TitleBodyTechnical Expertise RequiredCostAdditional Information

ArcCatalog is a geobase administration application within ESRI's ArcGIS suite whose primary role is to maintain geospatial data and the corresponding metadata. ArcCatalog provides an integrated and unified view of all the data files, databases, and ArcGIS documents, integrating information that exists in many forms, including relational databases, files, ArcGIS documents, and remote GIS web services. In ArcGIS 10, ArcCatalog is folded into ArcMap - the mapping and analysis application. Users have several choices of how metadata is displayed and metadata editing is easily performed as the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) metadata requirements are enforced in the application. Metadata is stored in an XML file that 'stays' with the geospatial dataset. ArcCatalog also allows users to connect to other geospatial data servers, create address locators, and create connections to other databases (ODBC) and spatial databases (SDE).

No programmingCost-basis



CatMDEdit is a metadata editor tool that facilitates the documentation of resources, focusing on the description of geographic information resources. The metadata conforms to Dublin Core and ISO 19115 (Geographic Information) standards. Automatic metadata generation for some common geospatial data file formats including Shapefile, DGN, ECW, FICC, GeoTiff, GIF/GFW, JPG/JGW, and PNG/PGW. CatMDEdit allows the automatic creation of metadata for collections of related resources, in particular spatial series that arise as a result of the fragmentation of geometric resources into datasets of manageable size and similar scale.

There are Spanish, English, French, Polish, Portuguese and Czech versions. CatMDEdit is an initiative of the National Geographic Institute of Spain (IGN), which is the result of a scientific and technical collaboration between IGN and the Advanced Information Systems Group (IAAA) of the University of Zaragoza with the technical support of GeoSpatiumLab (GSL).

No programmingFree
ESRI ArcGIS Explorer

ArcGIS Explorer is a geographical information system (GIS) viewer to explore, visualize, and share GIS information. It provides a freely-distributable way to share products produced by ESRI's commercial products.

There are two versions: one for the desktop, the other on-line. The on-line version includes support for time-enabled maps.

No programmingFree

There is a free SDK available for download.

ESRI ArcGIS ModelBuilder

ESRI's ArcGIS Desktop software contains ModelBuilder, which is a work flow tool that enables the creation and execution of consistent, repeatable models that are comprised of one or more processing steps. ModelBuilder can be used to ensure the integrity of a particular model or set of analytical processes through modeling, storing, and publishing complex operations and workflows. ModelBuilder workflows can be created and executed on both the desktop and over the web. Within ModelBuilder, a model consists of processes and the connections between them. Parameters can be defined that will be filled into a pop-up form at runtime. Most of the geoprocessing tools available within ArcGIS can be used as processes within ModelBuilder as part of a workflow. Model workflows can also be rerun with different data or inputs for evaluating scenarios. ModelBuilder is included in all license levels of ArcGIS Desktop. Models created can also be exported as scripts in Python and other programming languages.

Basic programming skillsCost-basis

ModelBuilder is a part of the ArcGIS software package. You must have an ArcGIS license to use ModelBuilder.

ESRI ArcGIS Online

ArcGIS Online is a system created by ESRI aimed at providing a common platform to find, share, and organize geographic content and to build GIS applications. The web front end to ArcGIS Online is ArcGIS.com. Through ArcGIS Online you can access maps, applications, and tools published by ESRI and other geographic information systems (GIS) users.

ArcGIS Online provides web services that the user can use as data sources in ESRI products such as ArcMap, and for geoprocessing and analysis.

You can also upload and share your own content through ArcGIS Online. ArcGIS Online enables you to control who can access the resources that you upload. You can create one or more user groups, within which you an share resources and collaborate. ESRI provides services that enable you to host your own content in ArcGIS Online, and you can publish your content as part of a community basemap that users can access freely through ArcGIS Online as a map service. ArcGIS Online also includes tools for creating online maps and for viewing maps created by others.

No programmingFree
ESRI ArcGIS Server

ArcGIS Server is a component of the ESRI suite of commercial software focused on the ability to create, manage, and distribute GIS services over the Web to support desktop, mobile and Web mapping applications.

The user can choose from Basic, Standard, or Advanced editions of ArcGIS Server. Costs vary depending on the level of service required.


Available in the cloud computing environment: http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/arcgisserver/cloud.html.
This software is included on many university ESRI site licenses
Esri and the Esri Logo are licensed trademarks of Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc.


ESRI provides three application program interfaces (API) for embedding Internet mapping capabilities into websites. The JavaScript API requires only a text editor, while the Silverlight/WPF and Flex versions may require additional licensing/software (see additional information below). These applications can be used with many online GIS web services, including several offered free of charge at ArcGIS.com.

Basic programming skillsFree



ArcMap is the map display and editing workhorse for the ESRI ArcGIS Geographical Information System (GIS) software package. It is most widely used for map creation, but also has broad capabilities for editing and analysis. The "Toolbox" available in ArcMap provides an encyclopedic array of GIS data manipulation and analysis functions for almost any application.

ArcMap is included in three versions of ArcGIS Desktop, each with an increasing array of capabilities. "ArcView" provides basic mapping functionality. "ArcEditor" adds the ability to create and edit data and to do interconversions between raster and vector data formats. Finally, "ArcInfo" contains the full array of mapping, editing and analysis features.

ArcMap is sold with a number of "extensions" that, if purchased, extend the capabilities to allow manipulation and analysis of additional forms of data or add additional capabilities. For example, the "Spatial Analyst" extension provides capabilities for the manipulation and analysis of raster data such as satellite images and digtal elevation model (DEM) data, including image processing and hydrologic analysis functions.

Scripting of functions is provided in several languages, with built-in support for Python programming within the ArcMap interface.

No programmingCost-basis
FRAGSTATS: Spatial Pattern Analysis Program for Categorical Maps

FRAGSTATS is a computer software program designed to work with geospatial data to help the user categorize landscape patterns and metrics, and is useful in identifying areas where land use activities have resulted in fragmentation of the landscape. The current release is version 3.3

The program is currently undergoing another major revamping, which will result in the release of version 4.0 sometime in 2011.

No programmingFree

Version 3.3 is a stand-alone program written in Microsoft Visual C++ for use in the Windows Operating environment. It accepts raster images in a variety of formats, including Arc Grid, ASCII, 16 or 32 bit BINARY, ERDAS, and IDRISI image files. However, currently FRAGSTATS does not work with newer versions of ERDAS Imagine files.

GeoNetwork OpenSource

GeoNetwork OpenSource is an open source geospatial data catalog service host, metadata creation and management system, and basic web mapping platform that is in broad use by a number of international organizations in deploying their Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). GeoNetwork implements a set of key international geospatial standards, including catalog service (OGC Catalog Services for Web [CSW], z39.50), metadata (FGDC, ISO19139, Dublin Core [for general documents]), and map visualization (OGC Web Map Services [WMS]) standards that allow for integration of GeoNetwork services into national (i.e. NBII, Geospatial OneStop) and international (i.e. GEOSS) geospatial data discovery and access programs.

Basic programming skillsFree
  • Federal Geographic Data Committee Documentation for the GEO Extension of the z39.50 ANSI/NISO standard: http://www.fgdc.gov/standards/projects/GeoProfile
  • Open Geospatial Consortium Catalogue Service Standard: http://www.opengeospatial.org/standards/specifications/catalog