A new text for a new GIS experience
Although the concepts of GIS have remained fairly constant over time, the software is continually
evolving. With the release of ArcGIS Pro, the latest software in the Esri GIS family, a new generation
of GIS has arrived. ArcGIS Pro has a 64-bit, multithreaded architecture, uses ribbon-style
menus, integrates 2D and 3D applications, and is closely tied to ArcGIS Online.
This text constitutes a major rewrite of Mastering ArcGIS, a book that covered GIS concepts
and skills using the ArcGIS Desktop programs of ArcMap and ArcCatalog. Although the GIS
concepts largely remain the same in both texts, the implementation, and in some cases the
terminology, has changed. The new software has also prompted a reorganization of the book in
several important ways.
First, the book has been refocused on the basics of GIS. The ArcGIS Pro software capabilities
are improving with each new version but have not yet completely matched the capabilities of
ArcMap. Partly for this reason, and partly to better match the rhythm of a semester, the book
is now presented in 12 chapters, leaving time for instructors to better incorporate exams and
projects within the semester. Some of the more advanced and less frequently used skills, such
as planar topology and standards-based metadata, have been left for students to explore on
Second, the book includes some new topics. Raster data management has been discussed in a
new chapter to acquaint students with compiling and processing raster data sets, supplementing
a similar chapter on vector data management. ArcGIS Pro was designed to foster the sharing of
GIS data and workflows, and these enhanced capabilities are explored in another new chapter,
including how to prepare a database for collecting data using mobile devices.
Third, the chapters and topics have been reorganized to eliminate some repetition and to present
the information more logically. The text still roughly follows the project model with data management
presented first and analysis second.
The tutorials, questions, and exercises have been rewritten. I have tried to incorporate more
open-ended and creative questions in the exercises, rather than relying on cut-and-dried questions
and answers. Although this approach makes grading a little harder for instructors, I believe it
enhances student learning and makes the exercises more interesting.