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ArcGIS vs OpenLayers: What are the differences?

Key differences between ArcGIS and OpenLayers

ArcGIS and OpenLayers are both mapping software that provide users with tools to create, edit, analyze, and visualize geographic data. However, there are several key differences that set them apart.

  1. Data Sources: ArcGIS primarily uses Esri's proprietary data formats such as File Geodatabases and Shapefiles, while OpenLayers is more flexible and can work with various open data formats such as GeoJSON and KML. This allows OpenLayers to easily integrate with different data sources and web services.

  2. Licensing: ArcGIS is a commercial software with several licensing options, including paid subscriptions and enterprise licenses. On the other hand, OpenLayers is an open-source software released under the permissive BSD license, meaning it can be used, modified, and distributed freely.

  3. Customization: While both ArcGIS and OpenLayers provide customization options, OpenLayers offers more flexibility in terms of customization and extending functionality. OpenLayers allows users to easily modify the source code to suit specific requirements or add additional functionality, which may require more technical knowledge compared to ArcGIS.

  4. Deployment: ArcGIS is commonly used as desktop software to create and analyze maps, while OpenLayers is designed primarily for web-based applications. OpenLayers allows for easy integration with other web technologies and frameworks, making it suitable for creating interactive web maps that can be accessed by users through browsers.

  5. Community Support: OpenLayers benefits from a large and active community of developers and users, which means there are numerous online resources, tutorials, and forums available for support and troubleshooting. ArcGIS also has a community, but it is more centralized around Esri's official support channels and documentation.

  6. Third-party Integration: OpenLayers has strong support for integration with various mapping APIs and web services, such as Google Maps, Bing Maps, and Mapbox. This allows for seamless integration of external data sources and services. ArcGIS, on the other hand, is designed to work best with Esri's own suite of products and services.

In summary, ArcGIS and OpenLayers differ in terms of data sources, licensing, customization options, deployment, community support, and third-party integration. ArcGIS specializes in commercial mapping software focusing on Esri's proprietary formats, while OpenLayers is an open-source solution that offers more flexibility and compatibility with various data sources and web services.

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Pros of ArcGIS
Pros of OpenLayers
  • 7
  • 4
    A lot of widgets
  • 4
    Data driven vizualisation
  • 2
    Easy tà learn
  • 2
  • 1
    Easy API
  • 15
  • 11
  • 8
    Open Source
  • 7
    Incredibly comprehensive, excellent support
  • 4
  • 4
    Strong community
  • 4
    Choice of map providers
  • 3
    Low Level API
  • 1

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What is ArcGIS?

It is a geographic information system for working with maps and geographic information. It is used for creating and using maps, compiling geographic data, analyzing mapped information, sharing and much more.

What is OpenLayers?

An opensource javascript library to load, display and render maps from multiple sources on web pages.

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What companies use ArcGIS?
What companies use OpenLayers?
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What tools integrate with ArcGIS?
What tools integrate with OpenLayers?
What are some alternatives to ArcGIS and OpenLayers?
Google Maps
Create rich applications and stunning visualisations of your data, leveraging the comprehensiveness, accuracy, and usability of Google Maps and a modern web platform that scales as you grow.
Tableau can help anyone see and understand their data. Connect to almost any database, drag and drop to create visualizations, and share with a click.
We make it possible to pin travel spots on Pinterest, find restaurants on Foursquare, and visualize data on GitHub.
Power BI
It aims to provide interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities with an interface simple enough for end users to create their own reports and dashboards.
JavaScript is most known as the scripting language for Web pages, but used in many non-browser environments as well such as node.js or Apache CouchDB. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic,and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.
See all alternatives