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Sharing and collaboration will be the primary focus of ArcGIS 10.1, scheduled for release in early 2012.
This release will make it simpler to put mapping and geospatial analytics into the hands of more people without requiring that they be GIS experts. As an ArcGIS user, you will be able to deliver any GIS resource, such as maps, imagery, geodatabases, and tools, as a web service. The ability to access these services will be built into ArcGIS, as well as any application built with one of the ArcGIS APIs.
Cloud computing—via both public and private clouds—will play an increasingly important role in how users accomplish their work. ArcGIS software will take advantage of the powerful, scalable, and ubiquitous nature of cloud infrastructures to store and distribute geospatial content.
You will be able to easily package maps, layers, and models and make them available to staff, stakeholders, partners, or the public via online groups while maintaining complete content control and ownership. You also will be able to quickly deploy GIS servers in the cloud when needed, operating as fully functional production systems for publishing services and supporting desktop, mobile, and web applications.
At 10.1, ArcGIS for Server will run natively on 64-bit operating systems. Users will notice a significant improvement in performance for web editing, map caching, spatial analysis, finding addresses, and using imagery.
ArcGIS will not only make it simpler to use imagery but also support many new imagery data formats as well as provide improved support for satellite data and lidar.
An exciting addition for developers at ArcGIS 10.1 will be ArcGIS Runtime for Windows and for Linux, which will let them easily create and deploy focused, stand-alone GIS applications. ArcGIS Runtime answers developers' requests for a lightweight deployment that fits between ArcGIS Engine and the ArcGIS Web Mapping APIs in terms of capabilities. Runtime deployments will not require installation; applications can be run directly from a CD or flashdrive.
Esri has also concentrated on providing core GIS tools to help users create better maps. These tools range from dynamic legends to contextual generalization, and include parcel editing tools, analysis tools, and the ability to track edits.
Python will be more closely integrated with ArcGIS and provide more ways to automate and customize workflows. At 10.1, it will be added to the list of languages for authoring desktop add-ins, providing an easy solution to extend desktop functionality.