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ArcGIS Desktop. This just is not working well enough for us.

Question asked by joincto on Sep 2, 2015
Latest reply on Sep 2, 2015 by timothy_hales-esristaff

Over the last several weeks I have made several postings to Geonet

about specific issues. I think all but one remain unresolved,

though not through any fault of those responders who have

tried to help with the experience they have (thank you all).


My overall assessment of this software (I am talking 10.3.1 Basic,

but previous 10.1+ versions exhibit these problems), is that the product

is a trying experience for anyone not blessed with the patience

of Job.


1. It is geologically slow. I have a the latest MacBook Pro, 16G solid state memory,

   run Windows under Parallels. I allocate 8G to windows, and ARcGIS can use only 4G.

  Windows7 boots into this hard/software environment within 5 seconds. My not exceptionally

  complex maps take about a minute, and frequently much longer to display on ArcGIS invocation.


2. The maps are endless redrawing, with attendant delay, for no apparent reason.

   and, contrariwise, I often see "redrawing Cancelled" also for no apparent reason.


3. Two maps of mine became corrupted for no obvious reason -- they had been displayed,

    and so reports generated about them with python scripts, but no saving and/or

   programmatic change had been requested.


4. The software seems to become slower the longer it remains up.


5. Basemap layers don't display correctly after extended uptime (see details in another post).


6. The python interface has at least one serious bug -- python dies or hangs. (see details in another post)

    Python scripts take an absolute eternity to run.


7. The program sometimes hangs, becoming completely unresponsive, and has to be restarted.


8. Certain spatial joins fail completely (see details in another post)


9. Every time (and I do mean every 10.0=>10.1,10.1=>10.2, 10.2=>10.3.1)

   I upgrade this software, I run into some problem or other,

   whether benign or not is difficult to say. Most recently, with 10.3.1,

   I get a cryptic message about "Tom Sawyer Software" being unable

   to register a DLL. That last one seems to be benign, and was investigated

  by ESRI with no answer being forthcoming.


10. Many of the python based tools have interfaces which are not well designed.

   For instance, the spatial join tool allows one to discard certain feature from

   a target layer in the join, but these have to be deleted one by one, which

   is unnecessarily time consuming. Some of the tools display

   existing layers in a dropdown list, but a bug with the BA analyst means

  that the list scrolls to the lowest layer in the map, when it is far

   more likely that the layer of interest is atvthe top of the list (reported and

   confirmed as a bug more than one year ago; no fix in sight)


11. And one more thing that I forgot in my list above (added on edit). Why

   is the software always asked me whether I want to save a map

   that has not changed? Just displayed; no changes of any kind made.

   But still asks me on exit whether I wish to save it.


12. The arcpy api is still does not allow one to identify

     dataset joins. It does not allow editing of field aliases. And

     the whole design of it seems confusing and contorted.


My overall impression of this software is that features have been piled into it

without sufficient regard for software bloat and performance, and  without

sufficient testing on various software environments which supposedly are supported.


Our small company (NSW corp, private) has spent something like 35K on this

software over three years for single use, desktop only, licenses.

I think we should expect better than this. ESRI support is always

polite, and often quite helpful on smaller issues (often with workarounds), but these big ticket

performance problems and bugs are just wasting my time and preventing us

from bringing to fruition the analysis which GIS is intended to help us solve.

In the last three weeks or so I think I have spent more than half my time

seeking help on Geonet (thanks to all for help/advice received), and that

is just too much.


Rob Stevens

NSW Corp.