ArcGIS Pro 2.0 Migration Overview

In April I started a new position at a company that had no existing GIS.

Nothing.

There was a definite need for GIS and some GIS-type functions were occuring but basically when I started, I had an ArcGIS Enterprise license and a mess of KML files.

An exciting opportunity. And since I was starting from scratch, I had zero legacy concerns. No existing data, workflows, custom code, or maps to tie me to a specific software package. Knowing that ArcGIS Pro is taking over the world, I decided to transition to ArcPro and use that as our (GIS staff count of 1) company standard for desktop mapping.

That plan got side-tracked somewhat when we purchased a data management tool (CrescentLink Network Manager) that is only available for ArcMap. But I have still been using Pro on a regular basis.

I started a brilliant post about the transition–the pros, the cons, and my overall experience. But before I could finish it, out came 2.0 and my post was suddenly out-dated. So I’ve decided to split that post into a bunch of smaller, more focused posts.

Overview

Without getting into to deep on specific features or functionality, I do have some broad comments to make.

Learning Curve

There is definitely a learning curve in moving from ArcGIS Desktop to ArcGIS Pro–even though there is a lot of the same concepts between Pro & Desktop (the Toolboxes have barely changed), just finding the tools was a huge hurdle at first. I’ve never been a fan of the ribbon interface, I like my tools to be where they are and accessible.

But with regular use, I have gotten more adept at finding what I want to use. Still end up hunting for tools at times but it has gotten better. I’m probably at about 75% efficiency as compared to Desktop although I switch between the two on a regular basis because there are times where I just need to get something done.

Stability

Even though I just had to force-stop a session, 2.0 has made significant strides in stability. I had near daily crashes with 1.5 but now it is maybe a once-a-week. Maybe I’ve learned what not to do in Pro but I don’t remember any pattern to the crashes I had with 1.5.

Performance

Performance is still painful to me. There are too many times when the wait cursor shows up when you do simple things like clicking on a button. A lot of the processing has been routed through the geoprocessing system and it just seems much slower.

Version 2.0 Highlights

While I’ll probably do some whining about ArcGIS Pro in this planned series of posts, there were a couple of significant highlights to the 2.0 release that took care of two of my major usability concerns.

    • Simultaneously running multiple instances of ArcGIS on the same machine. I did some initial scripting for a data preparation process. The script took a good 15-20 minutes to run. Using 1.5, I had to launch it and then work in something other than ArcGIS Pro. Now I can launch that process and continue to work in a second session.
    • Highlighting. Maybe I am just weird but I really missed the ability to highlight records in table. As part of my QC process, I will often select records using a spatial or attribute query and then go through that set and either unselect or reselect them in batches by first highlighting them. This was a huge issue I had with 1.5 especially since it does not seem like it should be difficult functionality to add in. I was going to wait on 2.0 until I saw this functionality.

Summary

Overall, I’ve grown accustom to ArcPro. Like any new software, it takes time to get a feel for it. The transition is not that much different from going from ArcView 3.x to ArcGIS Desktop (or whatever 8.x was called). I am not yet as productive in it as Desktop but there are some things I really like about it to go along with my complaints.

I’m Back!

Ok, it has been to long since I last posted and I thank those few people who asked If I had suffered a Segmentation Violation or something.

By means of a brief explanation, I changed jobs last summer, going back to a previous employer in a very different role than what I’ve ever had before. It was a challenging and difficult and one that I had minimal success at but, in the end, didn’t work out. Mostly because I wasn’t a good fit for a variety of reasons including, not surprisingly, geography!  I was mostly tele-commuting because the office was two hours away. I really needed to be in the office more than I was and I wasn’t in a position to relocate.

During my time with that employer I was doing less technical stuff and just did not feel the urgency to be blogging.

I’ve left that job (which was very hard to do because I felt like I was abandoning friends) and have a short-term gig with the employer I left in the summer which will be almost entirely technical work, so I hope to crank out some more technical blog posts.

Also, I’m hoping to shift my career focus somewhat. I’ve been somewhat stuck as a desktop guy–developing mostly desktop applications.  I’ve wanted to do more web development stuff but never made the switch. I’m hoping to build my web skills in the short-term and have been cramming on topics like Java, HTML5, CSS, Map Server, Geo Server, php, jQuery, and anything else that might enhance my web-abilities.

So expect some changes to the blog and I thank everyone who comes to the blog, while the numbers aren’t huge, I am still surprised at how many people find their way here.

Endpoints

I spent almost nine years working for a great company, Applied Data Consultants, through a variety of roles–spent approximately 3 weeks doing Parcel work as a GIS Tech before I started working in Avenue for my own sanity. After that, spent several years doing various programming tasks including building tools for internal production and application development. The last couple years, I served more of a Consultant role, both for internal and external clients.

Where one polyline ends, another starts in this case.

In a couple days, I start my role as Geological Information Specialist at a state agency in Minnesota. I previously worked for the Wisconsin DNR (where I originally “discovered” GIS) and Pierce County, Wisconsin so I have some governmental experience but I am wondering how I will adapt to the organizational differences.