Installing ArcGIS Explorer (AGX)

Below are my thoughts on my first play with AGX. They say the initial distribution is only available to those with existing ESRI Server maintenance licenses. None-the-less, I was able to download from ESRI downloads without explicitly providing license codes. The download page also provides links to the forum area where you can learn what issues others have experienced.

Note that to download AGX’s 29Mb install file you will need an ESRI Global account and pre-installed Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0. Read the installation notes, links are given. Apart from that, the installation was painless.

Initial opening of the application allows you to set your home server, whether it be ESRI’s or your own. It was disconcerting not immediately having any data (content) to drape over the visible wireframe. So I needed to search around. I found a satellite_world.nml (project file) at ArcGIS Online. I simply downloaded to my harddisk and opened it using AGX – later learnt that you can simply load from the link. There is also a metadata file at the ArcGIS Online website to learn about what data you are looking at.

At first it was slow, likely due to caching as it became much faster as I started moving about.

Lots of tools to play with – measure, find, transparency, swipe, … and given that you can add a multitude of content from services such as ArcGIS, IMS and WMS servers or kml, shape, raster, geodatabases and nmf files, it is impressive. I see the range of ‘web-services’ (tools) becoming available to really take off – just like it did when ArcView hit the streets.

My only complaint at the moment is that I would like to have seen some pre-installed data (imagery) to quickly see something on the globe and get accustomed to it. Now that I have just set the startup option to be the satellite.nmf file that issue is now solved.



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