Mapping with ArcGIS Pro

Discussion created by sobrienHEI on May 15, 2015
Latest reply on May 18, 2015 by ksjosh82

I was recently inclined to give ArcGIS Pro another shot for mapping when I saw a video here on GeoNet, a presentation about authoring maps with Pro. I am a GIS user who uses ArcGIS Desktop for making maps on a daily basis. I am intrigued by Pro and the implemented functions for mapping. The drawing is fast, anti-aliasing makes features look smooth, and true transparency gives the user added display options. Updating labels in the ribbon and previewing map changes without having to go through multiple dialog boxes is fantastic. Multiple layouts will be a huge help for being able to make multiple maps with the same data.


However, in my opinion, there are too many drawbacks for this to be used as a mapping application at the moment. The first (and for me the most important) is the lack of snapping guides. I understand that these are in the works for a future release, but not having the page and elements aligned and spaced consistently is the sign of a novice map maker. I know that there are “Size and Position” tools in the ribbon, but those aren’t very convenient, especially if there are multiple elements that need to be moved. If there is a background offset to an element, the "Size and Position" interface is basically worthless.


The next issue is the map surrounds that most people would use in a map (Scale Bar, North Arrow, and Legend). In almost every map I make, I use these elements. When I use these elements, I usually have some sort of background to make these elements stand out. There are some limitations to these element backgrounds. For instance, the legend does not rescale when you resize it (see attachment). I like the ability to do this without having to convert the legend to graphics, but I would still like the option for the legend to rescale (I could not find this functionality). When I make scale bars, I prefer to make the border in the horizontal direction longer than the vertical direction. As far as I can tell, there is no way to do this in Pro.


There are a couple of other key features missing in Pro. The extent indicator for inset maps, and Data Driven Pages. The lack of some features wouldn’t be a big issue if there was a way to export the Pro document to Desktop. I understand that because of all the features Pro offers, being able to export to an .mxd would be a pain for developers (or maybe even impossible). The tradeoff is this, if there is a function that I need to create my map, and it’s not in Pro, I need to remake the whole map again in Desktop. This alone is enough to deter me from ever starting a map in Pro, no matter how useful the new features are.


Pro has a lot of potential when it comes to mapping, and I don't want this to be interpreted as me thinking Pro will never get there. However, it is my the product that is out there today isn’t sufficient for users who need to map frequently. I welcome anyone to correct me on any of my points or offer any rebuttal. I've only tried it for a few days. This is why I started this page as a discussion. If anyone has any input I'd love to hear it.