ArcGIS is ESRI's production GIS software. It encompasses a range of geographic information production, analysis, and display tools. The software consists of 3 primary components: ArcMap, ArcCatalog, and ArcToolbox. ArcMap is the mapping display tool used to construct maps and datasets for analysis. ArcCatalog is the data management tool, used to organize geographic data files. ArcToolbox is a set of geoprocessing tools to convert data formats, project geographic data sets, and to perform spatial analyses.
The ArcGIS software comes in several products with different levels of functionality. Each of these products includes ArcMap, ArcCatalog, and ArcToolbox, but may vary in the functionality available in each tool.
ArcGIS for Desktop
The core ArcGIS product. ArcGIS for Desktop includes ArcMap, ArcCatalog, and ArcToolbox. The ArcGIS for Desktop package also includes ArcScene and ArcGlobe. ArcGIS for Desktop is available at three license levels: Basic, Standard, and Advanced). The university's license allows us to use any of these, so we generally install the Advanced (ArcInfo) version, unless a specific installation calls for a lower license level.
Basic (formerly ArcView)
ArcView is the basic GIS package. It provides tools for producing maps and basic data analysis. It also has tools for editing simple geographic data files. ArcView is available in a standalone version (does not require a license manager or hardware key, as ArcInfo Desktop does).
Standard (formerly ArcEditor)
ArcEditor provides the ability to edit geographic data files, in addition to basic mapping functionality provided by ArcView. It is available in a standalone version.
Advanced (formerly ArcInfo)
ArcInfo is the high-end production GIS package. It provides a full range of cartographic, data base, and spatial analysis tools. It also requires a hardware key and license server.
ArcScene is an additional tool provided with ArcGIS for producing 3-D perspective views of geographic data, particularly terrain data. It includes tools for constructing 3-D animations and fly-overs.
ArcGlobe is an additional tool for producing global views of geographic data, using a 3-D sphere as the foundation. You manipulate your view of the data by "rotating" the globe on the display. You can zoom in to specific locations for more detailed examinations of data.
We also have access to number of extensions for ArcGIS, in addition to the standard packages,
Spatial Analyst is an ArcGIS extension providing tools for raster (grid-based) modeling.
3-D Analyst is an ArcGIS extension providing tools for modeling 3-D data.
Geostatistical Analyst is an ArcGIS extension providing tools for analyzing data using Kriging.
Tracking Analyst is an ArcGIS extension providing tools for real-time tracking of data, such a monitoring vehicle movement.