Have You Tried ArcExplorer Lately?

ArcGIS Explorer is not what it used to be. And that’s a good thing.

The 480 build has been released (I first heard it on SlashGeo). This is a major update with a lot of new features, tweaks, and bug fixes, but the biggest new feature is support for geodatabases. That’s right - you can add layers straight from ArcSDE to your map. Symbology options are a little limited (particularly in the labeling department, as you really can’t), but the tool tip and identify functions are customizable and very usable. Another nice addition is GeoRSS support, and word has it KML support is better (I didn’t try it).

When ArcExplorer first came out years back, I quickly downloaded it in the hopes of getting rid of some ArcView licenses. After five minutes of playing with it, I could sum up the experience with one guttural sound: “ew”.

ArcGIS Explorer is a whole different animal. Is it a Google Earth ripoff? Yes. Is that a good thing? Yes. It takes the best features of Google Earth (particularly usability) and adds in support for ESRI tools and services. We recently visited our local ESRI office for some technical demos, and this new build of ArcGIS Explorer (then a beta) was one of the best things we saw. Not only will the functionality let you replace a number of ArcView installations, the easy to use interface will help you expand the user base in your organization. Build your own Home Server with custom globes for your enterprise, and your users will be off and running.

The 480 build is currently avaialbe for download, along with the SDK and Home Server.