need to own ArcMap 9.3.1 or newer to decompress the data. Nice of them not to tell the user on the f*&king download pages! NOBODY in the real World uses this buggy compression format. Talk about making a closed wall garden. I thought ESRI was pushing open source unlocked data for the masses? The .lpk compression tool is a joke, just like ESRI.
      Pretty WEAK trick from this desperate dying company!

  42. Hit this excrement of a company where it hurts- on their Google’s reviews page:

    a sample review i will be posting there from a more anonymous ip address later:
    “esri has incompetence, ignorance, and idiocy in spades.
    The GIS industry is has been held hostage by this monopoly for too long… esri should be filed under ‘G’ for GARBAGE.
    Luckily there are finally some up-and-coming competition which will flush this excrement of a company within a few years.” is also a good place to place your esri rage.

  43. check out what ESRI is doing with closed FGDB format in this article

    “….ESRI claims to be an enabler of open government, facilitating data sharing and collaboration……. it takes taxpayer money to manage public data, and then requires taxpayers to buy ESRI software in order to access that data.”

    this is an very shady way of doing business don’t you think?

  44. ESRI runs a monopoly on their software and products, they’re no better than Adobe or AutoCAD. Their fee’s and licensing are outrageous, their pricing schemes are deceptive and unreasonable. Their conference is nothing more than a bullshit showcase for their products. They pawn themselves off as some sort of “community” facilitator when they really are just charging for widgets and data.

    Overall their, their base software platform is good. I don’t have any complaints beyond that they are so expensive that I think they are running a racket. I only complain because its not me raking in the dough.

  45. ArcMap 10 is painfully slow, Many GP tool will run for hours. Sending GP task to background is fine, but what if the next step in my workflow depends on the result from the first? I am just sitting at my desk twiddling my thumb. ESRI, thanks for making me look like an unmotivated unproductive lazy bum at work.
    Here are some errors I am used to see on a Daily basis.
    Out of Memory
    Arcmap has ended unexpectedly
    Not Responding
    Network I/O Error
    and the Silent but Deadly crash without even throwing an exception
    I started using ESRI product back when it was ArcInfo workstation. It seems to get worse and worse with each release.
    I don’t need 1 billion new functionalities with each release, i just need 100 that works everytime which probably also satisfy 95% of their customers. Really a well polish core set of fundamental spatial operation is good starting point for any customization.
    That is all i am asking for, debloat the software and let me love GIS again.

    1. Ugh, yes! The worst part is your supervisors (who don’t use ArcGIS) thinking that you’re lazy and unmotivated when you’ve been wrestling with a 99999 error for the past six hours! My issue and the issue that I think a lot of users face is that it’s being increasingly used to manipulate and create very large raw datasets and it’s simply NOT stable or reliable with large datasets, even with basic functions. The classic case in point is Clip or Spatial Join–INCREDIBLY basic GP functions–hanging, crashing or producing null outputs with datasets of any decent size. Just today I was struggling with Raster to Polygon for a dataset created using Split Raster. All the other rasters converted fine (if painfully slowly) and one would crash ANY of the five (!) GIS machines I tried it on with no exception thrown. And its sister datasets created using the same tool in the same batch worked fine!

      All I want to do is switch to QGIS or GRASS but I spend so much of my time researching and fixing Arc problems that I don’t have time to learn them.

  46. They still have balls as big as an elephant to charge 1000-1500.00 to get into the user conference each year! What are they thinking??? They no longer have a monopoly! Lets screw the users and tax payers one more time, because the tax payers don’t know about it. Ask yourself who is paying for most of these junket passes…the government.

    ESRI needs to open up the user conference and get as many young people as they can interested in their software and gis. A 40.00 dollar entrance fee is what it should be! You are NOT going to get new users by overcharging the attendees, and most are old time city and municipality workers that would not be going if the tax payers knew the entrance price they get stuck with!

    Also, the map wars are currently heating up with Apple and Google. Both may insert a lot of new gis tools in their mapping programs and ESRI is acting like Microsoft. Their apps suck and do nothing and their software is not intuitive and friendly like a lot of the new open source programs.
    I will NEVER update to 10, since I need a stable platform and can’t afford one crash. And they have never added any of my update requests to the software. What they did add, others do better! Plus they are not making the interface any friendlier and are STILL nickel and diming users with overpriced extensions.

    I can see ESRI continue to fall behind in mapping and gis. They never did get the word out to the public on the virtues of gis. And gis as a career was a TOTAL joke of a dead end. My job and all my friends went to Bangalore India! ESRI now depends almost 100% of government purchase$ and the government users. Tax payer money that is used to buy buggy, outdated, and way overpriced software.

    I always ask myself, what came first…ESRI or gis? Because ONLY gis users use the complex ESRI software, not the public. And only gis data is used and shared with other gis users. The Google kml files made some dent in the public sector, since they are so easy to edit, send and open, but ESRI is still not well known. ESRI basically created a private inner world of elite gis users that are almost totally propped up by gov/municipality departments and tax payers money.
    I think the one good thing ESRI does have is salesmen and lobbyist$!

  47. “What drives people to go to Google and type in one of the previous keywords? I want to know!” It’s a sanity check: “Am I the one who thinks this entire platform is just too absurd to believe?!?!”

    It’s really very much like another staggeringly insane system: US health care. If you’ve never known anything else, all the insane rigamarole just seems normal, or you just accept it, smile and take it. A key commonality is that both systems have evolved, and never benefited from any design principles. ESRI just keeps layering fixes and lead paint on top of a decrepit core… and sweet jesus mary and joseph, anyone who can say “it’s not for beginners anyway” might as well just become a Scientologist and get it over with.

    Soon, so very soon, with a combo of QGIS, SpaceStat and a good design program (with occasional geo-Python for obscure tasks) you’ll truly be able to do anything you want. I fought the insanity of that kludge until I tried it, and realized, holy crap, it works far better, and the annoyances are far, far easier to take and control than the bloated, glacial idiocy that is ArcGIS 10.

  48. Hilarious! These comments have been pouring in for over a year. OK, funny in a not so funny way. I googled “arcgis 10 metadata sucks” and I got here. My problem with it is that each new release of ESRI comes out taking something away. In the past we saw them cut out analyst tools that ArcView users could use and make folks upgrade to Editor or Info to use those same tools. Now the metadata completely changed. Metadata used to be a good thing, you could get in there and create custom editors, stylesheets, etc. After Chatting with support last week I find myself helpless. I was apologized to and told that the way it works is all or nothing, 10 has a completely different approach for metadata. I’m not giving up yet, perhaps that support person doesn’t know everything!

    1. “each new release of ESRI comes out taking something away”
      Yes, you are totally correct.
      I know a lot of people at ESRI still running ArcMap 8.0/8.1 since it edits everything.

      They are slowly herding themselves into a box canyon. They are betting that the public will run to Bad bet. They should keep improving the gis edit tools for the professional users and leave the online map viewers/mash-ups to Google, Apple, and the Open Street Map. ESRI is going to get hurt badly making a frontal assault at the big guys. They don’t have hundreds of millions to WASTE and bet with. Maybe Google will buy ESRI and breakdown the gis edit modules to use with Google Earth? Would be a good purchase for the gis tools. This is logical. 3D maps are nice, but functional and free gis tools would get more users.

      1. How I WISH Google would purchase Esri!
        Google is probably the only company with enough fortitude to clean up this epic fail of a mess known as ArcGIS.

        1. I have thought this many times… I kinda feel like it’s just a matter of time. While Google doesn’t make perfect programs, I’m sure they could make something that is actually functional.

          1. The employees pray for a Goggle buyout every night before they go to bed. They ALL need a 20-30% raise and good management. The drive is enough to kill them, they don’t need idiots making bad decisions making their jobs a nightmare. I know a LOT of people at ESRI and they hate it but it is the only game in town, since cities are laying off employees faster than you can say entitlement. One of my friends got let go from the city of Anaheim a few years ago. He was a GIS Tech making 120,000 a year! At ESRI your lucky to make a 1/3 of that doing the same grunt work.

  49. How about this one:
    Added georeferenced aerial photos from a geodatabase, created my figure, and saved/closed the .mxd file. Everything was working fine. When I came back later, the aerial photos (which were previously visible) were not showing up. WHen I zoom WAAAAY out, I can see a tile of where the images should be, but they no longer display when I zoom in. I expect there’s a fix somewhere in the software, but I have no $@#%(*^$@^(@#%$(&* idea where to find it.

    This sort of inexplicable problem, combined with the general laggy operation (AMD Athlon 2.81GHz dual core, 3gb ram, windows XP SP3 – not the best I know, but meets the minimum specs) even when simply zooming in/out or panning, always raises my blood pressure. It’s not like I’m running complex analytical tools or doing any heavy number crunching. I despise working with this software.

  50. Well, I’m just getting back to ArcGIS after afew years away working in bespoke packages… and.. I’ve gotta learn a new programming language!

    Fair enough, .Net and Python are more widely used and MS are withdrawing support for VBA. But, half of the example code on the developer sight is still only VBA?? If they expect us all to re-write the code we already re-wrote from Avenue, then atleast
    provide adequate online support so we don’t have to buy an expensive training course.

    I note the original post mentions not having an ArcInfo licence. There in may lie the source of your success – writing all the algorithms yourself rather than using buggy code from 30 years ago wrapped in .Net… but that rather defeats the point of using Arc at all.

  51. It isn’t the technical specifications of how Arc10 is processing data or its analysis tools that are generating the frustration, its the tiny irrational changes particularly to batch processing and how it forces you through File geodatabase’s wherever it can that are causing me to tear my hair out.

    Suddenly using a hyphen is a no go, the search function is bordering on retarded and the insistence on processing everything through a file geodatabase leaves me running for the standalone arc catalog at every opportunity. There are a multitude of tiny changes that have cause simple tasks to take a great deal longer most of which stem to ESRI not wanting people to use shapefiles any longer. whilst being a GIS specialist I fully understand their principle they need to understand that sometimes you need to work with interim data that isn’t finalised and shapefiles are great for this.

  52. I quite like Arc. I’ve only been using it for about 4 years but not had much trouble. I think v.10 was a stp in the right direction and it’s never crashed on me (that I recall) unlike 9.3x which used to hang and crash all the time.

    I’ve recently started playing with the ArcFrmaework too. I have to say that’s pretty awful but on the whole I’ve never felt the need to look at open source alternatives. Coupling it with GME helps for the work I do and all in all, not a grumble.

  53. P.S. it’s become routine to check environments often, workspaces, output coordinates, required file type for the process in question. Whenever I’m asked to help someone with an Arc problem it usually boils down to one of these three.

  54. I googled “ArcGIS 10 sucks” because (and this has happened many times) after spending hours drawing polygons it just decided to delete a bunch of them. Poof! just gone, no chance to undo, hours of work down the toilet. Bugs seem to have become more persistent in version 10, I was fairly happy with 9.x. I’ve been on with ESRI customer support and a few times they’ve told me the bugs I was experiencing (wanna save a spatially adusted .dwg file? ha, no. Though they have a whole page on CAD integration) were known; so yeah, FIX IT. We even had an ESRI rep. here and she had to do a work around with batch reproject using model builder because it did not work. We also sat there and stared with her at the screen as we didn’t know if a process was just taking forever (they usually take waaaaaaaaaaaay too long for the amount of computing power I have) or if we needed to kill the process because it had crashed, there was no way of knowing.

    I experience problems with the software almost daily, and god forbid you want to use a 3rd party plug in. Last time I tried that it took over a minute for the cursor to catch up and snap to each vertex I was editing. But, I have no other option as this is the only software approved in my organization.

  55. Case in point.. or rather case of point not in polygon :

    If you do a spatial join in ArcMap with “falls within” rather than near to, and the point falls very close to the border between two polygons (but not outside the polygon dataset) it simply doesn’t join the data for that point. No warning, nothing.

    If you zoom to one of these points you will probably see that it is not precisely on the border. So whats the limit of resolution for the spatial join? Unless you set it in the evironment its automatically that of the input data, which will (almost by definition) be insufficient vectors crossing the axes. Increasing resolution globally affects the run time and until you inspect the result you don’t know if its necessary.

    A competent program would retest uncertain results at a higher resolution.. or at least issue a warning!

    Futhermore. In ArcView 3.x spatial join .. joined.. the datasets. In ArcMap it creates a new shapefile, which is both wasteful and annoying when you need to maintain a spatial index.

    So all those smug comments about “user error” .. well everything is user error in principle, but there is a balance as to whether a user might reasonably expect a process to be doing what it says on the tin which ESRI doesn’t achieve.

  56. There is just way too much to respond to on this thread, some non-sense, some legit complaints, but mostly user-error. As Ojaybee alludes to, this is advanced software. You have to hit all the right conditions for it to work properly.

    Many people could use open source GIS, but mostly it pales in comparison to the advanced features of ESRI software (& support/forums/blogs!).

    I love you guys like Pete (April 24, 2012 at 9:23 pm) who work for hours without saving, or verifying your data. Pete – your problem was your spatial reference grid was set improperly. Now, this is new in Arc 10, so it’s only 99% your fault – but you should have read up on these things. Again, complicated software, complicated processes. Who works for hours without saving edits?? Get real… don’t blame ESRI for your mess.

    It’s true, there area downfalls. Iteration in Arc 10 (as of SP2) simply does not work correctly. The ‘iterator’ doesn’t properly ‘iterate’.

    It’s true, ESRI support and sales reps don’t have all the answers; when I send them problems, they often have to check in with redlands. For me, sometimes I smile, as I feel I know more than they do, but again, they is really complicated shit! Think of all the lines of code in this software, and we take it all for granted that it should work in 99.9% of all cases.

    My last point – working with ArcObjects to script and create add-ins and/or external programs is an absolute joy. The integration (once setup – see complicated shit line above) is flawless and the object models are, for the most part, easy to follow. Even server side scripts which integrate with webmaps are relatively easy to program.

    Those of you who are complaining, unless you are ‘stuck’ with ESRI like Pete, go and use qgis. Have fun, best of luck doing anything remotely complex.


    1. Maybe if you read my post you would know that they were deleted when I tried to save . The reason I spent hours in an edit session was because it was taking over a minute for the cursor to snap to a vertex, and I was only able to draw one polygon (BTW, saving while placing vertices deletes the polygon you’re working on so I had to wait until I was finished). I tried it multiple times to figure out what the problem was before I contacted support, and it took them a while to figure out what the problem was. As for, “your problem was your spatial reference grid was set improperly. Now, this is new in Arc 10, so it’s only 99% your fault – but you should have read up on these things.” Do you honestly expect me to go through all the release notes to find out what sort of things that worked before that no longer do? And I did a little google search “ArcGIS spatial reference grid edit”, and there wasn’t any real documentation on this. I wouldn’t have a problem with this if it weren’t new problems that I had never experienced before on a task I’ve done hundreds of times.

      but, I guess slow software that makes a 5 minute task take upwards of an hour, and removes previous functionality is “User Error”.

  57. There is just way too much to respond to on this thread, some non-sense, some legit complaints, but mostly user-error. As Ojaybee alludes to, this is advanced software. You have to hit all the right conditions for it to work properly.

    Many people could use open source GIS, but mostly it pales in comparison to the advanced features of ESRI software (& support/forums/blogs!).

    I love you guys like Pete (April 24, 2012 at 9:23 pm) who work for hours without saving, or verifying your data. Pete – your problem was your spatial reference grid was set improperly. Now, this is new in Arc 10, so it’s only 99% your fault – but you should have read up on these things. Again, complicated software, complicated processes. Who works for hours without saving edits?? Get real… don’t blame ESRI for your mess.

    It’s true, there area downfalls. Iteration in Arc 10 (as of SP2) simply does not work correctly. The ‘iterator’ doesn’t properly ‘iterate’.

    It’s true, ESRI support and sales reps don’t have all the answers; when I send them problems, they often have to check in with redlands. For me, sometimes I smile, as I feel I know more than they do, but again, they is really complicated shit! Think of all the lines of code in this software, and we take it all for granted that it should work in 99.9% of all cases.

    My last point – working with ArcObjects to script and create add-ins and/or external programs is an absolute joy. The integration (once setup – see complicated shit line above) is flawless and the object models are, for the most part, easy to follow. Even server side scripts which integrate with webmaps are relatively easy to program.

    Those of you who are complaining, unless you are ‘stuck’ with ESRI like Pete, go and use qgis. Have fun; best of luck doing anything remotely complex.

  58. Well, it seems like nobody like ArcGIS Software, so i want to tell everybody that i been use this soft and yes!! it have some problems, but in general terms it works very well for me, so if anybody like ArcGIS… well just don’t use it and stop to crying, move on and thats all!!

    1. ESRI has had something called a m-o-n-o-p-o-l-y on GIS for decades.

      Obviously you have never had to do high level analysis or production under tight deadlines with this $hit software.

      People rightfully VENT about it because they love GIS and are beyond disgruntled by this albatross esri being wrapped around their career’s neck…. ESRI quite literally RUINS people’s careers who unwittingly get involved with GIS not realizing the monopoly stranglehold this evil corporation has on GIS.


      To make matters even uglier, people like you Walter, (who are either too dumb, too afraid to speak up, or in bed with Esri for whatever reason) are who we (the ones who know the REALITY of evil Esri) get to work with in our GIS jobs all too frequently. Every time i have to work with one of your types i die a little inside.
      The 3rd most popular answer is “Co-workers who won’t look beyond ArcGIS”

      1. How do you know where GIS would be if ESRI never existed? They are the only relevant game in town which would lead any halfway intelligent person to conclude that if ESRI weren’t involved we’d be in the GIS dark ages still. I really like QGIS, but the documentation sucks for most basic functionality, and try to make a good looking map. It fails. Maybe switch to MapInfo? It totally sucks! I’ve done a few maps using Google’s API and, while helpful, it’s impossible for a non-programmer to do complex spatial analysis. Ever try to use SQL Spatial to run analysis? Very hard and it has a LONG way to go.

        ArcMap has it’s issues and I think it often times it tries to do too much. Also, I can’t stand their stupid naming conventions for software. Ever do community planning? Projections and scenarios are greatly improved by extension like CommunityViz. Network Analyst does a good job. But, ever work with LiDAR? WAAAAAAY easier at 10.1. Hands down this is a huge step forward. But you probably wouldn’t know anything about it because you’re more interested in attacking people like Walter to compensate for being out of shape 50 year old virgin that still lives with their mother.

        I’ve created extremely complex models with ArcGIS and it hasn’t “ruined my career,” like you would suggest. Sure, I could have used Python, however, it would have taken me 10 times longer to do.

        I suspect you are a turd of an employee that couldn’t GIS their way out a paper bag, but feel the need to bash a tool that has proven valuable to many industries and topics despite its shortcomings and frustrations. Stop being an infant and shut your stupid little whining pie hole and deal with it. ESRI is here to stay, and sometimes they will suck and other times they will hit a home run.

  59. That sounds like the voice for a monopoly. “you buy from me or you not”. That is the fundamental flaw in this industry where the Govt has its footprint.

  60. What the software should do is fundamentally simple. Esri has suceeded in making their software so convoluted to prevent people from understanding what the software is intended to do, so that they will not outdo them by making a better application.

  61. If you have a large map to plot (say 129″x95″) and you need to use a user defined page size, then “print” panels, you lose about 3/4 of an inch between the panels, (Buffer??) so roads, streams ect will not match up. I dont remember ever having this problem in ver 8.1 but now have it in arcmap 10 -mm-

    1. i don’t remember ever getting a basemap to load period. especially one that size. JUNK

  62. We use ArcMap 10 along with the XTools extension. It is supposed to allow multiple layouts, but when you have layouts of different sizes and switch from one to the other, the newly active layout takes on the characteristics of the previous one. I just wish the layouts in ESRI software were as good as those in AutoCAD Map.

    With closely spaced drill holes in a drill map, it is a RPITA to make all the hole numbers display without zooming in closely enough so they will display and converting to annotation. If the geos add more holes to the map, then it is necessary to go through it all again.

    1. if i could go back to AutoCad, ahhhh those were the days. unfortunatley CAD nevger came up with a way to have basemap coverage for very large areas. frustrating in and of itself but 10 to 1 better than than this ARC BS they’re pedaling.

  63. If you all think you are discontented, just go to and check out how the employees feel about the company. Check the reviews of the last year. I think the company is about to implode on its own arrogance/ignorance.

    The software coding standards at ESRI are a joke. Wait a minute, there are no coding standards, just a bunch of idiots running around trying to look busy and avoiding HR who roams the hallways looking for their next victim to squeeze out of the company.

    I am an Apple user and have been for 5 years. At my company we ONLY have Mac’s. There is not one PC in the place. Apple only has to squeeze it’s butt cheeks to pop ESRI like a three day old zit. Lets hope they do.

  64. I think I have posted here before to complain about my displeasure with ESRI for once again messing up what used to be great GIS software. The reason for this posting is some user support I just did. I am an expert at helping users and have been doing so for over 17 years! But each time I go to help a general ArcMap user not only do they show frustration but I do also. It used to be easy to show a general ArcMap user a few simple techniques for making shapefiles, maps, etc. and then they could explore on their own to learn more. This is no longer true. General users are experts in their respective fields – but they just do not have time to learn ArcMap in depth. And, now with version 10 it makes it even harder to continue learning since some idiot(s) in ESRI decided it was time to remove the “sketch” tool, and other basic user tools. I used to be able to communicate to users that if they stayed learning ArcMap they would get good at it – but when the software changes so drastically it sets back the users, it sets me back trying to find the simple tools, and it causes the users to just give up trying. ESRI has historically raved about their educational ideals,..but this is a perfect case where they are defeating education. There is absolutely nothing I can see in version 10 that needed to be changed….nothing. And removing visual basic?? All I can say is I am glad to be retiring soon – but ultimately I feel terrible for the younger general users who will have to struggle with ArcMap for the rest of their careers.

    1. AMEN Brother. I absolutley hate it. If I didn’t have to use it I would go to different software in a 2 seconds. Nothing is consistent. Nothing loads fast except the simplest of shape files. I manage propoerty maps for 4 diffent states where my company owns or operatesd various acreage. I can’t begin to tell the frustration I have trying to load a base map, which is why we switched to Arc in the 1st place.

  65. I’ve used ESRI for years, I fondly remember the monochrome command line; but lately, I’ve started using more and more open source stuff as it is developing amazingly (All hail “R”!). They’re about the same*. Produce a quick custom map with pretty colours – Arcmap’s easier. Produce a series of basic maps from a SQL database – R’s easier. The thing with open source software is that no single package will do everything well, you’ve got to search around and find out what works best for what and then figure out how to use each bit properly and integrate them all. ESRI has packaged a lot of functionality into one convenient window (once it opens and while it stays open), and it will do amazing things for you without you really having any idea what it is doing! But I suppose that’s another advantage of the open source software: because you’ve built it yourself, you usually know exactly what it’s doing; and also, once it’s built, it usually works the way you want it to, quickly, and exactly the same every time. But here’s the clincher: *open source is free, ArcMap costs (at least) $1500 a year.
    So, if I didn’t have an employer who insisted on shelling out for the ArcMap license, I suppose I would just compare the cost with what my development time was worth…
    Hang on – I’ve got Arcmap, and I’m already moving to open source.
    ’nuff said.
    (Ok, one more thing: Monopoly Schmonopoly, make your own choice.)

    1. Many of my colleagues use R on a regular basis and the spatial component is becoming a larger and larger part of their analysis. So far, I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. I think it might be time for me to write up a review!

    2. For crunching data…R can be fine, but, if you want to make a map that’s more than just passable, you have to look elsewhere. Good cartography does matter, even for nerdy researchers.

  66. Have you have any experience with ArcObjects development? Well, to me it’s a continuous source of frustration, due to lacking or inconsistent documentation, weird errors, and often extravagant API implementation… sigh…

  67. Have you had any experience with ArcObjects development? Well, to me it’s a continuous source of frustration, due to lacking or inconsistent documentation, weird errors, and often extravagant API implementation… sigh…

  68. It is funny I can find time browsing the internet to see other arc users’ experience while waiting my arc map is about freezing AGAIN… oh my, I find this interesting website. It is not just me out there with so much trouble with this product. I just want digitize some polylines and the experience is so frustrating… why it is so low… i just got a computer with a core 7 and 8 gb. It definitly not a hardware issue. Its software issue…

    1. May be you should quit your job and find something else to do. As some one previously said “well just don’t use it and stop to crying, move on and thats all!!!”.

      I am sorry for your situation, but ESRI is pretending to be a leader of GIS and wracking it with its incompetency.

    1. I have exactly the same question. I found many functions of its menu system is just unnecessary cumbersome. I think esri should back to the fundamentals, ease of use, speed, less confusions, more efficiency. These are what users really care about on the daily basis. I am not impressed by any of its new release during the last 10 years. Sad truth…

  69. It’s become routine to check environments often, workspaces, output coordinates, required file type for the process in question, file size, types, versions, computer memories, cpu speeds, comments to put into the crash feedback box, file close and open again, all against the idea of usefulness of a software. If all user errors, just don’t create something to force users to make errors! Not a good way to make $$$.

  70. Can’t wait for new market entrances and beat this ARCcrap out of the GIS. The only reason for its still existence in the market is the government subsidiary. For its current state of quality, this product will be weeded out pretty quickly in the free market environment. Taxpayer $ wasted!

  71. This what you need to do to get the feature class to show up in the create feature class window:
    1.) Start Editing
    2.) Go to Editing Window > Create Features
    3.) Click on the arrange template button. (It’s in the top left corner of the Create Features box.)
    4.) Go to Show all Templates.
    5.) Select the template you want to edit.

    Such simple job require so many steps. Why we have to take this extra step to tell ArcMap we want to edit a feature is beyond my understanding. After 7 years experience with it, may be i have to conclude this indeed is an incredibly inferior GIS software.

  72. Weirdly (or not), if you’re doing straight processing…using shapefiles…, have Spatial Analyst, and can program in Avenue, ArcView 3.2 still seems to work faster with fewer fails, and is more flexible. The cartography tools in ArcGIS are pretty untouchable, but the GIS grunt work hasn’t really improved for a long while (you could make the argument it has regressed). ArcInfo command line was truly unbreakable for some of the big data crunching tasks.

  73. ESRI software is so buggy, so slow, so poorly designed, Redlands is hopeless. It just seems to get worse and worse the higher the version. I just did a clean install of ArcGIS 10.1 and wanted to a simple “merge” operation of some shapefiles. This is something that people have been doing for, I don’t know, 25 years. You think it would be easy. I use ArcCatalog, it works fine twice, and then on the third attempt, I get a black DOS screen titled “Script Error (Not Responding)”. That about sums up ESRI software engineering. Even their error messages are buggy!!!!

    1. The fact that they STILL don’t write a ArcMap version for Mac OS tells me a lot. They made ArcEdit for Sun Unix workstations way back in the 80s but still won’t support Apple’s unix based OS. The once huge PC user share keeps dwindling in front of their eyes. Windows 8 and Microsoft are not helping ESRI at all. When are the programmers at ESRI going to wake-up and support popular and stable OS platforms? I guess they are going down with the USS Steve Ballmer.

  74. I work in the engineering field and have been using ArcGIS X since 2003. I don’t use ArcGIS for complex analysis. I make maps & figures. Occasionally, I have to complete some basic spatial interpolations. I was fiddling with Google (now Trimble) Sketchup and was amazed at how easy and intituitive it was to build and create models. I fervently wish that there was a GIS package that flowed like Sketchup.

    Yes, ArcGIS is adavanced software, but it really falls down on performing basic, simple tasks. It needs to integrate with other parts of the software world instead of trying to reinvent them (poorly) and then charge extra for them.

    Typically, when I try to do something unfamilar with Arc that seems simple, I end up wading through message boards and the help file only to find that I need to create workarounds that may work if I have a few hours to try out or I have to purchase an add-on.

    It’s a giant piece of bloatware that’s expensive, dense, confusing, and non-user friendly. Creating maps with geo-referenced data shouldn’t be this difficult.

  75. I personally feel like ESRI’s stuff is all designed with the GIS technician in mind and programmers are an after thought, so it’s really difficult to do simple things with their paradigm. As I write this blog now am still trying to figure out why there isn’t an “intersect” method on the geometry class to do an intersection. I think it’s retarded that the best bet it seems like is using some function (Intersect_analysis) that creates a new table that I’m going to have to go loop through just to get a result. At any rate, I’m new to ArcGIS programming… maybe it’s just me!

  76. man…. this post is on fire, nice idea to let people express themselves. I used to use ArcGis, for me it worked nicely when I started in the gis world. At that time I just did some pretty easy stuff like txt-to-shape conversions, drawings, etc. My first “I-hate-Arcgis” chapter was when I used krigging to interpolate around 6 millions points in the version 9.2. At that time my 3.2-GHz laptop Inspiron Dell worked for 7 whole days and I had to turned it off because I thought it could have been incinerated (lol). That never happened nor the output from krigging. This probably was my error, probably I set wrongly the krigging parameters, so I continued working with arcgis, but Surfer did this grid in 10 hours, it was interesting. My second chapter was when I generated points from lines based on their distances in degrees and number of points. Probably it was a way to do this automatically, but I did it manually based on arctoolbox and editor. It was painful, and I did only like 40 lines. I spent, if remember well, like 6 or 7 hours at least doing this stuff, and at the end I had to edit manually several point shapefiles because the same point repeated twice at the beginning or at the end of the shape. I didn’t know why, but I thought it was me because I could have forgotten something or did a mistake during the manual process. After rechecking the whole thing, one by one, the problem was definitely arcgis. At that time I started working with openlayers, postgis, and mapserver and I asked for support in the postgis forum to convert the lines to points based on their distances and number of points, the sql script I got at the end did the process in 1.78 seconds but took me like 2 days to understand how to build the script. No problems with the output, I was amazed. Nowadays, I moved almost everything of my work to open-source software, it’s more difficult to work with at the beginning but it’s really powerful. Many things need to be developed/written but it’s really worth to be used. I still use arcgis, not very often actually, perhaps once in a couple or some months, I’m focused to improve my skills in a daily basis with the open-source software. As someone wrote above, esri’s days are numbered.

  77. Ha HA ROFL
    In 1990 using arcinfo 3 on a 486 dx with 4 mb of ram i tried to change the colour of a line using the command line. Took me about 2 hours to not find the answer until some one pointed it out!
    Have you picked my mistake yet.

    Switched to MapInfo/MapBasic and could do just about anything with the built in functions and if not then i could write some code and do it.
    Have been forced back into the ESRI fold by job change and am now system support for GIS.
    Got to this website as i have to implement 10.1 for our organisation and wanted to find out if there are any problems with the software.
    Found my mistake yet!
    I am from Australia and we speak english here. Not too sure about the US/ESRI they seem to have their own language.
    COLOUR = COLOR(US Spelling)
    LOL HA HA i still find it funny but in all my recomendations for corporate GIS i recomend MapInfo as it is so easy for non GIS users.

    Brisbane Australia

  78. It is really funny to see the number of comments on ArcGIS being lamentable. I have been using ESRI products since long and have tried ArcInfo Workstation PC as well as ArcView 3.x. It was less painful and a lot faster to get things done back then than today. We had a 8MB (that is right, eight Mega Byte RAM) machine but could do big things using ArcInfo WS PC in lesser time. Now I have 4-8 GB RAM machine and have to wait for several minutes to hours to get things half done. Example, I wanted to clip a raster layer using spatial analyst. I had to wait for more than 15 minutes before I got a ‘result’ that had the extent of the input file. No matter what I try, I end up with the same ‘result’. I just opened ArcInfo WS and typed:
    setwindow=xmin ymin xmax ymax
    newgrid = oldgrid

    It not only finished the whole thing in less than a minute but also produced exactly what I wanted, a clipped layer with the extent set to the clipping feature (the rectangle). That, I would argue, makes me think that E$RI has clearly regressed. My issues are countless. I like the new capabilities of python scripting but I used to like Avenue and AML more. Especially AML with its ability to create wonderful GUI with little effort, which is impossible with the current scripting tool using ArcPy, what a shame. E$RI needs to wake up and think differently and sooner than later.

    E$RI needs to be more clever than Window$ in should not be dictated by the later. All these .net … is creating a lot of mess everywhere. Programs are bulky and less efficient.

    I am moving more and more to open source solution and scripting to avoid daily headache with ArcGI$ bulls***

  79. I’ve been using ESRI software since 1996. I love TIN and have used it successfully in many projects. ArcTIN on command line was pretty rock solid. 3D analyst is a just a load of crap.

    They still can’t work with a TIN that is larger then 500MB. This is a file limitation that has been there since the 90’s. They introduced the terrain, but alas there aren’t any interpolation tools that work for terrains. I’ve been poking them for several years but still nothing. Support provided some tools that were still in development buth they didn’t work. Went to the conference and they were all into LAS files with LIDAR. What happens when you want to build a large TIN surface? Why develop a data model without tools available for your users?

    I run a small consulting business and constantly am battling the software to let me work billable hours. I have been looking into open source products, but serve government and require ESRI formats and onsite training. It is hard to provide service to your customers without using the same product that they are using.

  80. I think Esri is a big company and big companies have different divisions that act somewhat autonomously. In my industry I have seen Esri turn into a monster. Other industries may have different experiences.

    In our case, we were and are an Esri business partner. Shortly after releasing a Google Fusion related product (which was a very small focus for us) we got the call from our Esri Industry Director. Although extremely embedded with Esri, our business partner relationship was threatened unless we removed all references to Google and removed the product.

    Former and current employees have also informed me of some of the tactics employed by this same industry group at Esri. Within this group, there is a culture of intimidation and bullying, that has included taking money under the table from a well known integration company while banning other integration companies, intimidating employees and family members, while also blacklisting clients and ex-employees who have stood up in retaliation.

    In this example, these same people who get away with these acts are the same people who have been promoted and cuddled by Esri.

    Regardless, I don’t believe Esri as a whole is bad. From my experience, most people at Esri are fantastic. Unfortunately, a few bad apples… the concerning thing is that Esri seems to allow and support this kind of behavior. It’s very disappointing…

  81. I second everything DLegesse says as I’ve had the same experience. My work efficiency using ArcGIS has gone down so much since Unix ArcInfo/AML that I cannot even measure it. GUI in ArcGIS is useful for some cartographic map-making (labeling notwithstanding), but between ESRI’s consistent lack of good Help documentation and the slowness of tools that one must first find, then figure out exactly what they do (this is rarely documented in the Help), then work with projection files that only read the name (not the projection information), then find that the tool cannot batch process etc., I cannot continue to support them.

    I’ve spent too much time trying to do iterative loops using ModelBuilder and then figure out why one run works and the next doesn’t. I have never found clear instructions on how to properly set up and use Python, though I am good at writing scripts. I’ve never understood when I might need SDE tools. Now, I just got a trial version of ArcGIS 10, searched “Import Modelbuilder” , “Import tool” etc. to get all my Version 9.3.1 tools in, and the only relevant result is “Importing a model from ArcView 3”. Really?! (And their font and Icons are so small I can barely see them). Ughh.

    I think I’ve wasted enough of my life trying to be productive with ESRI ArcGis, and that’s saying a lot since I’ve worked with their software since 1992 and have supported them for so long.

  82. Please don’t complain ARCGIS. I am an hourly employee. I am paid by how many hours I work with ARCGIS. I have to admit that I have really benefited from this software. I know it is slow and unstable but it allowed me to get overtime pay from my employer even with little work done. It has allowed me to lay blames of the low productivity to this software.

  83. OMG….they went on and on about how great python will work. but what the F it is the slowest thing in the world. A simple field calculation takes forever. I had allot of coplex VBA tools in 9.3 that was great and worked fast and easy. If I’m out of office some one elce can just sit down and follow the steps in the custom userforms. Well not any more, now they will need to run the tools and sit for housrs just to complete one step in a whole process. I like some of 10.1 but I mostly hate it

    1. The field calculator is retarded or simply a joke. Any halfway decent apps can do much better job. Just based on that, it implies how bloated this thing is. I only use arc when I absolutely running out of other options. For this, I spent little time on arc these days than before.

  84. It just continues to suck. For some reason the layout view goes blank when I move ArcMap from one monitor to the next.

    I’m learning GRASS and POSTGIS on a Linux machine now and their simplicity rocks. A GIS Analyst who only uses ESRI products will soon find themselves extremely limited.

  85. It keeps crashing, even when I’m not clicking anything. Enough for me to keep thinking the software sucks.

  86. That’s really funny. I just found your site when I was trying to troubleshoot and then momentarily gave up and typed “why does arcgis10 so dumb” into Google.

    It was a minor issue: trying to edit a point shapefile, and it won’t show up. Not much out there about the issue. On to google more…

    I’m not discounting user error but the program does have a number of bugs and odd little fixes that have to be applied just to do basic things, that you would think could be fixed somewhat easily.

  87. Hahah… brain is obviously not working very well with dealing with this for half an hour… I meant to say I typed “why IS arcgis 10 so dumb”.. maybe google is currently googling on yahoo “why are arcgis users so dumb”!!

  88. Epilogue: I just found the answer to my issue after 15 mins of research. I still maintain that from a user point of view this level of complexity and trouble-shooting is undesirable. I’m sure there is some justification on the programming end but it doesn’t translate to usability or efficiency.

    Part of the issue may be that ArcGIS is a very common entry-level software for students, etc, and most users don’t have a good perspective on how complex GIS programming is. Seems from your post as a GIS expert that maybe this number of bugs and level of unnecessary complexity is not uncommon in other GIS platforms. Still frustrating, though.

  89. Am I the only person waiting for Arcview 3.4 to be released.
    Our team still resorts to AV3.x to do much of our analysis work.
    Much better UI design, intuitive and easy to use, if not a bit dated.
    They took a step backwards in this respect post 3.x.

  90. I don’t know if it is only me, but when I drag the attribute table, the program freezes for some seconds and sometimes shuts down completely.
    Come on, dragging a window is a matter of primitive software, not a software of 2012.

    1. Same here. extremely frustrating. This just happened to me for what seems like the millionth time and I decided to google “why is arcmap so stupid”. This is how I found this page.

  91. Im trying to merge some file together into a common file using the export system. Tried using the batch feature to get them all into the same coordinate system. Fail. Tried to merge. Fail. Always give me some syntax error…. ARGHHHHHHH!! The worst thing is that this worked completely fine last time!!!

  92. So, I was just having a read and a chuckle to myself then thought ‘well, I better do some work’, did some simple edits to a map I was working on, went to click save, accidently clicked the print icon…..ArcMap hangs and crashes. Cool. This was after trying out the new image mosaic function and then trying to refine it. 2 hangs in ArcCatalog.

    Way to go ESRI.

  93. for example:
    1) Extract Multiple values to points generates results totally unrelated to the input
    how can I be sure all the other tools work well, when this simple one does not?
    2) Projected data does not work correctly in select by location – the tool does not take into account the projection

  94. 1. Map services never stay up
    2. Software is seriously slow, no matter the hardware config.
    3. Printing is terrible. Particularly the Web APIs
    4. If you accidently click a random button the application often crashes and hangs. This alone tells me their is really poor code under the hood with constant crashes at runtime. Do they even testing?
    5. Running the same GP tool several times over will fail with a generic error code you can’t google or refer to a help manual on.
    6. hop on one foot and run the GP tool just one more time – It works!
    7. Can’t rename a field name, lets add another field, field calc it, then delete the original field, look at the beautiful field order now baby!
    8. Sometimes an mxd will not open and crash instantly, other times it opens fine, other times it takes 2 hours to open one.
    9. Added a file in which catalog has a folder connection to? YOU TELL CATALOG WHAT TO DO, INSTEAD OF TAKING INTIATIVE, REFRESH THE FOLDER CONNECTION!
    10. Want some decent control over labelling? use maplex and slow your map services to a crawl!
    11. Fuck this piece of shit product.

    The number one gripe I have is the stability of the product; which is none.

    so many runtime problems. It’s like the coded the entire thing and never clicked ‘run’ on their IDE.

  95. Put “” into Google and you get almost 300,000 hits.
    This is ESRI’s own catalog of their bugs.
    It would be laughable if I wasn’t stuck in this career.

  96. Guys let me give you 1 more aspact of a brand which always sell back to back, This IDIOT name is ArcFM, which provide you only 1 functionality Trace, Trace and Trace, Nothing more than that. But fooling market in such a way that it has become a standard

  97. ArcGIS is just a long string of problems tied together in a bundle of pain and headache. I spend just about as much time trying to figure out solutions to problems as I do using the program. It’s starting to give be honest anxiety when I realize that I have to try to do something new or do something I haven’t done in the last month – no doubt something will go horrible wrong.

    Today’s mystery? Not extracting ALL the selected items… just a capriciously chosen subset… oh lord.

  98. ArcGIS 10 does suck. I have been using ESRI products since ArcView 3.0 and they haven’t improved, much. I’m surprised they stay in business. Dealing with dates and times is the latest example. Almost impossible to import data from a *.csv file that includes dates and times. What a piece of crap.

    1. “I’m surprised they stay in business.”

      They have a well manicured ironclad government monopoly. Somebody in big gov needs to break it and save the country hundreds of millions in bad software purchases. Not to mention the hours the tax payers pay to have some tech watch the PC screen waiting for a process to finish.
      Contact your congressmen and let them know how they can trim the government budget, while saving money and workers time.

  99. The thing that I cannot understand is how a long standing software like ArcGIS can have such farreaching problems when it comes to very basic nameing conventions within databases or files.

    An example. Try importing data from an Excel spreadsheet (.xlsx) that has a sheet called something like “RatherlongSheettitle”. Importing it to a Geodatabase will throw two errors (000622 and 000732). Rename the sheet title to something with less than 8 characters and you’re good.

    ArcGIS has fantastic capabilities. But its extravaganzas impose such a steep learning curve on users it is insane.

  100. Forget ArcGis. I’ve been using ArcInfo for 20 years.
    You just need to have a few workarounds to get thing things done.
    I’m always exporting to .csv and fixing things with a text editor.
    Then I’ve been using an old version of Corel Paradox and creating a .dbf
    from the .csv. Esri just loves the old dbase format.

  101. I was searching for a solution to an Arc10 problem and found this site. I thought I might be the only person who experienced the various problems discussed here; wow, was I wrong! Regarding the monopoly aspect and the Federal government’s use of Arc10, just remember that the Federal government used to use Word Perfect for all their word processing, and look what happened to that! If ESRI isn’t careful, they will kill the golden goose.

  102. I am learning working things around arcgis using other software. It is not worth even being paid to work with it. It just creates more trouble than doing nothing. Heard enough “F**” words from my colleagues. It has become the single most cursed software on our office computer.

  103. Zoom into vertex –> not responding –> 2 minutes later, attempt to close –> program not responding, close now –> nothing –> go to talk manager and end arcmap process –> NOTHING –> restart computer

    Repeat over and over again. A living hell.

  104. Everytime a new version of ArcMap comes out, my colleague and I (together we have close to 40 years GIS experience) look to find all the things we use that used to work and now don’t. Just try processing a 4-band raster in ArcObjects in v10.0 — forget about it. It used to work. I agree with the poster who said that ArcView 3 did somethings a lot faster and a lot more reliably.

    They like to talk about improved usability, but they seem incapable of making it happen. Their expensive classes tend to be a waste of money. Often the instructors know less than the students.

    On the other hand, there is an awful lot that can be done with the software when it cooperates. We use it everyday for a tremendous amount of tasks. It is frustrating, as most complex programs are, but it gets the job done. Though it often takes longer than it should.

    Back in the ArcMap 8.x days I mentioned to Jack Dangermond, when he came to our place to sell us on something or other, how ArcMap was turning me into a ‘Dr. Watson” expert (if anyone remembers those days). He was not amused. I have to say that their technical support is much improved over the old days when some twerp might laugh at you about your problem report.

    ModelMaker is a sad joke. Seems like I write more stuff in C#/ArcObjects just to do stuff I should be able to do using the built-in tools. At least when my program bombs out, I can figure out why.

    Our regional reps are fantastic and always willing to help out. It didn’t used to be that way. Maybe it is just that the people in the office we deal with are exceptionally good people.

    We like to joke at our place that there isn’t any adult supervision at ESRI HQ….

  105. The software is a disgrace. Just imagine if it was mission critical ont eh space shuttel or a power station. The world would be a waste land.

    Its slow, bloated etc etc and then just crashes before you saved the data. This sofware is about 35% efficient the rest of the time it just wont co-operate.
    Just imagine oif your car behaved like this or thte television – the company would have gone broke long ago and so should this comapny. The owners are worth billions but they have done a particulary bad job with their products. They do not deserve the monoplisitc position which they have secured.

    If there was competition they would have ceased to exist long ago. This is the WORST product which I use – simply the worst and by an enormous margin.

    Its really that simple.

    1. I’m a GIS tech in a mission critical environment, and I’m CONSTANTLY explaining to the IT “experts” why ArcGIS can’t be used operationally for our 24/7 automated tasks, how often it crashes, how slow and buggy it is, how it produces bad or blank output.

      I’m still using ArcView 3.3 (unofficially) with Avenue script for anything mission critical. It just works, and works fast.

      With every new release of ArcGIS I’ve been hopefull that it’s finally ready for showtime…now at 10.2 and still waiting.

  106. Cool, a page where everyone can vent their frustrations with ArcGIS, however I notice it only sprung into existence in 2011. Where was it during the heady days of “crash every 10 minutes” 9.0 and 9.1?

    As far as the software goes it is all good to let off steam sometimes but I think, having used from 3.2/8 up to 10.1 now that there has been a definite improvement in the accuracy and features of the system (and v10 at least greatly improving stability over the 9 versions).

    What people should be complaining about is the (ESRI-profiting yet user-nonsensical) divisions between licensing levels and the PRICING! If a ArcView licence enabled SDE editing than the organisation I work for could save thousands of pounds in Editor licences that are only actually used for the SDE editing functionality!!

  107. It is funny to see the owner boasted that the company is “zero” debt financing. Does he understand that taxpayers financed the bulk of this bloated company? By the way, my field calculator is still “calculating” after I found this website and left this comment… it seems a long way to go to finish the 100,000 records.

  108. TOM UK,
    I use a lot of software and NONE of it is this bad and poorly designed and so unstable.

    The potenital is there but the product simply fails to deliver and has failed to deliver for a very loing time. what this company needs is a lot of new investment and new management. If this does not happen then likely a competitor product will kill this app eventually. i would leave now if there was suitbale product. How can the management sleep at night – it need a billion in development budget. The issue is likely a fundamental design issue. I use one obscure database product which can do the most wonderous things in a perfectly stable environment – becasue teh design was undertaken more than a decade ago by software engineers who were truely inspired. here we have a product cobbled together by a disparate team of who knows what – but likely not inspired engineers.

    I wonder if anyone at ESROI reads this – if they do they should cry.

    1. When I was at the UC we went to the party he threw at some fancy hotel. All the ESRI fanboys got so excited when they found out Jack was there. I’m glad I didn’t see him because I couldn’t care less about some rich guy who made a fortune off a monopology (it is in government) and selling a poor quality product.

    2. All tax payers money. This guy should move to England, he is on the dole big time! I wonder how much they pay the congress and lobbyists to buy their crapy software?

    3. I like how it says “More on Jack Dangermond” under his picture…

  109. ESRI: Please don’t give a false sense of superiority. Example, the use of Bing map is an insult to the Bing map. I never speak out for Microsoft. But Microsoft should be aware of this kind of abuse by ESRI. I like Bing map because if refreshes quicker and better than Google map. Now using Bing map in ArcView is ridiculously slow. It is insane! This product already wasted almost all of my computing power, now it starts to infect others. I’ve suggested my IT department to put this product on top of the corporate software dump list.
    Good Luck ESRI.

    1. Dont’ worry, Bing Maps is going away within the Esri stack. It won’t be one of the free base maps for much longer.

    2. I see your pain. To be fair, we should still give ESRI credit on providing new services even they need a lot of improvements over time.

      tells the tale of bing being a slow p.o.s. from it’s inception.
      When Bing wms and Esri come together in arcGis desktop it feels like an old dial up connection at best, complete with plenty of esri crashes. Trying to explain this problem to higher ups who have drank Esri koolaid is an exercise in maddening futility.
      Using one can see THOUSANDS of transactions being made every few minutes while scrolling / zooming Bing wms in arccrap. Tried using the 10.1 “feature cache” toolbar which just resulted in more crashes. If one is forced to use Bing wms in arccrap a day’s worth of work becomes a week long nightmare of frustration.

  110. Love the new glitch I’ve discovered – I call it the “roll-the-dice-crash”. Every so often, after attempting to select a feature, ArcMap will randomly decide that it’s time to make things exciting and either crash with a crash report, crash completely without a crash report, or seize up requiring that the process be ended from the task manager.


  111. ESRI has degenerated into a mere marketing machinery. Forget about the products – slow, full of bugs and completely useless when it comes to dealing with large data volumes and putting together complex GIS workflows.
    Perfect example of a “Potemkin Village”.
    Having messed around with a piece of crap like ArcGIS for almost 5 years, I consider myself very lucky that in my new place we use Open Source. Not the perfect world – but definitely a BIG step forward!

  112. being an avid GIS user, i agree with all that is said above. but to add to it i think there is not real alternative, i have tried all those other open close source software they are all same. to me the best working gis/rs software are: arcview3.2/erdas imagine8 -9/idrisi (good functionality/fast/but only for small data)/ envi /ermapper till 7.x/
    i think an average GIS pro is at best a troubleshooter who get his way around with what is available.. if you have industry needs all open source suck as much as arcgis.. but the fact that you paid heftly for one makes the pain more in case of later..
    happy troubleshooting…

    1. Principally true. Difference is that with ArcGIS you have very limited control on how efficient your troubleshooting will turn out to be…
      The other question is what your application looks like:
      With basic (GIS) tasks on smallish datasets, it doesn’t really make a difference (except that Open Source is free). Obviously, ArcGIS is “industry standard“.
      If you’re trying to automate complex workflows, then there’s probably no alternative to Open Source because ArcGIS is way too unstable and poorly maintained to be of any use
      (“probably“ because I don’t know other systems well enough to tell).

  113. Look this way. You do see performance improvement if you start from version 10 to 3…

  114. A friend of mine worked for ERSI for a while. She was glad to get out and find another job. The company does not treat its employees fairly. I can see why this has led to its inferior products and services over the years. The way ESRI treats its customers sounds very familiar. It is a badly managed company. I would not deal with business that treats its people badly in the first place.

  115. I have taught GIS every spring semester for over 10 years. I’ve kept ArcGIS on the syllabus, in a gradually diminishing role, but this will be the last year. The computer lab copies are crashing, and I can’t get a student one-year free license to install after 5 honest attempts. So tomorrow instead of a lab students will be getting a set of slides illustrating what the software is theoretically capable of.

  116. Today, we worked our boss through adjusting few elements in the ArcView maps. He is curious enough to learn one or two tricks in making map that he can do it without us around. “I just want to change the color of the lines in the legend and add few text boxes here and there” he said confidently. We stood behind him and guided him into the woods. After showing him the “ropes” and assisting him through the “steps”, he looks like a beaten man. “This is beyond my comprehension guys.” He then look into straight into our eyes and said “I wonder we can do this in Powerpoint next time?” Everyone just laughed. This is just tip of the iceberg… his ain’t seen anything yet. This GIS software not only showed us the way to waste money but also the way to waste your time. I guess our boss we never come back to us and let us show him how to deal with Arcview again. A good lesson for him to realize what kind return on investment of this software is. Hope we can find better alternative soon and rid of this thing.

  117. I can not open existing maps. There is a very specific set of maps I have to produce, and usually they only need to be updates once a year. I should be able to create the elements and lay out once and just update the data that changes. I have never been able to do this in the 7 years I’ve been responsible for this. A couple times it had been due to orgonizational changes in the workplace, but most of the time it’s just ArcView not working. I would be willing to own up to user error, I’m not that experianced and I know it; but I am just double clicking on the file in Windows Explorer and it will not open. How is this user error? I found this site because I am searching for a way to get my maps open, not by typing ‘ArcView sucks,’ thought I was sorely tempted.

  118. The mosaic raster tools do not work consistently and the error codes are terrible. Sometimes the tool says it works fine, but the result is awful looking or incomplete. This is a tool they have had for a long, long time, why can’t Esri make it work right!?!?!

  119. Browsing throught the comments and my own experience, i just have to conclude with the qoute from Bill Gates “This is most stupid thing i ever seem…”

  120. can’t resist the temptation to type “why arcgis sucks..” in google while using it. good leads into this site.

  121. Hmmmm, software that crashes, irritates, aggravates, frustrates, annoys, maddens, enrages, exasperates, infuriates…..must stop this…it can’t go on….must pull plug!!!! Damn, it’s on an UPS!!!! I’m toast 🙁

  122. Have anyone had an issue in starting the ArcCatelog window? The ESRI splash window stays on screen for over 1 hour now. I don’t it be my screen wall paper. I’ve shut the computer down. This happens from time to time.

  123. ESRI days are numbered. The place is a sinking ship. They have totally lost control of both the gis data and software monopoly they once had back in the 80s and 90s.

    Open Street Maps and QGIS are hammering ESRI now. You can’t give away ArcGIS since EVERYTHING is free with other gis packages and data.
    There are so many map apps and programs that BEAT ESRI at their own game. Newer and easier ones are popping up faster everyday now.

    A person off the street can make a cool mash-up using QGIS and geoJSON.
    If you are really map challenged there is:

    And there is NO need for a degree in Geography to make maps anymore! This field of study is basically dead and has been bypassed in the last few years. Colleges need to stop teaching it since the public uses digital maps everyday now and are getting daily geography lessons for free!

    ESRI better be shopping themselves around before Google adds massive gis tools to Google Earth and finishes them off. This multibillion dollar company will be worth nothing in a few years at the rate of free map tool and data advancement.
    Sounds like not too many smart people are left at ESRI since most have left to go to start ups. ArcMap 10 basically validates this.

    And the way Open Source is going, their won’t be to many companies left that will be able to demand thousands for their software. Especially bad software. ESRIs biggest customer, which is the U.S. Government, is slowly waking up to this fact. The Gov needs to save our tax dollars and go more to the free open source software ASAP.

  124. I’ve talk to ESRI many times about the redundant “overhead”, meaning unnecessary intermediately files created to get to the final output. No improvement what-so-ever. The program is bloated and its file management system is profligate with inefficiencies. They simply ignore it… for how long?? Enough trying to be nice… What they really need is another new application called “asshole cleaner”.

    1. This is hilarious. I admire ESRI’s courage to publish it. We would get fired by our clients if we had made such a monumental feat. I bet they would even want their $ back from us, and sue us for lack of due diligence. Who can get away from this…? This is a pondering thoughts

    2. Next time when ESRI representatives come here to show off their products, we are going to either show this to them and request a fee for the “QA/QC” work or show them the door.

  125. Anyone going to the Esri annual circle jerk… um I mean “conference” next month ?
    It truly is the software conference champion of false promises and exaggerated claims.

    1. I am going. I’ve been the past two years and have gotten a lot out of it. I meet with some vendors, talk with some techs, do some networking, catch up with old friends… Have you ever been? What was your experience like? Why was it so bad for you? In my experience most user conferences are really the launches of marketing campaigns. If you think of them as something else you might come back disappointed.

    2. The “conference” where they charge people to attend a corporate sales pitch – the same people who’ve already overpaid for buggy software – the people who never get rebates for buying into false promises? No, never gone.

  126. Doing a project for school that is due in three days. I have a world shape file. I also have an XLS file with data. The XLS file holds a year column (2013-2016), a gender column, a country column and an FID column that matches the FID column (countries) in the shape file. I am trying to show where freshman, sophmore, junior and senior students in my university come from visually. ArcMap 10.1 does not even recognize the XLS file or I don’t know how to get my map to display the “intersecting”data from the XLS file. Frustrating. I want to say the ArcMap cannot do what I want it to do.

  127. What’s wrong with this software? Boy, talk about standing at the edge of a pool.
    But here are a couple of diverse examples; the iceberg’s tip.

    We purchased Business Analyst 10.0. Expensive product. Then ArcGIS Desktop 10.1 comes out with a couple of new (and, it must be said, useful) features and the upgrade price is modest. But will BA work with it? No. We are invited to buy BA all over again. Maintaining compatibility between products because of “feature” releases is an industry norm, but not one that ESRI subscribes to.

    File locking. The **** product locks files and will not release them when it should. For instance, let’s say that you run a tool, create a feature class of a certain name, then realise you erred and want to run the tool again? Can you use the same dataset name? Hell no. Can you use Arc Catalogue to delete it? Hell, no, ArcGIS has it locked. Does the software even tell you it can’t be done? Hell no, it asks you to confirm you want to overwrite the existing dataset, and then fails after your confirmation.

    This is not an immature product, nor a cheap one. The standard of QA within ESRI is an absolute disgrace. Each release is chock full of bugs. Sometimes bugs are fixed in one Service Pack only to re-appear in a subsequent one.

    I would not buy this product again and as CTO of my company have directed that no more money be spent on ESRI software.

  128. Anyone else exasperated from trying to use and maintain file geodatabases on a network drive?

    With Microsoft Windows 7 hotfix KB2775511 installed, file geodatabases are rendered completely un-editable, but even before that I had repeated problems where they would remain in a locked state permanently if a process or save failed to complete, even if you then manually remove all .lock files from the geodatabase folder using Explorer.

    Having discussed this with other Arc users within our state government, I became aware there have been a heterogeneous range of issues with geodatabases on network drives. My conclusion is that file geodatabases are inherently flaky when deployed on a Windows 7 network drive.

  129. Hi,

    I land on this website while looking for a solution for an ArcGis problem.
    I must say that I had a great time reading some of the comments. Thanks to you guys I don’t feel alone any more.

    I work with ArcGis for almost 2 years. I begun with ArcGis 10.0, and now I’m using 10.1. Althought ArcGis can do really marvellous things (I especially enjoy the integration of python, I can do what I want by scripting), I have to say that for some very basic things, it totally sucks.

    – Just why takes ArcMap so long just to open ?
    – Copying data with ArcCatalog from a fgdb to an oracle DB do not works correctly. Some times it simply crashes, without any proper message. Sometimes the datatype of my columns changes (a char becomes a varchar, a varchar(25) becomes a varchar(64), …).
    – The Oracle ST_functions are a shame. No 3D (st_intersects for example compare only X and Z), and some times an infamous “error in executing ODCIIndexStart() routine” happens, without any right message. (and no, it is not an Oracle problem solve with
    – Sorry, but it’s sometimes simply slow, and I don’t understand why. You make the same operation twice, and it is two times slower the second time (or the first time)
    – The call of an elevation MapService with the Silvelright Api has a bug. I had to intercept the request, and manually had data into the response. This has never been tested.
    – Network analyst does not remove all points when I delete a segment and rebuild the network.
    – Locking ! ARG !! I’m dealing with schema locking for a couple of days… I had to change the “schemaLockingEnabled” property. But the property is not visible on the ArcGis Web Manager, althought it is documented on the ArcGis website. Hopefully, the property can be change with ArcMap. I don’t want any locknig, so I set it to false… Arg, no, there is a bug, I must set enable to true in order to disable locking… ok… Good, it works ! But… why does this only work on my server, and not on the server at our customer ?

    Really… We can do so many very good things with ArcGis… so easily compared to other solutions. But why do we have to deal with so simple problems ??? It’s so frustating.

  130. I am so glad I found this web-site. I though I was just not clever enough for the GIS game. But reading through these posts I see I am not alone. I find with ESRI it not what you know its all about finding work arounds to the many many problems ESRI’s ArcGIS creates.

    I must have 25 posts put up on ESRI’s arcgis forum in the last month web page because of tools not doing what they should. Convert raster to Polygon, make profile graphy, displaying hatches, Data driven pages, etc. The arcgis help/resourses page is a mistery, its like they are speaking a different lanuage. I think it is written by a robot. In fact speaking of web-pages ESRI has so many different web-pages I also get lost. For example try to find the place where you can download add-in tools. It took me 2 days and 3 posts on the forum to find out that, it is kind of in ArcGIS Online, but the search function does not work so if you are looking for a tool/Add-in, then you have to scroll through pages of maps and apps and then you will find the add-ins.

    I work with an engineering firm and its high pace and results driven, and I can see one of two things happening. We change software (but we are so dug in now it will not happen) or I get a heart attack, because when I am asked to produce something I can not say to the team how long the task is going to take because the tools might not work.

  131. Back at work today and more f**king problems. Working with Raster data is a disaster. Do you think ESRI staff will help. Not a care in the world that have for us users. I have a Raster and I need to clip out the Footprints so that the white spaces are removed leaving only the useable image. What a load of crap. Forums, ESRi videos emails to local ESRI provider, email to Redland. No one gives a sh1t.

  132. ….when I need a break, and want to see some data refreshed and visualized fast on a GUI, I use arcview 3.2, that’s right ESRI, your 10+ year old software can still outperform 10.1 on the most basic of tasks. Think about it. It’s just unbelievable. How many crashes , jerry rigging and restarts are needed to get through a project?

    1. That’s right. I will feel better if the crash screen says “I am sorry… It seems I am not quite able to do the task yet…” This company needs to learn what honest means to the business.

  133. ArcGIS Explorer build 1500 SUCKS
    MANY BUGS!!!

  134. This is why government should take its hands off businesses. Let market take care of the businesses and rid of incompetence and inefficiencies.

  135. I were using SPRING (‎ ) for GIS tasks but moved to ArcMap 10.1 from some time ago (not much). Im yet to try larger projects but it’s working flawlessly until now. Easy to use and lightweight. Weird to read some comments about it taking too long too start, it just do for me in seconds (intel i5 processor). Maybe guys having issues in license installed over the network and not locally. LAN network problems are the culprit in these cases, thats my bet. Im happy about working with heavy sat imagery and georeferencing within ArcMap, found it being fast as well terrain modeling and analysis. Well I just started using ESRI recently so maybe I need more time to discover the pitfalls.

    Zooming more than “natural” image resolution is extremely slow at least the times I did it not in purpose. (they need to add some option to limit zooming to full resolution) as oversampling the image in the main window is clueless, or fit there some better algorithm because its boring and time consuming when you do it (sometimes you are really zooming other features).

    One problem: A friend of mine cant generate random points in ArcMap 10 (under data management tools). It always ends with a error message about a empty output. The same procedure just works for me on 10.1, maybe there’s a bug in there.

    Ahh! I got here on this page after searching on google about this random points generation failure 🙂

    Salute !

  136. After using ARCGIS for so many years. The words I have for esri is “don’t create something that does NOT work. This is a waste of your time and most important of all, the customers’ time…” Put it simply, “it is outright misleading.” Keeping it simple and honest is to keep the customers. We are migrating.

  137. “This is crazy! What drives people to go to Google and type in one of the previous keywords? ”

    Mmm… Well… I want to say the fact that Arcgis CRASHES ALL THE F****G TIME FOR NO REASON AT ALL!

    Seriously, this is the worse software I have ever used.

  138. I learned using command-line ArcInfo and AML scripts (which worked great). Started at work with only ArcView 3.x. Currently have both 3.x and 10.x running (32-bit), but still use 3.x for EVERYTHING but basic manual map production. Why? It’s faster, and it works. For example, a buffer and dissolve of merely 3000 points on 3.x takes 2 seconds, and it works. The same on 10.1 takes anywhere from 15 minutes to forever (crashes), and the resulting dissolve may or may not even work. It’s a known ongoing bug, spanning several versions/patcahes of 10.x. ESRI support tested the same process, using the same data on 10.1 and it didn’t work for them either. They tested on a 10.2 64-bit machine and it takes “a few minutes” which they considered acceptable, but weren’t even sure if the dissolve bug was actually fixed. From 2 seconds and it works, to a few minutes and it may/may not work – this is not progress. ArcGIS 10.x has bells and whistles, but they forgot about basic functionality.

    You say you can work with millions of points? I’m surprised. Most people I know who need automated bulk-data processing have moved to open-source GIS solutions (or stuck with 3.x as I did) Perhaps your processes work, and “the results will be ready when I get to work”, but you’d likely be shocked by how much faster it runs on alternative GIS software, even old ArcView 3.x. No more letting it run overnight, how about results in minutes and keep on trucking.

    1. Bad manners, but I’ll reply to my own comment.

      The high purchase and “maintenance” cost of current ESRI software is one thing, but the cost to productivity is far, far greater. The “let it run and come back tomorrow” mentality of ArcGIS users (and ESRI itself) is likely costing my employer untold millions per year, both in reduced productivity and in those projects which simply aren’t attempted because “that bug will be fixed in next release…maybe”.

    2. In my experience I’ve learned to never to throw tons of data into Arc at once. I always make large datasets smaller and run the processes in batches by writing some code to handle the work. I know Arc has a big problem with managing memory so I don’t try to make it do things I know it can’t. So far, so good. Also, 10.2 isn’t a fully 64 bit piece of software, so no matter how bad-ass your machine it’s just not going to take full advantage of your system.

  139. too slow. they are aware and will not fix the bugs. i hate arc so bad that i’m willing to throw it down completely if another program comes along. waiting literally minutes between commands is not a good thing. i have a more than adequate cpu and it still runs slow as christmas. worst cpu expierience of my life trying to get anything done and be productive with this program. will NEVER buy another seat!!!!

  140. still waiting……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..God I hate this program.

  141. So you wonder why people think ArcGIS 10 sucks?

    * It crashes at least every hour
    * Running basic things like a linear regression calls an exception
    *It’s multi-threading belongs in the 00’s
    *It is by far the slowest and least reliable major GIS platform out there
    *Arc Catalog can’t even _close_ without crashing. Yes, an exit procedure causes it to crash. FFS.
    *Using GDAL and map window direct link libraries I can actually build a more robust GIS platform – and I’m a newb programmer.
    *Multiply the above frustrations with the high price tag.

    For the record, I’m running 32G ram (1800mhz ddr3), 4.7ghz 8 core CPU (fx8320), crossdired HD6870 GPUs (I think), and and SSD. Arc still runs with the speed and grace of netscape… in 1996.
    Also, I googled “why does ArcGIS 10 suck” or something like that. So far the best answer is that ESRI can’t program to save themselves.

  142. (The following is all my personal opinion)

    Attended a GIS conference and also ESRI session today, and have to vent again.

    ESRI stopped caring about geoprocessing (actual GIS) years ago, and now it’s nearly impossible with all the bugs and slow performance. What was once the core of any GIS now seems like a necessary evil to them, ignored.

    Now it’s all about very simple plotting data on a web map, but they can’t even get that right. Notice how there’s no labeling option in ArcGIS Online? What?! Notice how their Collector app can’t even “collect” a line or polygon? What?!!! I could do stuff with Google Maps years ago that ESRI hasn’t even started working on yet, for FREE!

    Why my employer continues worshiping at the ESRI temple is beyond me….and sooooooo frustrating. Think of all the tax dollars wasted on this junk.

  143. Haha! I’m the first in 2014 to say “ArcGIS sucks” to the world!

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘2100343645 which is not a hashcash value.

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