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Do you still use ArcView 3.x?

October 2nd, 2006 · 34 Comments

Brian Timoney brings up a great question in the comments to my last post.

James: I’d love a show of hands of folks that never made the switch to 8.x or 9.x because of common everyday tasks that a 3.x workflow still carries out quiet satisfactorily….

I use ArcView 3.2a almost every day myself, though I’ll be honest I can’t recall the last time I wrote an Avenue script. I guess I have them all ready to go, already written. Just copy and paste into a new APR and away I go.

I talked about trying to get some of our clients to move to ArcGIS over a year ago.

Tags: ArcGIS Desktop · ArcView 3.x · ESRI · GIS

34 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Fish&Game // Oct 2, 2006 at 7:53 pm

    We use ArcView 3.x and we have not paid maintenance since the late 90’s. No compelling reason to. I’ve been to the UC the last couple years on someone elses dime and I still don’t see much that I can’t do with good old ArcView.

    Plus it is so damn slow.

  • 2 Mangocrate // Oct 2, 2006 at 8:41 pm

    Man. 3.2a. You are living in the dark ages. I’m living it up with 3.3. Use it almost every day because it still does things that 9.x doesn’t do - at lease easily. Think some of that will change with 9.2, but I’ll wait and see.

  • 3 Dijj monkey // Oct 2, 2006 at 9:16 pm

    It’s great for ye old projection diagnosis and we have some DRG clipper extension that is hands down the easiest way to decollar a topo.

  • 4 mapperz // Oct 3, 2006 at 12:24 am

    Still use ArcView 3.2. We have many Extensions that have been written in Avenue and have never made it to VBA.

    It faster in processing in some respects and has the ’subract’ command.
    Joining Tables is much faster too.


  • 5 dan stark // Oct 3, 2006 at 8:17 am

    Gave it up about 2 years ago when I started at a new job building a GIS from scratch for a local city. Prior to that I used it every day from it’s initial 1.x release (in addition to the most current Arc/Info releases).

    That being said, I can turn 180 degrees in my chair and grab the disk off my shelf if I should have a need for it again. I still think that it’s a solid tool where you can get some real work done so long as you have your favorite extensions and scripts handy.

  • 6 carlos // Oct 3, 2006 at 8:29 am

    Wow. I NEVER use ArcView 3.x. Seems my coworkers like it but I think it’s one of those legacy issues as I never was trained on it. I started using Arc 9 from the get-go . Avenue? What’s that? People really need to move on - party like it’s 2006 not 1999! (mmmm, VBA scripting….) ;)

  • 7 James Fee // Oct 3, 2006 at 8:32 am

    There are reasons to use ArcGIS over ArcView 3.x I wouldn’t put VBA scripting in my top 50.

  • 8 dan stark // Oct 3, 2006 at 8:34 am

    I should have mentioned that I do use AML and ArcInfo desktop command line *every* day ( I did give up SML ;) )

    I know that’s very 1993 of me but sometimes you need to get things done!

  • 9 carlos // Oct 3, 2006 at 8:37 am

    Interesting. As someone who came out of a local GIS training program, the schools aren’t even covering Avenue scripting these days. Python was barely covered and even then, we didn’t touch on how a traditional IT dept uses it.

    The school was beholden to ESRI so they are pushing out grads with little knowledge of traditional tools/languages in the GIS field.

    Anyone have thoughts on how well new grads are doing these days? Avenue is one of those legacy skills that I would imagine is harder to find these days….

    (keep up the good work James, I enjoy reading the postings!)

  • 10 Jim // Oct 3, 2006 at 10:47 am

    Until they create ArcInfo Librarian support for ArcGIS, its ArcView3.2 every day.

  • 11 James Fee // Oct 3, 2006 at 10:56 am

    Until they create ArcInfo Librarian support for ArcGIS, its ArcView3.2 every day.

    You are my hero!

  • 12 Durnin // Oct 4, 2006 at 8:30 am

    In our local gov’t environment, we still have a highly customized 3.1 interface on all our user’s desktops (~150), but it’s become a real pain in the ass to maintain as our users become increasingly GIS-proficent and ask for more and more functionality. And since we’re fully into SDE and tied into many of the enterprise systems in the muni, supporting 3.1 requires many processes that we’d love to do without.

    We’ve also created numerous custom 9.x apps (in ArcView) that have been very successful. Alas, we’re now in the process of moving ahead with ArcGIS Server and killing 3.1 once and for all.

  • 13 Bonzo // Oct 4, 2006 at 1:57 pm

    You have GOT to be kidding–You all still use that sucky old 3.x arcview???? Now, I used to be in love with 3.x (and 2.x before it) but I can remember the exact moment when I realized how much better ArcMap is. I could go on & on about how much better ArcMap is….

  • 14 Bonzo // Oct 4, 2006 at 2:02 pm

    I should mention that after that “watershed moment” when I realized how much better ArcMap is, I never looked back, despite giving up tons of cool Avenue scripts. Man, there are just so many advantages to ArcMap/ArcGIS. I absolutely HATE when I have to open an old .apr 3.x is so old, backwards, and silly once you “see the light”… Sorry, but I just today had to open an old .apr to pull up an archived project, and I absolutely hated every moment of it…

  • 15 rmcculley // Oct 5, 2006 at 11:23 am

    I use 3.2a once in a while. I have a total of three avenue scripts that I have never migrated to vba or python.

    I have plans to migrate them all into one python script, I just haven’t found the time to do it. One day ….

  • 16 b // Oct 6, 2006 at 2:25 pm

    We are also still using 3.2a here at the uni. Privately I prefer GRASS, but at the uni I use both (with strong preference towards GRASS, of course).

  • 17 cynthia // Oct 9, 2006 at 11:09 am

    I am disappointed that ESRI failed to keep up a MAC version of the GIS software. I am not giving up my G4 for this, much as I like it.

  • 18 James Fee // Oct 9, 2006 at 11:14 am

    Cynthia, the cool kids are running ArcGIS on OS X using Parallels Desktop.

  • 19 matt wilkie // Oct 12, 2006 at 2:56 am

    our primary base data holdings are still in ArcLibrarian, and will remain so for some time yet. So yes, of our ~30 users 20 or so are ArcView 3.x only and the rest some combinatin of AV3 and 9. No one is 9 only.

    Why ArcLibrarian?

    * coverages man! The regions sub-coverages datamodel is so powerful. One geometry, many views derived from the attributes. The topology rules in 9.x try to graft parts of this back onto the geodatabase model but it just doesn’t work well (read: more work for the gis administrator and the geometry is still duplicated. For what it’s worth, the GRASS vector model goes even farther than coverages down the “one geometry and many views” road.)

    * coverages don’t move (much) when you edit them. Shapes do if you edit in ArcMap (c.f. http://yukongis.ca/bin/view/Main/DataShiftOnEdit ). Why this has never become a big screaming issue for the general ArcMap-using populace I don’t understand.

    * speed. AV3+Libraries is miles faster than ArcMap9+personal-geodatabase

    * data replication. We have regional offices with a thin network pipeline betwixt us and them. A central SDE server is just unworkable, but a scheduled task of “xxcopy /clone \\mainserver\arclibrary \\region1\arclibrary” is easy and painless to understand and setup — and doesn’t involve any extra licensing or maintenance fees.

    That said, for cartography work it’s ArcMap all the way baby (with forays into Illustrator for some of the more “postery” or wordy ones).

  • 20 KimO // Oct 13, 2006 at 2:29 am

    I still use ArcView 3.2 every day.
    9.2 might change things. High precision file geodatabases are great! No more XYlimits, much faster than shapefiles, and no 2GB limit, no fuzzy creep. Python and ArcToolbox can do most jobs that Arc:aml tools do, and perhaps a lot of avenue as long as you don’t want to interact with a map.
    Still no good joining and linking of tables with dynamic selection updating between tables….

  • 21 SERE // Oct 18, 2006 at 4:03 am

    Dear freind,
    I want to learn how to programme with avenue in arcview 3.2a. I need documents who can help me.

  • 22 Derek McDonald // Oct 18, 2006 at 10:23 am

    I graduated Ohio University in 2004. In my first two years of school, they were teaching us GIS in 3X. When I left, we were learning 8X. My school was more interested in teaching the fundamentals of Geography using GIS as a tool. I personally like 9.1 and can’t wait for 9.2. It’s about time other players in the GIS business, like Google Earth, are forcing ESRI to become more compatible and easier to use. It is my belief that the individual or company should stick with what is best for them. Some clients need Arc 9 to run there databases and some need Arc 3 to make simple maps. As for programming, ha, that wasn’t even mentioned in the curiculum. To me, that’s what companies like Data East (XTools) is for.

  • 23 matt wilkie // Oct 19, 2006 at 2:33 pm

    these might help:

    Sample scripts & utils:

    Programming efficiency:

    Extending Avenue with Python:

  • 24 KoS // Oct 19, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    My two cents…

    Each platform(ArcGISx vs AV3x) has it’s strengths, weakness, and place. As many has already argued. Not gonna to reharsh that. :)

    Personaly, I use whatever gets the job done. For example, one of my responsibilites, I take care of a ArcView3x dataviewer wihch is ran off a CD. Granted it’s not a full blown AV3x, the user has access to only view, tables and layouts with each having limited functions.

    I feed the “monster”, using ArcGIS to create the information for the CDs. Much faster to use ArcGIS than AV3x.

    In this case, ArcGIS does all the grunt work and AV3x gets all the glory.


  • 25 RMF // Nov 18, 2006 at 9:21 am

    I am struggling with the full adoption and use of 9.X as the GIS Manager in our small organization. I use 3.2a daily and 9.X when I want good output maps (excellent AI transfer), but the new GIS ‘kids’ were raised on 8.X. I banned the personal geodatabase due to its clunkiness. They would be amazed how fast a join would happen in 3.2 vs 9.1 (coverage or shapefile). However, I have high hopes for the ‘file geodabase’ in 9.2! It’s the little things, like having to open ArcCatalog just to create an entity which bums me out. Why not put ‘create new feature’ in the edit toolbar? The sheer number of scripts out there in 3.2 boggle the mind. 8.X and 9.X scripts have a long way to catch up. Still, I am looking forward to the soon-shipping 9.2. Our maintenance fees for floating and single-use licenses are depleting the cookie jar with Spatial Analyst included, and we have 3D Analyst with 3.2, not 9.X - so 3.2 will continue for certain projects for awhile.

  • 26 Kim // Nov 19, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    ArcGIS DOES have “library support”. It’s called ArcSDE for coverages and it comes with an ArcInfo licence. It works well for a coverage. Might be a bit slow for a real library.

  • 27 Jim Hall // Nov 20, 2006 at 8:45 am

    Slow? Speed and performance is every thing. Compared to ArcView3.2 it does not even rate. Plus I just found another reason to still love AV3.2; the CAD engine displays any DWG file text in the colors intended. In ArcGIS 9x I always get black.

  • 28 Brit Lively // Mar 29, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    I use 8.3, 9.2 and 3.2. The latter with all the extensions I was ever able to get my hands on. Many of them they don’t have for VB. Well, I needed a new machine and have lost the old 3.2 disk. PC Relocator didn’t feel like moving it from my other machine. I do have the 3.1 version, but my 3.2 upgrade patch doesn’t like it. So, I went to ESRI to buy another copy. They’re not selling them anymore, but were kind enough to give me an autho code should I be able to get my hands on one. I did a search but found no 3.2. Would anyone know where I could buy a legit copy of 3.2?

  • 29 bjmsam // Jun 26, 2007 at 10:27 am

    ArcView 3.x with a suite of custom extensions has for years enabled our large and diverse community of distributed analysts with no GIS background to interact with and fuse data from myriad spatial and non-spatial databases (considerable time is spent working with tabular data sets lacking spatial context). It remains so highly effective that ArcMap just isn’t a particularly compelling alternative for interactive analysis (especially for those on UNIX!).

    The real value of ArcGIS lies in the GeoProcessing framework, which fosters analytic discipline and collaboration through creation and distribution of models. It is a different and desirable approach to analysis that we intend to establish as central to our emerging architecture. Our intent is to enable composition and publication of models as services that can be leveraged from a range of clients, spatial and non-spatial, thick and thin, as appropriate.

    Few of the Python scripts behind the GP tools in our custom toolbox leverage ArcObjects, and few of the ESRI GP tools included in our analytic models would be difficult to replicate, so it only makes sense to investigate alternatives to ArcGIS Server and ArcToolbox, which in ArcGIS 9.x is unfortunately embedded within ArcMap (how’s that for ArcConfusion?). It’s quite possible that ArcView 3.x will be replaced with a non-ESRI solution…

  • 30 Lindsay // Oct 20, 2007 at 10:00 am

    So, have you ArcGIS 9.2 users figured out how to clip DRGs if you don’t have ArcView 3.2 still? And, if you don’t have ArcINFO?


  • 31 Tim Maddle // Oct 21, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Lindsay, I’m not that familiar with DRG’s, but, once you add it to ArcMap, can you clip it by zooming to the extent that you want, right-clicking the DRG in the layer list, and setting the extent in the Export dialog to “DataFrame”? I do that frequently when exporting MrSid files to other formats. However, I do have an ArcInfo license, but I think the export is part of the ArcView capabilities.

  • 32 av3ext // Dec 5, 2007 at 3:26 am

    James, would you like to try this extension?


    If you still use ArcView GIS ;)

  • 33 eil // Dec 5, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Hi Folks, I am a student of GIS and we use arc view, something I need to know for a looming exam is disadvantages to the network analyst extension, any suggestions?

  • 34 Jan // Dec 9, 2007 at 1:54 am

    eil, the Network Analyst is still one of the best extension to Arcview ever :-)

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