Migrating from ArcGIS Desktop to ArcGIS Pro – Don’t Wait Too Long

by | Feb 20, 2017

Now is the time to begin preparation for migrating from ArcGIS Desktop to ArcGIS Pro. The Fall 2017 release of ArcGIS Pro is expected to reach full equalization with ArcMap – it’ll have all the same functionality and we don’t believe any releases of ArcMap will be made after that.

I would recommend that everyone set up a Pro license and start looking at it and how it wants to store data – then begin to develop a transition strategy.  I would say that everyone has about 12 months to come up with that plan, and another 12 months to implement it. A last minute transition to Pro would be bad.

On the plus side, I find Pro MUCH easier to work with than ArcMap. It’s really a “project based” concept rather than a “map based” concept. For example, you can have all zoning and parcel info set up in one project and from that make a variety of property exhibit maps of various sizes and formats – and still only have one editing pane for updates. You can also have a “property owner notification” project that can make exhibit maps for City Council from all types of cases – and it has no editing capabilities at all. Only map production. It’s really nice.

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According to Esri’s support documentation, ArcGIS Desktop 10.5 will be retired at the end of 2022. Prior versions of ArcGIS Desktop (10.1 – 10.4) will be retired significantly earlier in many cases.  Furthermore, “Mature” support for 10.5 begins in late 2020.  Once ArcGIS Desktop enters the “Mature” support phase in 2020 Esri will no longer provide software patches and hot fixes nor will they certify major new versions of an operating system, database, or web server.  Customers with products in the “Mature” phase should be actively upgrading their applications to software in the “General Availability” phase (ArcGIS Pro). That sounds like a long way off, but for anyone having to redevelop scripts and 3rd party software it’ll seem very short.  And keep in mind that earlier versions of ArcGIS Desktop (10.1 – 10.4) will be gone long before then as you can see in the table below.  Anyone still running 10.1, 10.2, or 10.3 (and there are a lot of you out there) should already be in the process of upgrading to 10.4, 10.5, or preferably ArcGIS Pro now since your versions of ArcGIS Desktop enter the “Mature” phase this July at the latest.  10.1 users are already in the “Mature” phase.

ArcGIS Desktop Support Phases by Version



Interested in learning more about ArcGIS Pro?  We have several free online webinars as well as some upcoming classes in Portland and Denver.  See below for details.  We also provide consulting services to assist you with your migration process.


All our webinars can be found at: https://geospatialtraining.com/recorded-webinars/


Learning ArcGIS Pro: Fundamentals

  • July 31st – August 1st – Portland
  • August 14th – 15th – Denver


Introduction to Programming ArcGIS Pro with Python

  • August 2nd and 3rd – Portland
  • August 16th and 17th – Denver



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Eric Pimpler
Eric is the founder and owner of GeoSpatial Training Services (geospatialtraining.com) and has over 25 years of experience implementing and teaching GIS solutions using ESRI, Google Earth/Maps, Open Source technology. Currently Eric focuses on ArcGIS scripting with Python, and the development of custom ArcGIS Server web and mobile applications using JavaScript. Eric is the author of Programming ArcGIS with Python Cookbook - 1st and 2nd Edition, Building Web and Mobile ArcGIS Server Applications with JavaScript, Spatial Analytics with ArcGIS, and ArcGIS Blueprints. Eric has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Texas A&M University and a Master's of Applied Geography degree with a concentration in GIS from Texas State University.

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