There is a massive, growing list of ArcGIS extensions and add-ons for you to boost your experience in ArcGIS.
From Spatial to 3D Analyst, let’s examine the 10 most popular ArcGIS extensions.
And if you want to see the tools these extensions provide, see our section on ArcToolbox.
1. Spatial Analyst
The Spatial Analyst extension, a cornerstone component of the Esri GIS suite, stands as a robust toolkit designed to delve into the intricate world of raster data analysis with a specialized focus.
This enables users to manipulate and analyze raster data, which is often a fundamental representation of continuous geographic phenomena, ranging from elevation and temperature to land cover and vegetation density. By analyzing raster data cell-by-cell, you can perform serious map algebra. For example, this extension allows you to:
- Create a least-cost path, cost corridors, and interpolation.
- Segment and classify images with remote sensing.
- Perform specialized analysis in groundwater, hydrology, and solar radiation.
2. 3D Analyst
The 3D Analyst extension, an integral part of the Esri suite of GIS tools, serves as a specialized toolkit tailored for the intricate realm of three-dimensional spatial analysis, editing, and visualization.
With this extension seamlessly integrated into the GIS environment, users gain access to a wealth of advanced capabilities that propel their geospatial analysis and visualization endeavors to new heights. By using the 3D Analyst extension, you get access to 3D software including ArcScene and ArcGlobe.
- View 3D data at a global scale using ArcGlobe.
- Focus on a local area such as neighborhoods using ArcScene.
- Edit 3D features
3. Network Analyst
The Network Analyst extension delves into the realm of network datasets, which encompass a broad spectrum of interconnected features such as roads, streets, highways, and other transportation infrastructure.
It specializes in network analysis, which mimics real-world networks, capturing the intricate relationships between nodes (locations) and edges (routes).
- Build network data sets with nodes, direction, and connectivity.
- Calculate the quickest route between two points
- Find where you can build optimal locations to service customers.
4. Geostatistical Analyst
Although Geostatistical Analyst extension closely parallels the capabilities of the Spatial Analyst extension, what sets the Geostatistical Analyst extension apart is its distinctive focus on the realm of geostatistics.
Geostatistics focuses on analyzing and interpreting spatially correlated data with a focus on predicting and interpolating values at unsampled locations based on the patterns of variation and relationships within the observed dataset.
Using geostatistics, you can better model spatial patterns and recognize uncertainty.
- Execute kriging interpolation
- Find the amount of standard error at each location.
- Process Empirical Bayesian Kriging by repeating various simulations.
The schematics extension automatically generates a simplified diagram of your network. Instead of seeing your data in a real-world view, you can create a representation of its basic structure.
If you work in utilities, traffic, and any type of networking, this extension offers a departure from traditional real-world views, allowing users to distill complex spatial relationships into clear and intuitive representations
ArcScan is a way to vectorize old scanned maps. It gives you a set of tools to clean up old maps by erasing and filling in selected cells. By cleaning the underlying image, you can better automatically digitize it through ArcScan.
At its core, ArcScan addresses the challenge of digitizing historical maps and documents that exist as raster images. These images are often pixelated and ArcScan is a specialized solution for breathing new life into vintage scanned maps.
The Tracking Analyst extension enables the integration and analysis of moving objects with the dimension of time. By integrating with GPS and sensor data, it tracks the movement of anything historic or in real-time.
Through the Tracking Analyst, users can animate the spatial progression of data points on a map. Overall, this provides a dynamic portrayal of movements for anything from tracking wildlife migrations to studying vehicle route movements.
The ArcGIS Publisher extension creates published map documents in the form of PMF files. Then, ArcReader can open PMF for easy distribution. ArcReader is a free application to explore and print published maps.
These PMF files serve as self-contained packages. It encompasses both the map layout and associated data layers so the recipients can view and interact with the maps without requiring access to the full ArcGIS software suite.
9. MXD Doctor and Document Defragmenter
Both the MXD Doctor and Document Defragmenter are stand-alone utilities that are part of a fresh Esri ArcGIS software installation. Both contribute to maintaining the health and performance of map documents (MXDs).
While MXD Doctor fixes broken MXDs, Document Defragmenter reduces file sizes for any MXD. In all honesty, both of these utilities get very little usage. But they do address issues that could affect the proper functionality that may arise within map documents.
10. XTools Pro
XTools Pro is a popular 3rd party extension, which is like having an advanced license. But it has a much smaller price tag. XTools Pro is a suite of tools. For example, you can edit in Excel and use inventive GIS operations.
Just recently, you can now use XTools Pro in ArcGIS Pro too. This broadens its scope of functionality with an enhanced toolkit for performing a diverse range of geospatial tasks within the ArcGIS Pro environment.
ArcGIS Extensions and Add-ons
ArcGIS extensions and add-ons give you the power to extend your capabilities.
Over the years, Esri has fine-tuned each one including ArcGIS Pro. All things considered, they’re only getting better with time.
What are your favorite ArcGIS extensions? Please let us know with a comment below. Or learn more about the extensions for ArcMap.