ArcGIS is a suite consisting of a group of geographic information system (GIS) software products produced by Esri and customized by third party developers. ArcGIS is a system for working with maps and geographic information. It is used for: creating and using maps; compiling geographic data; analyzing mapped information; sharing and discovering geographic information; using maps and geographic information in a range of applications; and managing geographic information in a database.
The system provides an infrastructure for making maps and geographic information available throughout an organization, across a community, and openly on the Web. ArcGIS includes the following Windows desktop software: ArcReader, which allows one to view and query maps created with the other ArcGIS products; ArcGIS Desktop, is licensed under three functionality levels: ArcView, which allows one to view spatial data, create layered maps, and perform basic spatial analysis; ArcEditor which, in addition to the functionality of ArcView, includes more advanced tools for manipulation of shapefiles and geodatabases; or ArcInfo which includes capabilities for data manipulation, editing, and analysis.
There are also server-based ArcGIS products, as well as ArcGIS products for PDAs. Extensions can be purchased separately to increase the functionality of ArcGIS. We at Terratracer not only develop thrid party tools, plugins, and extensions over ArcGIS, we also consult on all client and server based applications.
There are a number of software extensions that can be added to ArcGIS for Desktop that provide added functionality, including 3D Analyst, Spatial Analyst, Network Analyst, Survey Analyst, Tracking Analyst, and Geostatistical Analyst. Advanced map labeling is available with the Maplex extension, as an add-on to ArcView and ArcEditor and is bundled with ArcInfo. Numerous extensions have also been developed by third-parties, such as ST-Links PgMap XTools and MAP2PDF for creating georeferenced pdfs (GeoPDF), ERDAS' Image Analysis and Stereo Analyst for ArcGIS, and ISM's PurVIEW, which converts Arc- desktops into precise stereo-viewing windows to work with geo-referenced stereoscopic image models for accurate geodatabase-direct editing or feature digitizing.
ArcGIS Mobile and ArcPad are products designed for mobile devices. ArcGIS Mobile is a software development kit for developers to use to create applications for mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablet PCs. If connected to the Internet, mobile applications can connect to ArcGIS Server to access or update data. ArcGIS Mobile is only available at the Enterprise level.
Server GIS products include ArcIMS (web mapping server), ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Image Server. As with ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS Server is available at different product levels, including Basic, Standard, and Advanced Editions. ArcGIS Server comes with SQL Server Express DBMS embedded, and can work with enterprise DBMS such as SQL Server Enterprise and Oracle. The Esri Developer Network (EDN) includes ArcObjects and other tools for building custom software applications, and ArcGIS Engine provides a programming interface for developers.
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