My ArcGIS 10.1 Wishlist

ArcGIS 10.1 will be released soon and according to Esri, ArcGIS 10.1 will be the company’s biggest release ever.  Plenty has been published by Esri about the 10.1 release, including an overview of  10.1 from the Resource Centera number of videos from the 2012 FedCon and a 10.1 “What’s Coming” site.  From what I have read and seen I am looking forward to a number of improvements including those for spatial analytics,  saying goodbye to ArcSOC and ArcSOM, improved database management functionality (which there looks to be a lot of), and generating buttons with ArcPy scripts.

However, if you have visited this blog before you have probably have seen this post or this post and have read the comments about user experiences with previous versions of ArcGIS.  I’m sure these users have many items they would like to see in the next release of ArcGIS and in their spirit here is my ArcGIS 10.1 wishlist.

My Unsolicited ArcGIS 10.1 wishlist!

64 bit ArcMap:  It’s not going to happen with this release, although ArcGIS Server will be.  However, I can still dream about lighting fast geoprocessing until then.

Provide a Consistent Product: One of the biggest items on my 10.1 wishlist is software consistency.  Too often users encounter geoprocessing errors, screens of spatial death, or the map refresh freeze.  Problems like this become major choke points when using the software when it is a critical component of a business process.

Simplify the Product:  I believe this is where the competition is killing Esri.  Look at Quantum, MapBox, OSM, or SpatiaLite.  Simply and elegant products with big time returns.  I know that many, from the once a week user to all-day-every-day user believe that ArcGIS is too big.  I consider myself a power user and I probably only use 20 to 30 percent of the product.  If Esri could produce a lightweight, stripped down version that still gets the job done (and is bug free!) I think the user base would be very, very happy.

Improve the Map Draw/Refresh in ArcMap: Am I the only person who is not a fan of the way ArcMap draws and refreshes the map?  Have you ever waited and waited watching a map load on screen?  I find it frustraing that I can visualize vast numbers of points faster in an html5 application than I can on-screen in ArcMap.  Now, this may only be me, but I would love if someday Esri could improve the map draw/refresh rate within their product.  Esri has had the best mapping tools in the game for a long time and improving the draw/refresh rate would make the already strong set of cartographic tools even better.

Get Rid of ArcCatalog: Since ArcGIS 10 I have probably used ArcCatalog 10 percent as much as I did during the ArcGIS 9.X days.  The major components of what I need are now embedded in ArcMap, which is great.  Roll the rest of the functionality into ArcMap and send ArcCatalog out to pasture where it can go hang out with ArcView 3.x.

No More 999999 Errors:  There are too many general errors that occur on a regular basis.  From the comments in this post I know this happens to others as well.  If geoprocessing tools have limits to them let the user know what those limits are so they can work around it.  I run a very clean analysis machine, I don’t run third party extension (I write my own code)  and I get unexplained 999999 errors running mundane and simple tasks.  Tell me what I am doing wrong!

If Esri could make my wishlist come true I think their user base would be very, very, very happy.  I know that this wishlist is a little late for 10.1, but Esri developers and product teams are free to wrap all these suggestions into 10.2 (thanks!).  Now when will I be installing 10.1?  Probably sometime after the first service pack is released (September, October, November?).

On that note, what would you, the user, like to see in 10.1?  What would be on your wishlist?

Disclaimer: I’m not a beta tester for ArcGIS 10.1, as I am too busy using the current version to test the next version.  What I know about ArcGIS 10.1 comes from what I have seen on the interwebs.

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