ArcGIS is a platform for organizations to create, manage, share, and analyze spatial data. It consists of server components, mobile and desktop applications, and developer tools. This platform can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud (Amazon, Azure) with ArcGIS Enterprise, or used via ArcGIS Online which is hosted and managed by Esri.

The ArcGIS platform

The ArcGIS platform consists of many components that communicate with each other via the ArcGIS REST API and common file formats. Understanding the common elements of the platform is crucial to building a successful application with ArcGIS.

ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise

At the core of the ArcGIS platform are ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise. The platform provides both hosted GIS services and a portal with a web UI and APIs for publishing, sharing, and managing content, maps, and applications. For an overview of the services, refer to our introduction to the ArcGIS REST API.

ArcGIS Desktop

ArcGIS Pro and ArcMap are part of our ArcGIS Desktop suite and allow users to publish and manage data and maps in conjunction with ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise. These desktop tools also excel at detailed and sophisticated analysis and can be extended and scripted with various tools. For an overview of the capabilities of ArcGIS Desktop, visit the ArcGIS Desktop website.

ArcGIS Apps

Esri also offers a suite of apps that work with ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise to provide specific functionality for organizations. These apps include:

These applications can be configured with your organization's data and work seamlessly with ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise to publish and consume data. Many of these applications can also be scripted or extended to add new capabilities.

ArcGIS Developer Tools

When custom solutions are desired, the ArcGIS Platform also has a full suite of developer tools that can be used to extend and configure existing ArcGIS applications or build and configure custom apps. Discover the types of applications you can build and compare the available APIs and SDKs, these developer tools include: