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Use ArcExplorer to view GIS data Apps
The company I work for does a lot of environmental data management systems for state and federal environmental agencies. These kind of systems often have a good size spatial data component which requires integration most often with ESRI's products (mainly ArcSDE and ArcIMS). ESRI is pretty good about supporting the Java development community, but until now, there was no easy way for me to quickly view and query GIS data from my Mac.

I am not sure when ESRI published ArcExplorer, but recently I found the Mac version. This allows me to quickly interrogate ESRI shape files, ArcInfo coverages, and ArcSDE layers -- something that previously required opening my Wintel laptop. Here is a short description of this product from ESRI website:
This freely-available software offers an easy way to perform a variety of basic GIS functions, including display, query, and data retrieval applications. It can be used on its own with local data sets, or as a client to Internet data and map servers.
For more information and a free download (does require registration), go to the ArcExplorer page.
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It's been available for over a year
Authored by: jecwobble on Dec 03, '04 11:24:19AM
I downloaded it close to two years ago, if memory serves me. If all you need to do is look at GIS data, then it's fine. If you need to print, it's limited. And if you need to edit, you'll need some other tool (like Grass, perhaps?).

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Another Reason to Speed Up Macs
Authored by: schneb on Dec 03, '04 12:48:45PM

As one who works for ESRI, I was saddened that they were not going to port ArcGIS to OSX or even UNIX. The faster the Mac gets over the PC, the more our users will start making noise about it and ESRI will listen. In the mean time, take a look at the following package.

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Another Reason to Speed Up Macs
Authored by: landis on Dec 03, '04 02:09:27PM

As an employee of ESRI maybe you could point us to the most efficient place to demand an OS X version of ArcGIS?

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ESRI Contact
Authored by: schneb on Dec 03, '04 04:16:37PM

Sure...]Click Here

The above requires an account setup process, but this is the "horse's mouth" place to make your desires known.


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ESRI Contact II
Authored by: schneb on Dec 03, '04 04:21:31PM

Make sure you make your case. Don't just say you want it because you want it. Tell them why you think it is important such as...

Macintosh is UNIX based and thereby more secure and stable.
Macintosh is becoming more efficient and faster that Microsoft based systems.

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ESRI Contact II
Authored by: mrgerbek on Dec 04, '04 01:22:44PM
Some more ideas:
  • Apple makes better laptops
  • Really good maps still usually move from Arc to Illustrator for final touches. Macs are still better for graphic design
  • We're tired of using ArcView 3.a for Mac in classic
  • Its a full-time job keeping Windows patched

Be Green

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ESRI Contact II
Authored by: schneb on Dec 06, '04 01:39:59PM

All good points. Thanks everyone!

Note: Contact information is below.

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ESRI Contact II
Authored by: raed on Dec 05, '04 12:32:33AM

I would also add that developing there app for Tiger they could take advantage of things like Core image, and a 64 bit OS and processor architecture. Additionally Apples development tools would probably speed there product to market.

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Another Reason to Speed Up Macs
Authored by: seanasy on Dec 06, '04 04:31:53PM

I'm doing a Master's degree in GIS and Remote Sensing which, for the GIS part, is pretty much all ArcGIS. And, while I'd love to do my school work on my Powerbook, asking ESRI for a Mac port is a bit of a double-edged sword. I really have no faith in their ability to develop a decent interface. So, I lust after and fear a Mac port.

ArcGIS is such a beast that to do a decent Mac port would be a huge undertaking. My fear is that it would be a kludge. They'd probably do it in Java and make it exactly like the Windows versions are something similarly un-Mac like. Maybe I'm not giving them enough credit.

Still, I would like to see a natively developed OS X GIS package. The Mac's historically good graphics processing and vectory goodness makes it seem a natural thing. I even saw a reference to "geospatial applications" on Apple's Tiger overview. That got me excited. I hope they're hinting at something.

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Use ArcExplorer to view GIS data
Authored by: anoved on Dec 04, '04 07:59:49PM
Occupying similar niches to ArcExplorer, check out QGIS and JUMP. I've some rough guides to using them on Mac OS X posted at I am happy to see interest in Macintosh GIS applications. As a Mac fan and a geography major, I've been thinking about putting together a page with listings of every Mac compatible GIS or geography-related program I can find.

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Use ArcExplorer to view GIS data
Authored by: anoved on Dec 05, '04 12:00:50PM
Two existing indices of Mac geography software have been brought to my attention since my post yesterday:

Might be worth a browse.

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