ArcGIS’ Future — Sans Extensions?

While watching the Esri Federal GIS Conference last week, I tweeted this when Jack was talking about new features to the raster manipulation tools in ArcGIS 10.1.

Now if you were sitting there, you know you didn’t actually hear Jack say that. What he actually said was that you didn’t need external tools to manipulate rasters anymore. My Erdas joke aside, basically Esri is embedding tools into ArcGIS for Desktop that a year ago you’d pay another company for.

Now I don’t work with rasters anymore like I used to, but I can see the big picture here. Esri is filling in the spaces on their ArcGIS suite with tools that others used to provide. And even more interesting, they are including these tools essentially for free with your ArcGIS license. Maybe 10 years ago, you’d see an Extension for ArcGIS where raster tools could be licensed to those who might need them. Now they are being given away with the master ArcGIS package.

And it isn’t just raster, Lidar tools, 3D tools and other features users want are being backed right into the core ArcGIS package. This is a huge shift for Esri and one that I think Esri users will be very happy with. I still wake up in a cold sweat because I had a nightmare where all the Spatial Analyst tools were checked out and I had a deadline in 5 minutes. Now I’m not sure that we’ll see all these existing extensions being rolled into the core (some of it is probably licensing, see Data Interop), but you have to wonder what changes might be in store with 10.2 11 next year.


You can now flash some more cash around thanks to less software maintenance costs

The image manipulation tools in ArcGIS 10.1 look pretty sweet and given that we’ll have them available in the core ArcGIS package might make many Analysts jump for joy. I guess many can take that Erdas maintenance costs and buy something cool.

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