Top Nine Favorite Innovations in ArcGIS 9.4

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Each year at the International User Conference, detailed demonstrations present major new functionality in upcoming releases of ESRI software.  ESRI’s John Calkins presedes these demos with a brief overview of his favorite innovations that won’t be covered in those more detailed demonstrations.  Here are John’s  “Top Nine Favorite Innovations in ArcGIS 9.4” as presented at the 2009 ESRI International User Conference in San Diego, California, in July.

9. User Interface. ArcGIS 9.4 presents a new user experience. The upgraded look includes dockable windows that can automatically hide. Also, a new Catalog window is embedded in ArcMap. We expect these and other underlying framework changes will greatly improve your productivity.

8. Attribute Tables. At 9.4, attribute tables are now displayed in a dockable window. You’ll see a new toolbar across the top, giving you easier access to the tools you need. And you can open multiple tables using the tabbed interface at the bottom.

7.  Search. A new search capability complements the Add Data dialog. The new search tool allows you to type in search criteria and with subsecond response time locate the data you’re interested in. You can use special keywords like points, lines, polygons, or layer—to further refine your search.

6.  Reporting. ArcGIS 9.4 includes a new reporting capability. A series of predefined templates makes it easier to make nice, formatted reports. Once you’ve created a report, you can now save the report so that you can later re-execute it with a different selected set.

5.  Geoprocessing Tools. With ArcGIS 9.4, we’ve enhanced the customization capability so you have access to all the analysis tools. You can drag and drop the Buffer tool or a geoprocessing model onto a toolbar. There’s also a new geoprocessing option that allows you to enable background processing.

4. Table of Contents Views. The table of contents now supports multiple views. The Group By Visibility view organizes layers in your map into visible, scale range, or not visible groups, making it easier to work with complex maps with a lot of layers.  It’s is a nice innovation to complement the traditional table of contents.

3. Symbol Search. To change symbols, you no longer have to browse through 20,000 different symbols looking for the right one, you can simply do a search. It is far more efficient to search for symbols than browsing through the multitude of symbols that are included with ArcGIS.

2. Temporal Mapping. ArcGIS 9.4 is becoming time aware, making it easier to make temporal maps with ArcGIS. There’s a new Time tab in the layer properties, as well as a new clock tool that allows you to set the display’s date and time.

1. Fast Basemaps. Prior to 9.4, when ArcMap updates the display, it redraws each layer sequentially. A new basemap layer in 9.4 enables continuous fast redraw.