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ArcView GIS showing data for the Chesapeake Bay.
|Initial release||October 5, 1995|
|Stable release||3.3 / May 22, 2002|
|Operating system||Mac OS, DG/UX|
ArcView 3.x was a geographic information system software product produced by ESRI. It was replaced by new product line in 2000, regardless, many users still find the software useful. Some hold the opinion ArcView 3.x is a superior product for some editing tasks.
ArcView started as a graphical program for spatial data and maps made using ESRI's other software products. In subsequent versions, more functionality was added to ArcView and it became a true GIS program capable of complex analysis and data management. The simple GUI was preferred by many over the less user friendly, more powerful ARC/INFO that was primarily used from a Command-line interface.
ArcView 1.0 was released in 1995 to provide access to GIS for non-traditional users of the technology. ESRI's flagship professional GIS at the time, Arc/INFO, was based on a command line interface and was not accessible to users that only needed view and query capability. The release did not support Shapefiles at the time.
ArcView 1 was very popular, and ESRI promised a more functional 2.x version of the product. This product was developed using a multi-platform windowing environment called Neuron Data, which allowed the product to be supported on the increasingly popular Windows 95 and Windows 2000, UNIX, and Mac OS 9 platforms. This product, when finally released (18 months after its initial release date) was very successful for ESRI and brought GIS technology to many people who had not used it before.
ArcView GIS 3.x
ArcView 3.x included even more full-featured GIS functionality, including a geoprocessing wizard and full support of extensions for raster and 3d processing. It was eventually renamed "ArcView GIS" by ESRI.
In 1997, ESRI released its final version supporting Mac OS9 (3.0a). It is still available, although it only runs on older (PowerPC-based) Mac systems, under Mac OS9.
The last release of ArcView GIS was version 3.3 (May 22, 2002), and was offered for both Unix and Windows variants. The release cannot be installed on Windows Vista or later versions. It can be installed/copied from an Windows XP machine to Vista and Windows 7 (search Esri Forums for Instructions).
Reasons Some Users Prefer ArcView 3.x
Many GIS professionals and users continue to use ArcView 3. Even users with access to ArcGIS 9-10 often continue to install and use ArcView 3.x.
ArcView 3.x advantages include faster start up, dissolving, spatially joining or summary of large data sets being quicker, and the ability to promote selected records. Small scale overlays and spatial joins with basic map/layout creation that tends to be the only tasks done by students are done quicker. Independent consultants and small shops that can not justify the expense of moving to ArcGIS are another group of users who prefer ArcView 3.x product. Availability of free open source scripts and extensions created by users using the built-in object oriented scripting language Avenue is another reason.
- Caitlin Dempsey (2008) Why ArcView 3.x is Still in Use, GIS Lounge
- Why no 'Promote Selected Records' feature in 9.0!!!???. ESRI Forum. (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/66e2CSAAc)