What’s new in ArcGIS Explorer Desktop 2500

A new version of ArcGIS Explorer Desktop (2500) has just been released. This release includes many new features and enhancements which will enable ArcGIS Explorer Desktop to be used effectively in your enterprise, or in conjunction with your ArcGIS Online organization. ArcGIS Explorer Desktop enables you to provide broader access to GIS content and enable self-service mapping using local data and web services in both 2D and 3D modes.

Here’s a summary of what’s new in this latest release.


Many enhancements are now available for creating and editing presentations, including new slide transition options, support for audio, and improved slide management.

Presentation improvements also include the following:

  • Multiple titles
    Multiple titles can be added and controlled in your presentation slides.
  • New title text placement options
  • Pop-up size and placement control
  • Update layer visibility across multiple slides
    Set layer visibility in one slide, and apply to many slides.

New Text Options

Map text behaves similarly to a Note, and enables the placement of text in styles of your choice in various positions. The position remains in the map space, and when the map is moved the text is also moved.

Overlay text, like an image overlay, is placed on the screen and maintains its position independently of map panning and zooming. Use overlay text when you want your message to stay visible with respect to map navigation.

Attribute Display

Attribute display for feature layers is now supported.

Improved Pop-ups

Pop-ups can now be explicitly sized and positioned.

These capabilities are especially useful for fine-tuning presentations, and ensuring the pop-up contents (e.g. web sites and rich media content) fit in the pop-up window.


ArcGIS 10.1 search is now integrated into ArcGIS Explorer Desktop, extending search capabilities to include auto-zoom to text-based locations (e.g., “california”) and the use of synonyms. Explorer 2012 also integrates ArcGIS Online and Portal for ArcGIS search capabilities. Content shared via ArcGIS Online, publicly or via your organization, or private content hosted on your on-premises cloud is not available. Footprints for discovered items can be previewed on the map.

Custom Basemap Gallery Support

The basemap gallery can now fetch basemaps from your ArcGIS Online organization, or from your on-premises Portal for ArcGIS. If you customize your organization or portal basemap gallery, the custom basemaps will display after you sign-in with your account. The basemap and layer galleries can be customized from within your organization.

New Layer Gallery

The layer gallery enables you to quickly add layers to your map. The layer gallery is customizable via your organization or on-premises portal.


Local installation is no longer required to use Explorer Desktop, and the application can be run from a thumb drive on any computer that meets the system requirements for build 2012.

And more…

ArcGIS 10.1 updates: Explorer 2500 has been updated to support updated capabilities in layer files, geodatabases, new raster formats, Python label expressions, ArcGIS Online web maps, and more.

For more information and installation instructions see:

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Leave a Reply


  1. safraeli says:

    Thanks for the new release.
    Few thoughts:
    1. Why the installation size is so large (92 mega)? Google earth is much smaller and has similar capabilities.
    2. The installation includes many PY files, why?
    3. The application don’t show any data. Maybe because the ArcGIS Connection is disabled.

    • Bern Szukalski says:

      1. Explorer Desktop has different capabilities than Google Earth, and is meant to be a tightly coupled part of an organization’s deployment of their enterprise GIS assets and workflows.
      2. Python scripts are required to support layer files that use Python to control labeling. The PY files are added so that layer file capabilities can be fully supported.
      3. Basemaps galleries and the basemaps themselves are online services, if you’re disconnected to you won’t see those. If connected and unable to see thse, in the few cases where this has been reported elsewhere the problem has ultimately been traced back to a proxy issue or firewall setting on the client side. If that’s your case, best to post your question out to the Explorer Desktop Forum:
      or via the support site.

  2. clatchford says:

    The new rerelease look very good… I have two questions

    · Ive created a map and added that to a USB dive along with the .exe file but it will not run without installing the software. What iam I missing to get this to work?
    · Under Arc GIS Explorer / Resources / Manage Locators can I add local address files on my server that have been created by Arc Desktop? I have tried a number of times and my system keep crashing. This is a very useful service as we often take a laptop into the field and have area’s without internet connection thus making the online search unavailable.

  3. taherrhuma says:

    It has limited shape files download, require feature not to exceed certain numbers of points.

    • Bern Szukalski says:

      ArcGIS Explorer Desktop can add as many features as you like from local shapefiles (within practical limits) and does not have the 1000 feature limit that Explorer Online and the ArcGIS Online webmap have for local data. Since Explorer Desktop is a locally installed application, rather than a web map, we can handle more local features. I am thinking you may be thinking about Explorer Online instead of Explorer Desktop.

  4. sinergis_sig says:

    Hello guys,

    We are trying to connect ArcGIS explorer Desktop to our ArcGIS.com account and even the connection works, we are not able to download/see our online contents(feature sevices, map service, …).

    Anyone can help us.


  5. dsmith28 says:

    The attribute table viewing ability is great- but is there any way to adjust the “Zoom to feature” functionality of it? When I double-click on a record in a line feature class, it zooms tight into that selected line… but point feature classes seem to zoom out and pan to a selected point. Is there any way to control that zoom scale?

  6. jlangdon says:

    Is there a way to control the display order in the Contents Window? Regardless of how I order layers or folders, the last layer added to AGX is the one displayed on top. This is pretty frustrating, as I would like, for instance, to display vector layers over raster layers. However, if I add a raster layer after having added a vector layer, the vector layer is “covered up” by the newly-added raster.


    • mauicountywwr says:

      Hi Users, Bern and Team,

      Bern, could you guys address the issue Jlangdon is having above? I have the same issue which makes it a bit confusing for users I distribute our data to view.

      When a user clicks multiple overlapping layers in one click to identify, the “multiple features found” window will popup with all layers which were queried under the courser. This is great but, as jlangdon stated above, the the field authored to show will not be an Aliased name assigned and will only show the last “raw” field name that was added when authored in arcmap (confusing to users looking for a relative name). When the said field is clicked to get the the layer popup, the title is that same last “raw” layer name mentioned above (Same confusion from users). Is this a known limitation that needs more time or do you think i’m authoring wrong?

      We are really happy with all the innovative work you guys are doing and hope to see it continue

      • Bern Szukalski says:

        I am not sure you are authoring “wrong,” you’re probably authoring correctly and this is just the way it works. If so, it is the way it is – ArcGIS Explorer Desktop is being actively maintained, but is no longer actively developed.

        • mauicountywwr says:

          I see. Well thanks for the info. I would consider this a “bug that needs maintenance” :) . I’m sorry to hear that development has been stopped for this. Seems like it should be on-going as the authoring softwar ArcGIS is sure to continue and this “Very Capable Viewer” should follow suit.

          Our Division really enjoys the work you guys have done on this and has helped immensely in making our team more efficient, productive and Knowledgeable about the County of Maui Wastewater Collection System as well as our Recycled water system. The functionality and cleaver additions you guys have added to a “Viewer” is really useful.

          Thank you.

          • Bern Szukalski says:

            It is possible that this could get addressed in a maintenance update, so no need to be gloomy. While development on this Explorer is not active, we do have a newer and better Explorer in the works (we actually demonstrated a prototype during the plenary at last User Conference) so have no fear – the tradition of Explorer as very capable and key application,, and an important part of your application portfolio will continue. But the underlying architecture needed replacement – hence the new development on a different platform to build a better Explorer.

            - bern

  7. mauicountywwr says:

    That’s great news Bern! Didn’t make it to the UC last year and won’t this year unfortunately but can’t wait to see what you guys have in-store for explorer. :) Completely Gloomless :)

  8. sharouff says:

    So I created a layer file in ArcMap 10.1 out of GEOTIFF and sent the resulting file to a coworker to use in AGX 2500 and it it wont work “unknown coordinate system” message. I try it on my AGX 2500 version and it works. Coworkers has installed correctly with correct expansion pack. He can add the GEOTIFF I used to make layer file and basemap.
    I also tried to make a basemap and it did not work on his system either, but again works on mine. This error message is “can’t open basemap”. Thanks for any guidance on what I may be doing wrong.

  9. mfrey@sundance-inc.net says:

    I am attempting to build a layer package for field crew laptops for Arc Explorer 2500. I have built .lpk’s with Feature Classes in Arc 10.1. All the data, paths and the lpk are on a flash drive. When trying to load into Explorer off of the network, I get an “invalid file” message. It loads fine when on the network. Is there anyway to get .lpk’s to load without internet access? or is there any other way to label features in Explorer?

    • mauicountywwr says:

      Here’s what I would do: Create your map and test exactly how you want it with the flash drive attached and all of your .lpk’s on the flash drive. Save the map to a new .nmf and put that .nmf on the flash drive if you want. Then really all you have to do is make sure whomever is in the field has Explorer Desktop installed. Insert flash drive, open Explorer Desktop, open .nmf that was saved on the flash drive and save the map as default map. Just remember that if you use base maps or other data that streams from the internet you will need an internet connection. You could do it that way or I think you can also run the entire Explorer Desktop app with all data directly from a Flash drive in the 2500 version which is explained somewhere within the download and installation instructions.

  10. carlynne says:

    I just tried to download and it says system requirements not net, so I checked system requirements and it looks like ArcGIS Explorer is not supported with Windows 8.

    Can someone confirm this?

    Is there a chance that a Windows 8 supported version will be available soon?

    • Bern Szukalski says:

      ArcGIS Explorer Desktop actually installs just fine on Windows 8. However, the installer prevents it from being installed on Windows 8.1. That said, if you double click the .msi file in the downloaded installation folder, it skips the setup.exe (where the hitch in the 8.1 installation is) and you can install it just fine on 8.1

      • nbdnre says:

        I have two questions:
        1. What Is ArcGIS Explorer Desktop Build 2500′s life cycle? should I develop new applications and deploy them to the users? If ESRI is on the way to fade out this product, I shouldn’t spend too much time to deploy new applications to users now.
        2. Is the newer Explorer (The one you mentioned in the earlier post) going to be free?

        My comments: We have been using ArcGIS Explorer on laptop computers for our field staff working in the woods. We will prepare the data and layers in the office with ArcMap and deploy them to the laptops with ArcGIS Explorer. ArcGIS Explorer is compact, functional and free. That is the reason we like it. Please leave the newer Explorer free.

        • Bern Szukalski says:

          Short answer: we’re planning an update to ArcGIS Explorer Desktop in a few months – no new features but we recognize how important it is to many users, so are going to refresh it to synch with the rest of ArcGIS.

          Currently the plan is that the new Explorer for ArcGIS will require an organizational account – you will have to login to use it, just like with Collector for ArcGIS and Operational Dashboard for ArcGIS. We just released offline maps in ArcGIS Online, so Collector for ArcGIS may be something you want to consider if Explorer Desktop plays a role in field data collection and you are looking for alternatives moving forward.

          Send me an email: bszukalski@esri.com and I can discuss in more depth – plus I would like to learn more about how you are currently using Explorer Desktop and the workflows you support with it.

          - bern

  11. jacksoe says:

    It doesn’t look like Explorer 2500 supports Enterprise Logins. Will this ability be added relatively soon?