Goodbye ArcMap

There are many, many Arcmap things I’m gleefully waving goodbye to in the rearview mirror.

Pro has many features I love and likely many more I’ve yet to discover and hold close.

On the whole though I’m not happy with this goodbye. It is another notch on the belt of good things put to sleep while vibrant life remains within.

Arcview 3 was/is speedy and easy to customize. (You thought it  fast before? Try running now on modern hardware! It takes some work, but not too much.) The .apr project file is human readable plain text. Many a broken project has been fixed with the lowly text editor. Nowadays we need plea for a seasoned developer’s attention.

Arcinfo *still* has Arcmap and Pro beat when it comes to intelligent topology and re-using data without duplication. Look up Region sub-coverages and how to have a single arc be a line, and a polygon, and a member of other polygons, as many others as you want at the same damn time. Or how about hiding internal polygon boundaries? Road re-aligned? Move it, and ALL the features it’s a part of are done at the same time. Map & Pro need sidecar after the fact processes to replicate this now. Or how about editing a single layer and being rock solid confident that it’s not possible to inadvertently move a feature in another feature class at the same time? (Finally fixed in Pro, but what about the two decades in the middle?)

I’m not going back. Pro is my daily driver, along with gdal-ogr and Qgis. Arcmap is held at the ready, used weekly. Arcview, not for a year or three. Arcinfo, not in a decade plus.

However I am sorry to see them go. With each iteration of The New Hotness on the scene, good things are left behind. Old does not equate to Old & Busted.

However my largest reservoir of sadness is held for those technicians and analysts and developers that, at each iteration, choose to opt out. Those who say: I am not running that treadmill anymore. Esri, you just invalidated years of my life. I quit. I am not reimplementing something already invented and solved in yet another tool set, just to end up in the same place we are now, and still have bits missing.

These people who have left number in the tens of thousands, and we who remain are the poorer for it. And for the most part, we don’t even know! They’re not here to tell us.

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