At this year's Esri International User Conference, Esri staff presented its top nine favorite innovations in ArcGIS 9.4:
- User Interface. ArcGIS 9.4 features a new user experience. The upgraded look includes dockable windows that can automatically hide. Also, a new catalog window is embedded in ArcMap. These and other underlying framework changes will greatly improve your productivity.
- Attribute Tables. At 9.4, attribute tables are now displayed in a dockable window. You'll see a new toolbar across the top, giving you easier access to the tools you need. And you can open multiple tables using the tabbed interface at the bottom.
- Search. A new search capability complements the Add Data dialog box. The new search tool allows you to type in search criteria and, with subsecond response time, locate the data you're interested in. You can use special keywords like points, lines, polygons, or layer to further refine your search.
- Reporting. ArcGIS 9.4 includes a new reporting capability. A series of predefined templates makes it easier to make nice, formatted reports. Once you've created a report, you can save the report so that you can later re-execute it with a different selected set.
- Geoprocessing Tools. With ArcGIS 9.4, the customization capability will be enhanced so you have access to all the analysis tools. You can drag and drop the Buffer tool or a geoprocessing model onto a toolbar. There's also a new geoprocessing option that allows you to enable background processing.
- Table of Contents Views. The table of contents now supports multiple views. The Group By Visibility view organizes layers in your map into visible, scale range, or not visible groups, making it easier to work with complex maps with a lot of layers. It's a nice innovation to complement the traditional table of contents.
- Symbol Search. To change symbols, you no longer have to browse through 20,000 different symbols looking for the right one. You can simply do a search. It is far more efficient to search for symbols than browsing through the multitude that are included with ArcGIS.
- Temporal Mapping. ArcGIS 9.4 is becoming time aware, making it easier to make temporal maps with ArcGIS. There's a new Time tab in the layer properties, as well as a new clock tool that allows you to set the display's date and time.
- Fast Basemaps. In releases prior to 9.4, when ArcMap updates the display, it redraws each layer sequentially. A new basemap layer in 9.4 enables continuous, fast redraw.