What is the meaning of Arc of the word ArcGIS?
It is a portion of the circumference of a circle. It is fitting seeing that the earth is basically a sphere with circular geometry being a foundational component of geospatial representations. Projections that render the earth as a flat surface can only deal with relatively small portions of the earth's surface without becoming extremely distorted and they all relate back to the basically spherical coordinate systems that are needed to deal with the earth's surface as a whole.
Actually, 'Arc' is referring to the straight-line vectors between the nodes of a directed graph (ref: Wolfram MathWorld). Graph theory was the original basis for ARC/INFO's storage and analysis capabilities. Circular arcs as a storage feature didn't occur in ARC/INFO until the introduction of the geodatabase construct.
From Latin... arcus info ... the circuitous path to knowledge
I want source from esri
Short of a direct quote from Jack, or an esri archivist, musing on the history can be found in The History of GIS (Geographic Information Systems): Timothy Foresman: 0076092033172: Books - Amazon.ca published in 1997 and includes citations from Roger Tomlinson and the early pioneers. Well worth a read. esri was initially an anacronym, but arc never stood for anything explicit, but perhaps implicit. I suspect that if you want to know directly, a direct contact would be more likely to yield results, although some on geonet have been around before or during the beginnings of the company and the software
(from the home of GIS... Ottawa, Canada)
From a long time customer's point of view, meaning beyond why Jack/ESRI started using the "arc" for their products, "Arc" was part of the name "ArcINFO Workstation", which was pretty much their first mainstream GIS software (1980's, although they had products before).
The "INFO" part of ArcInfo was the database from Henco, which from my knowledge (again, as a customer, not an insider) they eventually purchased so they could lock onto on version. AML, of "Arc Macro Language" was the proprietary programming language that we used to script ArcInfo, and INFO had its programming (but also accessible in/with AML). Editing (ArcEditor), plotting (ArcPlot, i.e. creating maps), ArcGRID, etc had some interactive/graphic-interface but most work production work was done with the AML programs. So, "Arc" is/was part of the branding of the products from esri.
The next decent and popular package from esri (in my opinion) was ArcView, probably version 3.x (Arcivew 1.0 was very basic, 2.x was more usable). It made creating maps much easier with a WYSIWYG ("what-you-see-is-what-you-get") interface. That line of ArcView (thru 3.1.x) used Avenue as the proprietary language (and vba). They then jumped to 7.x with a rewrite into the ArcGIS for Desktop versions we are more familiar with. And then of course the latest rewrite of ArcPro.
Specifics of their naming convention has changed (and sometime confused users) over the year, but the "Arc" seems to have stood over the years, (ArcExploerer, ArcPad, etc.), although there are now the notable exception, especially with the mobile apps (Collector, Survey123, etc).
So, again not explaining why they started with Arc.....from the customer looking at the products over the years, it was "branding". Not the only company/product that used "arc" in their name, but 99 out 100 (if there were that many products), it is most likely an esri related product). My opinion.
BTW - what everyone refers to as "ezzree" is still Environmental System Research Institute ...or E.S.R.I. to me. (Old habits).
Rebecca Strauch, GISP, it isn't too late. If Esri (ez-ree) let it go in 2010, I think 2016 is the year for you!
Lol. I don't know Joshua Bixby ...hard to wipe 31 years...with 6 of it being in protest, of course. I let it slip once in a while, so maybe there is hope...but by then they will channge it back..... (ArcGIS Desktop....ArcGIS for Desktop...) A rose is a rose...
they have started... the *.aprx (the *.apr for Gen X) .... multiple layouts (remember those) ... command line is coming as is ezzree (many of my students have adopted my slip... it is only a matter of time)
I always thought the X was for "eXtended" or "extra". As for ezzrree, and Joshua mentioned, it officially became the pronounciation in about 2010....I just haven't adopted. Call me stubborn.
For railroad cars (and maybe semi-trailers), it usually means "leased" (extended fleet??), from a rail-fans point of view, not internal knowledge.
In addition to my long "branding" rant, for the Esri online dictionary Esri Support GIS Dictionary (2nd definition in particular)
arc[data structures] On a map, a shape defined by a connected series of unique x,y coordinate pairs. An arc may be straight or curved.[data structures] A coverage feature class that represents lines and polygon boundaries. One line feature can contain many arcs. Arcs are topologically linked to nodes and to polygons. Their attributes are stored in an arc attribute table (AAT). Nodes indicate the endpoints and intersections of arcs; they do not exist as independent features. Together, the from-node and the to-node define the direction of the arc.
Bold and underline added for emphasis .....that is the short answer, and the meaning I learned when starting out. These all pretty much refer to Coverages (I.e., not modern day feature classes, or even shape files). That is, arcs are lines made up from vertices, starting and ending at nodes. With topology rules, arcs could not intersect themselves. Arcs made polygons if they enclosed an area, including if the start and end point/node were the same. Points could be standalone features/locations or be within a polygon (one-to-one) and contain the attribute information. ....then when you start talking "REGION" features, which were revolutionary at the time, you get into a whole new slew of options and flexibility.
As one of my undergrad math profs was fond of saying, "arcs aren't". In directed graphs, arcs (or edges, or lines) are always straight-line connections. In canonical ARC/INFO, arcs connected nodes, that is, if you identified an arc in ARCEDIT, it would light up all the "sub-arcs" connecting intermediate vertices between the to- and from-nodes. And you've always got to be careful with Esri's own definitions: although in the "A to Z GIS" dictionary arcs can include curves on a map, parametric curves present complex problems in topologies. The usual workaround is to use the Generalize Edge topology tool, which among other things eliminates true curves.
Interesting question as well as responses. I allude to this in my classes via a GISCO Listserver question a few years ago. Many responses as mentioned above but the best I read was...wait for it...ARC = Always Right Click...
Robert, If Arc is abbreviation and means Always Right Click ,the program name should wrote as ARCGIS but that is not true the program name is ArcGIS.
Abdullah - I guess I should have prefaced my response saying that the responder to the GISCO listserver question considered his/her answer to be a joke and not a realistic answer to the original poste'rs question of what is the meaning of Arc in Esri software. The other answers to this poster's question are more in line with the meaning of Arc. Sorry for the confusion.
I always assumed the "arc" branding was named after "arc-node topology" that is the basis of the coverage data model. ARC/INFO was the original spelling, which eventually became Arc/INFO, then ArcInfo.
Retrieving data ...