ArcGIS 10.5 boldly goes where no version has gone before

The ArcGIS 10.5 release is almost with us and is bringing some major changes to those of you working with ArcGIS for Server. Following on from the 10.5 release will be the next version or ArcGIS Pro, 1.4. We'll be looking at some of the new capabilities in detail in the new year but here's an overview to set the scene.

ArcGIS Enterprise

At 10.5, ArcGIS for Server becomes ArcGIS Enterprise. Shakespeare had his own view on the significance or irrelevance of names, but in technology they need to reflect the purpose and capabilities of the component. ArcGIS deployments continue to evolve and are delivering the wider capabilities of the platform to organisations - via Web GIS. 10.5 adds new capabilities with Portal for ArcGIS now an integral part of the system. Changing the name to ArcGIS Enterprise will make it easier to communicate what the platform can deliver when we are talking to colleagues and stakeholders that haven't experienced the expansion in capability.

The core components of ArcGIS Enterprise are the familiar set: Portal for ArcGIS, ArcGIS Server, ArcGIS Web Adapter and, optionally, ArcGIS Data Store. ArcGIS Enterprise will support a range of deployment patterns but the licensing will be based on the role that a server is fulfilling in a deployment (rather than software extensions). Servers that are delivering mapping and visualisation capabilities will be licensed with the ArcGIS Server role. Adding specialist capabilities is achieved by commissioning additional servers that are licensed to fulfill one of the following roles: 

  • ArcGIS GeoAnalytics Server - a new option that introduces fast batch analysis of geospatial big data,
  • ArcGIS GeoEvent Server (formerly GeoEvent Extension)
  • ArcGIS Image Server (formerly Image Extension)
  • ArcGIS Business Analyst Server

Although the licensing model is changing ArcGIS GeoEvent Server will provide the same real-time GIS capabilities that the GeoEvent Extension delivers. This is also true for ArcGIS Image Server, but 10.5 adds new raster analytics tools - which enable distributed processing and analysis of imagery and rasters. Upgrading to ArcGIS Enterprise will require re-authorisation of the servers for the new licensing roles.

ArcGIS Enterprise will also introduce the ability to engage in portal to portal collaboration - allowing you to share your maps, apps, and content securely between multiple Portal for ArcGIS deployments. 

ArcGIS Insights

Some of you may have seen Dan's tour of Insights at our annual conference earlier in the year and 10.5 sees its first release. Insights lets you explore your data in a very intuitive and visual way by building a workbook of maps, charts and tables. These are managed and configured as cards with each one giving a live snapshot of the spatial analysis. The cards are interactive and linking them allows you to explore data relationships. The power of Insights for ArcGIS comes from its ability to integrate a variety of data sources, even if that data doesn't have an obvious geographic component. 

ArcGIS Pro 1.4

ArcGIS Pro is being updated and 1.4 will be released in the new year. I've been working on 3D projects recently so I'm looking forward to seeing the tools for multipatch editing. Georeferencing arrives into Pro with this release. It also has improved processing and analysis for imagery, as well as new options for creating and using vector tiles. If you can't wait to see what's coming you can apply to participate in the alpha program here and help us test the new version. 

ArcMap VBA compatibility retires

The upcoming ArcGIS Desktop 10.5 release will not include the Microsoft VBA compatibility setup. Microsoft have stopped providing fixes or troubleshooting Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications. In light of this, Esri can no longer support distribution of VBA. If you are affected by this there are some suggested options here.

Geocoding changes in Desktop and Server at 10.5

Improvements to the way geocoding is handled at 10.5 have resulted in some changes, including locator storage, that may require a change to workflows. This doesn't affect LocatorHub users and there are more details here.

You can read about the upgrade process on our Tech support blog here.