What is the difference between ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro?

Users of the Esri ArcGIS Desktop are likely aware that ArcMap will eventually be replaced by ArcGIS Pro and organisations are beginning to make the switch.

Migrating to ArcGIS Pro does not need to be an intimidating process for companies given that ArcMap documents, scenes and globes can be imported to and are compatible with ArcGIS Pro. 

In addition to this, ArcGIS desktop users have been reassured that even after the recent release of ArcGIS 2.0, ESRI will continue to work on upgrades to ensure that ArcGIS Pro does everything ArcMap could do - and more. 

So what new features and upgrades from ArcMap should you expect to see as you make the switch across to ArcGIS Pro? 

Integration with ArcGIS online

ArcGIS Pro is completely integrated with ArcGIS Online making it easier for users to share, view, edit and access data and maps for a project with colleagues and stakeholders. This integration also allows users to publish content to Portal for ArcGIS by using the web map or web layer tool which creates an item summary, add tags and allows users to select who to share the content with. 

Switch between 2D and 3D views within projects

Under the project tab in the navigation, users can select the ‘convert’ button to easily switch between a 2D and 3D view. This completely new functionality means that 2D and 3D views can be seen alongside each other or they can be linked to provide users with ability to view multiple maps and visualisations at the same time, giving different perspectives on the same data. 

Enhanced charting capabilities

The familiar charts function from ArcMap has received an upgrade in ArcGIS Pro. Users can take advantage of the additional charting power including range sliders to compare data, multi series support and filtering by map extent and selection. 

Additional geoprocessing tools

ArcGIS Pro new geoprocessing tools for users including; imagery segmentation and classification tools, ‘enrich layers’ to demonstrate geo-enrichment and tools to calculate LAS dataset points by their height from the ground.

Heat map symbology 

This feature is completely new and unique to ArcGIS Pro and can be utilised in 3D. Heat mapping allows the user to draw and visualise the density between point features, allowing viewers to see hotspots on the map. 

Ribbon interface

Using the contextual tab interface, the ribbon navigation is built to predict which tools or actions a user requires next. The smart interface workflows are more direct and users can customise their view or create and group new tabs. 

Faster geoprocessing

The new 64 bit architecture allows ArcGIS Pro to take full advantage of the host machine’s RAM for faster geoprocessing.



The good news for ArcMap users is that ESRI does not predict any organisation will have difficulty moving their ArcMap files across to ArcGIS Pro, but they recommend training to help teams transition to the new desktop application and to learn the tools available on it.

NGIS provides ArcGIS Pro public training courses and team training for organisations. Individual or team training is a good addition to a change management plan within an organisation, ensuring employees can get the most out of the move to ArcGIS Pro. 

Book ArcGIS Pro training

About the author: Sarah Butler

Sarah is the Marketing Manager at the NGIS Australia Group. The group consists of location focused companies including NGIS Australia, Winyama, Liveli and EO Data Science.

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