During the plenary sessions on the opening day of the conference, John Calkins of ESRI provided a list of the Top Ten enhancements to ArcGIS 9:
- Tools can now be listed alphabeticaly
- Create new feature class without starting ArcCatalog
- Printing dialog box provides a map previewer; Get the correct paper size layout before printing commences
- Interoperability and sharing: share shemas in open and published formats; export to XML document
- Web Services: users have the ability to include published web services to existing map window.For example, link to a site that has a geocoding and routing plus a site that has a language translater and print routing directions in a different language
- Improved Raster data performance
- Improved Raster data management
- Label Toolbar for Text Placement: users have the ability to automate the labeling property, show labels and feature overlaps.
- Text overlap avoidance: interference between text labels can now be detected more effectively; e.g.contour intervals which display the elevation are not overwritten by line feature.
- New Keyboard and Mouse shortcuts for easy map navigation
Lots of attention was given to interoperability but a demonstration during the Monday product review highlighted the ability to directly read data from other GIS software programs such as GeoMedia (Intergraph) and MapInfo Pro's .TAB format.This is, of course, a very useful feature, but it should not be looked upon as new technology.Intergraph's GeoMedia has had the ability to directly connect to disparate and proprietary formats, inlcuding .SHP, TAB, and DXF as well as Oracle, and SQL Server for several years, which is a key focus of their data server technology.
Maplex is a significant product achievement for ESRI.Cartogrpahic label placement has been challenging.Maplex automates font sizing so that the text is always visible within map features.No longer does the user have to worry about the label extending beyond the boundaries of a polygon, for example; Maplex will automatically resize the text font and place the text within or along the feature accordingly.For more information about key features of the product, click here.
Uniform User Interface
ArcGIS9 Desktop products (ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo) will now exhibit a common user interface.ArcGIS9 is covered more extensively in this Product Review Article by senior contributing editor, Hal Reid.