ArcGIS Pro

Get Ready for ArcGIS Pro 3.0

Did you know that ArcGIS Pro 3.0 is scheduled to be available in June? (Update: Pro 3.0 was released June 23rd, 2022). If you didn’t, I suppose you do now and we want to make sure that you have the information you need to be best prepared to update when 3.0 is released.


ArcGIS Pro version meaning

The first thing to understand is that ArcGIS Pro follows the semantic versioning specification as described in the Releases and patches help which means when that first number changes, it is a Major release. Major releases often require backward-breaking changes to be made, meaning that ArcGIS Pro documents (.aprx, .mapx, and so on) created or saved in version 3.0 cannot be directly opened in earlier major versions such as 2.x (packages can be used as described in the Impacts of Breaking Changes section below).

Why a Major Release?

The three primary reasons for moving to a major release are:

  1. Update to .NET 6, Microsoft’s latest version with Long Term Support
  2. Make functional, performance, and quality improvements not possible without breaking changes
  3. Refactor the Pro APIs for improved consistency, quality and ease of use

.NET 6 (formerly .NET Core) is Microsoft’s latest version which positions Esri and other ArcGIS Pro developers well for future development and enhancements. Additionally, with certain third-party components only updating controls to .NET 6 moving forward, it is necessary to stay at the forefront of the software development community.

With the decision to move to a major release, we were able to take the opportunity to implement functional, performance, and quality improvements that were otherwise not possible while maintaining compatibility with other minor versions of ArcGIS Pro.

Finally, we strive to deliver the best public API possible for third-party developers and we need to clean house every once in a while to remove classes and functions that we’ve replaced with something better in the ArcGIS Pro SDK. A major release offers the opportunity to make these necessary API changes.

Impacts of Breaking Changes

Within a major release – that is, from one minor release to another minor release – project files (.aprxs) and other Pro document files such as layer files, map files, and so on, are forward and backward compatible. A user can work on a project in ArcGIS Pro 2.9 and share that project with a user who can open it in ArcGIS Pro 2.6. Of course, any 2.9 functionality won’t be present in 2.6, but the document can be used between both versions with no issues.

As stated previously, projects created or saved in ArcGIS Pro 3.0 cannot be opened directly in ArcGIS Pro 2.x. After updating to ArcGIS Pro 3.0, when you first save a project created in an earlier version, you will receive the following information message.

Warning when saving a project from a pre-3.0 release for the first time in ArcGIS Pro 3.0
Before saving a project created in a previous version of ArcGIS Pro, you will be presented with this warning

However, just because 3.0 documents cannot be opened directly in earlier versions, it is still possible to access them in 2.x if needed. If you save the project and for whatever reason find that you need a 2.x version, create a project package. Layer packages, map packages and project packages will contain both 2.x and 3.x content.

If you’re looking for extra insurance, before working with your current projects in ArcGIS Pro 3.0, use Save As to save a copy of your 2.x project as a backup before saving it in 3.0.

In summary, while packaging allows ArcGIS Pro 3.0 users to share projects with 2.x users, collaboration will not be as seamless as when everybody is working within the same major version. Because of this, consider coordinating your update to ArcGIS Pro 3.0 for groups of users that work together on projects.

For additional details to consider before updating to ArcGIS Pro 3.0, see Migration from ArcGIS Pro 2.x to 3.0.

A Sneak Peek at What’s New

We hope that sharing this information helps you prepare to update to ArcGIS Pro 3.0 when it is released in June. While new functionality wasn’t the main driver for 3.0, it doesn’t mean we didn’t get some great new features in for you. You can always see what’s new for the latest version of Pro from the new Learn Page in ArcGIS Pro 3.0.

ArcGIS Pro 3.0 dedicated learn page
ArcGIS Pro 3.0 has a dedicated Learn page

Other features to look forward to include credit estimation for geocoding tools. This will help you understand credit consumption when using the World Geocoding Service before running the tool.

Geoprocessing tools will display an information tip letting you know when a selection or other filter is applied to input layers and the number of records that will be processed.  You will also see tool parameter memory and autofill for commonly used tools accessed from the ribbon and context menus.

Geoprocessing tools show an info tip with how many records will be processed, based on whether the layer has a definition query, time filter, range filter or selection set.
Geoprocessing tools show an info tip with how many records will be processed, based on whether the layer has a definition query, time filter, range filter or selection set

The ability to add maps to reports, save a web scene while maintaining its item ID, time support for standalone tables, export presets for layouts and maps, and a Color Vision Deficiency Simulator are just a handful of new features and functionality that you can expect in ArcGIS Pro 3.0.

The Color Vision Deficiency Simulator simulates what a map, layout or report will look like for someone with different types of color vision deficiency/color blindness. Protonopia (unable to distinguish red), deuteranopia (unable to distinguish green), tritanopia (unable to distinguish blue)
Simulate what a map, layout or report will look like for someone with different types of color vision deficiency/color blindness

Many of these features were prioritized from your requests on ArcGIS Ideas. If you are not already active in Esri Community, visit the ArcGIS Pro idea exchange to search for ideas that you’d like to see in Pro, participate by giving kudos and adding why a feature would be important for your work, or create your own ideas if you can’t find what you’re looking for.

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you in ArcGIS Pro 3.0!


Banner photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

About the author

Kory Kramer is a Product Manager for ArcGIS Pro, collaborating across multiple teams to contribute to the direction of product development. He is dedicated to listening to users and finding ways to convert that feedback into a product that continues to add customer value. In his free time, he tries to get outside as much as possible – often on trails, sometimes on a bike. He has recently started composting and is trying to get bats to take up residence in his backyard bat house.

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