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Justifying purchasing ArcGIS

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#16
karas

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Wow... glad I started this discussion or I might not have known about this.

http://www.maptrade....join/offers.php



WOW :o Thanks for sharing that. I have been struggling on what to use to dabble with my personal maps. I can only use ArcGIS at work so this may be the solution!

And Paul - I am right there with you!! Except I don't even own Illustrator yet.

#17
ELeFevre

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You also have to consider the monetary value of being part of a large, diverse, community of users. How much is it worth every year to be able to post an Arc related question every day on a public forum and be confident that an experienced user will help you within a reasonable amount of time? What’s that worth: $500 a year, $1000 a year? IMO your decision on which GIS program to use should be based on what you want to accomplish and the level of support you need along the way. The really tough and costly part IMO is figuring out how to accurately quote a job (talk about expensive!), what type of map to create, features to include, how to represent those features, marketing, et cetera, et cetera! Great topic.



#18
CHART

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Regarding the learning curve of software .... make it short and get the job done. Each piece of software has a life cycle, which means that the vendor will pull it out of circulation to present you with a 'this is the better software now'.

Remember, Macromedia ... Freehand, ESRI ArcView 3.3. We all learned at one time some software that just does not exist anymore or is being phased out (or bought out). Just makes us good at learning new stuff all the time, all to the benefit of the big corporations. I thought I was safe with MapInfo ... same format, platform and development environment since 1985.... well now Pitney Bowes owns MapInfo ... so who knows what I will need to learn next to do my job.

Maybe in the future you will pay no upfront price for software, just a per use cost. (e.g. I need ArcGis for the next 3 month, rent it to me).
Chart

#19
Sky Schemer

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As a budding cartographer coming from a budding GIS background, I went the Manifold route because like others here I just couldn't afford anything from ESRI, but I didn't just run out and buy the first inexpensive GIS package I could find. The truth is, Manifold really does offer not just bang for the buck, but a lot of bang period. It's certainly not perfect, and it's cartographic capabilities are woefully inadequate (I'm trying to learn Illustrator well enough to solve this problem), but its ability to manipulate and process data is pretty impressive. I was actually surprised when I received my student edition of ArcView how limited of a product it really is. Much of what you need as a serious GIS analyst or programmer is in the far more expensive ArcEditor and ArcInfo licenses. This may or may not be an issue depending on what you'll need a GIS for prior to your cartographic rendering.

However, like others have said, don't expect learning Manifold (or any other GIS package, for that matter) to be helpful in learning another. Every vendor has their own way of doing things, and Manifold in particular doesn't even attempt to model themselves after ESRI. The two packages have almost orthogonal approaches to the same problem.

Global Mapper may be enough for your needs, and it is an amazing tool, but in my opinion at $279 US it's overpriced for what you get. YMMV.

#20
Martin Gamache

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I have to agree with Jacques here...working in any IT or creative field nowadays where you need to use a computer, you need to learn how to learn new software. And often times that means spending time in front of a machine playing with it. You have to budget that time into your budget and perhaps pay for classes on how to use the expensive software you just paid for.

Regarding the limits of basic Arcview, I have found that for very little money its geoprocessing capabilities can be extended dramatically with very affordable 3rd party plug-ins. That does not provide you with raster processing (which is why I have Manifold) or with Maplex. But it is a very good start.

#21
Sky Schemer

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Regarding the limits of basic Arcview, I have found that for very little money its geoprocessing capabilities can be extended dramatically with very affordable 3rd party plug-ins.


Which plug-ins would you recommend?

#22
Martin Gamache

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Edit Tools by Ianko : http://www.ian-ko.com/
and X-tools: http://www.xtoolspro.com/

Also there is some free extensions line the Minnesota DNR Garmin GPS extension and Hawths Analysis Tools: http://www.spatialec...ls/tooldesc.php
that I use alot.

#23
paul

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Maybe in the future you will pay no upfront price for software, just a per use cost. (e.g. I need ArcGis for the next 3 month, rent it to me).


My company actually does this with Inpho's Orthovista

http://www.inpho.de/..._...&kanal=html

We don't do image color-balancing, tiling, and mosaicking often enough to justify shelling out the thousands of dollars to buy it, but the program kicks enough butt to justify renting it for a month or two at a fraction of the cost. We get what we need and we move on. Maybe a year later or so, another imagery project will pop up, and we'll rent it again.

#24
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... the future is now.

Paul,

Yes some software companies are renting their software. And hopefully others will follow.

Thanks for the info regarding OrthoVista. I also believe that DVP.ca (soft copy photogrammetry) also has a similar offering.
Chart

#25
danielle

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...
Yes some software companies are renting their software. And hopefully others will follow.
...


Do you think companies would be interested in "renting" an entire GIS setup, including a trained employee?

I have been toying with the idea of offering a "mobile GIS" service for our local area. We would provide a GIS expert with fully-loaded laptop (software and data) at a customer site for a set period of time.

Has anyone here tried this kind of service? Is it hard to market? Does it end up being more hassle than it's worth?

Thanks,
Danielle

---
Danielle Hartman
http://www.comcarto.com/dhartman

#26
Martin Gamache

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Do you think companies would be interested in "renting" an entire GIS setup, including a trained employee?

I have been toying with the idea of offering a "mobile GIS" service for our local area. We would provide a GIS expert with fully-loaded laptop (software and data) at a customer site for a set period of time.

Has anyone here tried this kind of service? Is it hard to market? Does it end up being more hassle than it's worth?



Isn't that what a consultant is/does ?

#27
MapMedia

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Renting - That's a decent idea, especially if you also are an ESRI reseller as I would imagine client's weighing the costs of renting or 'just bite the bullet' and buy a software license.
If by renting, they get some sort of 'credit' towards a future license purchase, that would help. I would target engineering and environmental consultants to start.

#28
paul

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If by renting, they get some sort of 'credit' towards a future license purchase, that would help.


In the case of our experience with Inpho Orthovista, they extended 80% of our rental fee toward the purchase price (off the top of my head, anyway). So that was a nice feature to the deal, although we never ended up buying it.

#29
Charlie Frye

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Do you think companies would be interested in "renting" an entire GIS setup, including a trained employee?

I have been toying with the idea of offering a "mobile GIS" service for our local area. We would provide a GIS expert with fully-loaded laptop (software and data) at a customer site for a set period of time.

Has anyone here tried this kind of service? Is it hard to market? Does it end up being more hassle than it's worth?



Isn't that what a consultant is/does ?


ESRI's been doing this for years, the service is called rent-a-tech. Lots of companies don't want to invest in GIS, just the results of a GIS.

On the "renting software" line of thinking; it's not really a good analogy. When you "buy" software, you are actually buying a license to use somebody else's software, and you agree to terms of use. Many software companies are looking at the idea of a pay-per-use models and short-term license models; generally the simpler the software and the task it performs, the easier it is to take advantage of that model.

Imagine a geoprocessing tool server that you throw your data at, ask for a clip function, you get a quote, you agree, and moments later you get clipped data tossed back at you.

We basically do this now with mash-ups. Instead of "clip", we ask for the "show my data on this base map" tool and we get a new map, and we get that for free today because advertisers have your eyeballs...


on the screen that shows their ad.

Problem is, most software companies know how to sell licenses, not ads.

Do you really want ESRI or Adobe to have to add the overhead of soliciting advertisers like McDonalds, NASCAR, or Sam Adams just to get you to use our software.
Charlie Frye
Chief Cartographer
Software Products Department
ESRI, Redlands, California

#30
frax

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On renting software - that wouldn't give any chance to play with it and get your expertise up into it - I think it would be better to subcontract those tasks to an expert consultant that has the good tools and knows how to use them - then you get the mogrified data back.
Hugo Ahlenius
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