Tuesday, March 10, 2015


I always wanted to try out the all new ArcGIS Pro but never got a chance thanks to Esri's normal style of restricting new offerings to customers under maintenance or an active Organization subscription. (Check update at the end)
Finally today I got a chance to try it through Desktop-as-a-Service offered through NVIDIA Test Drive Virtual Machines, thanks to this blog post

Signup etc.

The signup process for the service was simple - I had to provide my name, email address, mobile number etc. A PIN was sent to my mobile number for verification. Further I had to download a desktop client (available for Windows and Mac, Linux to come soon). A Chrome app was available but did not launch for me on Ubuntu! :( Though the Chrome App invoked fine on Windows 8.1 it failed to initialize for some reason.

ArcGIS Pro Experience

NVIDIA Test Grid VM is a cloud hosted Windows 7 VM. Along with ArcGIS Pro several other leading applications are hosted there to enable test drive. Once the GRID Workspace client loaded, it took nearly a minute to show the below desktop. The subsequent responses w.r.t. application launches and further operations were good. Switching between ribbon tabs on ArcGIS Pro led to screen blurs for short time frames but that was manageable.

As explained in the Esri blog post I went on to check out the ArcGIS Pro experience - 
In this Desktop virtual machine ArcGIS Pro is setup to use the Philadelphia dataset which is provided by Pictometry. It’s ready to use. This high quality, visually appealing dataset is used by the Performance Engineering team for regular performance testing of ArcGIS Pro. It’s also used by virtualization vendors in their testing efforts to benchmark their VDI platforms.
The 3D rendering was smooth and I could move around Philadelphia using the Bookmarks option and the normal pan/zoom way.


I tried some basic geoprocessing operations like Buffer and the response was good. At the same time some toolboxes like Buffer 3D failed to load. 

I later downloaded some shapefile data and loaded them onto ArcGIS Pro to try out the labeling capabilities. Unfortunately, labeling turned out to be not very intuitive and I could not get it to work in reasonable amount of time even after checking out relevant help.

I certainly appreciate ArcGIS Pro for the advancements in terms of functionality, UI/UX that has happened since I last used ArcGIS 10 some years ago. 

Update 11-03-2015

A full 60-day trial of ArcGIS Pro is now available

Will you give ArcGIS Pro a try? Let me know your thoughts about the application.