Switching to ArcGIS Pro from ArcMap

ESRI Press recently released a new book titled “Switching to ArcGIS Pro from ArcMap”.  I decided to check it out and let you all know about it.

switchingtoprol

The book is in 8×10 size format and is rather skinny, only 3/8 inches thick.  Some of you might call this a pamphlet, not a book.  There are 172 pages in color.  ESRI will charge you $50 if you buy it from themAmazon about $31 for the book and $28 for Kindle version.

The author of the book is Maribeth Price, Professor of Geology and Dean of Graduate Education for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.  She teaches college GIS courses and has written textbooks using ESRI software.

If you need to learn GIS, this is not the book for you.  The book was written for seasoned ArcMap users who understand the GIS terminology, data structures, and procedures when using ArcGIS software.  The book focuses on how ArcGIS Pro is different from ArcMap and quickly tries to enable someone to make the transition to Pro.  The book leverages a user’s ArcMap knowledge to help them learn ArcGIS Pro quickly and efficiently.

The book assumes the user has a license for ArcGIS Pro, though it does come with an eval code on the inside back cover for a 180-day trial license which you can get through the book’s resource page.  An organizational account for ArcGIS Online is recommended, however the first few exercises can be used with an ArcGIS Online public account.  Data comes with the book for the exercises and can be downloaded from the book’s resource page.

The book is organized into 11 chapters, which you can look at here.  As you can see, the book takes you through the GUI, working with a project, 2D and 3D navigation, symbolizing features, labeling, geoprocessing, joining and relating tables, creating layouts, managing data, and editing data … all the basics to get you up to speed using Pro.  The exercises in each chapter help users become accustomed to the new interface and get hands-on experience using the tools and workflows in Pro.  You can take a look at a sample chapter here.

The book is good for someone like me who has been using ArcMap since version 8!  I hate the ribbon interface that Pro uses, just like other Microsoft Windows products like Word and Excel, I find it very hard to find what I am looking for.  However, I understand why ESRI went this way, trying to keep the user experience the same with a similar GUI.  The GUI is highly context sensitive, meaning that it changes on the basis of what you are currently doing, thus making the relevant tools more accessible, but again can be very confusing because commands and tools do not stay put … but I digress.

Each chapter has opening text that explains the concepts and tasks you are about to do in the exercises.  Then in the “Time to explore” section, the exercises, or “objectives”, are easy to follow with step by step instructions.

I like the format of the book.  I find the portions of the interface you are exposed to rather limited and basic, but that is what this book is about, to get the ArcMap user up to speed with common GIS and mapping tasks in Pro.  A deeper dive you can do with the ArcGIS Pro Help or even try out some other books like Getting to Know ArcGIS Pro or even going through a single project from start to finish in Understanding GIS An ArcGIS Pro Project Workbook.

The book does tackle the question “When should I switch?”.  Some examples of delaying switching over to Pro include:

  • The organization does not have enough computers capable of running Pro
  • Some critical functionality may not yet be available in Pro
  • Your organization has custom scripts or tools that must be updated to run in Pro
  • Third party extensions might not run in Pro
  • Pro does not recognize personal geodatabases and ArcInfo coverages
  • The Excel interpreter is different and seems less forgiving than the one in ArcMap
  • The annotation editing tools in Pro are still catching up to ArcMap

But do not wait too long, for ArcMap’s days are numbered.

If you are looking for a basic good book to help you with migrating from ArcMap to Pro, this is worth getting a copy.  -mike

4 thoughts on “Switching to ArcGIS Pro from ArcMap

  1. Thanks, Mike! Great info. That sounds like a good book to try out.

    Transitioning to Pro is tough for those of us that work in very high-paced places. We don’t have the luxury of spending hours figuring out where a toolbar went or which ribbon to use. I think that keeps a lot of people from transitioning to it completely. I’ve been using Arc products since command-line ArcInfo (eek!) and I agree with you that it is a steep curve to move to the ribbon interface. Maybe it is the spatial nature of our GIS brains … we expect things to stay in the same place!! 🙂

    I can attest that making a mulit-page atlas is much simpler and results are more elegant in Pro than it was in ArcMap. I still use ArcMap daily, though, and going back and forth between the two can be challenging.

    Thanks for taking the time to share this information.
    -Diana

  2. Thank you for the review, Mike, just might make the investment. Am glad to learn I’m not the only one who is no fan of the ribbon interface. Customizing symbology is now a quagmire of buried settings. =P
    klf

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