Updated on September 3, 2020


Created on September 3, 2020


Upcoming Update

ArcGIS is a GIS software for the creation and use of spatial maps.

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Product Description

ArcGIS is a set of products offered by Esri and designed for spatial analysis.

Inside ArcGIS the following products are at service:

  • ArcReader – an application to open and query ArcGIS created maps;
  • ArcGIS Desktop (also named “ArcMap” to distinguish it from ArcGIS Pro), which is, by itself, a compilation of four fundamental applications:
    • ArcMap – designed to scan and edit 2D spatial data and creating 2D maps;
    • ArcScene – designed to scan and edit 3D spatial data in a specific local projected view;
    • ArcGlobe – intended for large 3D datasets;
    • ArcCatalog – used to manage and articulate with GIS databases;
    • ArcGIS Pro – the most recent product that integrates GIS applications, and that were designed to substitute ArcMap. Functional in 2D and 3D environments and prepared to use Artificial Intelligence

Esri offers several training options and resources, some of them free.

Another resource offered is ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World, a compilation of ready-to-use spatial data resources that can be combined with the users’ datasets. Some examples of available data types are imagery, base maps, demographic and transportation datasets.

Distributors / Implementing Organizations

The distributor of ArcGIS is Esri. ArcGIS is used by individuals, institutions, and NGOs, some examples are BEGE-RDC, Blue Raster, Direct Relief, Aid Data, and Development Gateway.

Manufacturing/Building Method

Software development

Intellectural Property Type


User Provision Model

Esri offers options for-profit and non-profit applications. Whether the user's application is for or non-profit the software is directly acquired from the manufacturer. Different license types are available according to the size of the company/non-profit. Here are some more details on for-profit licenses and non-profit licenses specifics. Several of Esri's products such as ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Desktop, and ArcGIS Enterprise are available at no cost for NGOs. Some of the possibilities include free access to the Living LabStory Maps, ArcGIS Marketplace, and MyMap tools. ESRI also supports NGOs by offering free registration to the GIS Conference and other events. There is also access to community support through Esri Support Services. Non-profit users have reported receiving free support for training and events. Details on eligibility for Esri's NGO Program can be found here.

Distributions to Date Status

It is uncertain how many users take advantage of ArcGIS services. Nonetheless, the annual Developer Summit and User Conference, held by Esri had 17,000 people attending - one of the largest gatherings in this field.

Design Specifications

ArcGIS has been growing over the years and has been including several features to its products. The list of possibilities ranging from data collection and spatial analysis is immense. Some of the possibilities of ArcGIS software are enlighted below:

  • remote real-time data collection, such as surveys, and automatic integration
  • deployment of machine learning models and feature prediction (integration with python and R consoles)
  • density analysis
  • event analysis
  • transportation systems studies
For reference, here is the FAQ list. For developers, there are several APIs and SDKs available more information can be found here.

Technical Support

Esri provides training sessions on a regular basis through Esri Academy, there are options available for individuals and organizations. Training can be held in person or online, and there are also options for users who need a tailored course. There are several resources in the Esri Academy that can be accessed freely. Special offers and discounts can apply to NGOs or to other partner organizations for specific courses. Users have reported having received support in specific projects.

Replacement Components




Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

To provide solutions for:

  • Mapping
  • Field operations
  • Spatial Analysis & Data Science
  • Imagery & Remote Sensing
  • Real-Time Visualization & Analytics
  • Data Management

Vetted Performance Status

Direct Relief conveyed the details of their aid operation in Haiti through an interactive map application based on ArcGIS. A research team, from Villanova University Puerto Rico, focusing on environmental studies and water standards reported being able to collect, store, and share data in real-time more systematically through the use of ArcGIS services. The report also mentions the ability to leverage the analysis of the collected data, to the extent of including the watershed's dynamic environment, and the impacts of major storm events.


Esri provides comprehensive documentation regarding legal and safety matters, including information on:

All information concerning legal matters can be found here.

Complementary Technical Systems


Academic Research and References

Scott, L.M., Janikas, M.V., 2010, Spatial statistics in ArcGIS, Fischer M., Getis A. (eds) Handbook of Applied Spatial Analysis. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

Thieler, R., Himmelstoss, E., Zichichi, J., Ergul, A., The digital shoreline analysis system (DSAS) version 4.0 – an ArcGIS extension for calculating shoreline change, Open-File Report 2008-1278, Prepared in cooperation with Innovate! Inc.

Marinoni, O., 2004, Implementation of the analytical hierarchy process with VBA in ArcGIS, Computers & Geosciences, Volume 30, Issue 6, Pages 637-646, ISSN 0098-3004

Olivera, F., Valenzuela, M., Srinivasan, R., Choi, J., Cho, H., Koka,  S., Agrawal, A., 2007, ARCGIS?SWAT: A GEODATA MODEL AND GIS INTERFACE FOR SWAT1, Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA), Paper No. 04087

Zhan, X., Huang, M., 2004, ArcCN-Runoff: an ArcGIS tool for generating curve number and runoff maps, Environmental Modelling & Software, Volume 19, Issue 10, Pages 875-879, ISSN 1364-8152

Compliance with regulations

ArcGIS provides compliance information on the following topics:

  • Products and Services Security
  • Privacy Initiatives
  • Solution Based
  • Cloud providers

Other Information

Crowdsourcing for NGOs and Nonprofits: Webinar, can be watched here. ArcGIS blog 7 Ways Online Maps Can Empower Your NGO Or Nonprofit

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