ArcView GIS from ESRI has evolved as the leading "desktop" GIS program for Wintel machines - overtaking its main competitor Mapinfo. The strong market position of ESRI appears to have lead in certain aspects to a similar attitude as found by Billy Gates's Microsoft: The company is extremely innovative, but the products they sell (at very high prices) are far from being faultfree. Thus, on my computers, ArcView and Microsoft Word are the two programmes which crash most frequently - and I have many programs installed on my computer. BTW, shareware review (restricted to those programs which I have not only installed but use regularly) is now availabe.

One of the strongest features of ArcView is its adaptability. ArcView comes together with an object-oriented script language called Avenue. Although hardly user-friendly, both the appearance and the functionality of ArcView can be manipulated through Avenue. While the loading and running of scripts has its draw-backs, GIS users less experienced in Avenue are encouraged to use so-called "extensions", which can be loaded and integrate completely into the GUI.

There are commercial extensions (sometimes shareware) and others, which are available free of charge. The latter may originate from ESRI itself, staff at governmental institions or programmers who want to advertise their programming skills. Both the webpages of ESRI and the ArcView-L discussion list give links to these extensions. Those, which appear to me as most relevant are listed and evaluated below.

Because of the large number of really good extensions, a grouping is done to facilitate orientation:

Some extensions have been listed under more than one of the above groups. And the following "stuff" exceeds the above categories as well.

Last not least, here are some basic but extremely useful functions. As they are hardly at all documented in the ArcView help system, I describe them here.

There are always new scripts added on ESRI's Arc Script page. In the past, I visited this page a few times per week.

Links to the subject are found on the respective Link Page of the Open Directory Project, for which I had been an editor some years ago.

status: 25.09.2009

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