I had trouble posting https://gis.stackexchange.com/questions/88650/offline-maps-for-arcgis-desktop as several participants thought it sounded like an advertisement. They thus voted to close my question. The intention of the question was purely market research, i.e. to identify potential available solutions comparable to ours (as we could not find any by google-search).

My opinion is, that this type of questions should be allowed. Actually I felt like asking for a permission to ask a question, which I believe is cortrary to the intention of this site.

Anyway I believe that market research related questions for novel ideas and tools would enrich the site.

What is your opinion about this?

  • 1
    Could you please clarify what you mean by "purely market research"?
    – whuber
    Mar 10, 2014 at 14:47
  • Every organisation providing a new product should make some market research. I.e. Are there already available products similar to the one implemented, is there a demand for such an application etc. Usually such a market research is conducted by searching the web, asking stakeholders, asking the community etc. See also en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_research
    – user21318
    Mar 10, 2014 at 15:11
  • 5
    Could you explain, then, why such questions ought to be considered on-topic on this site? Although we certainly have a lot of GIS people who would be potential stakeholders and customers, they do not use our site to provide data for companies, nor do they want to.
    – whuber
    Mar 10, 2014 at 15:18
  • 2
    Thank you for your reply. I'm quite sure that many people are interested to give feedback about new products, but if this is agreed in the decision board (is there any) of the forum then its fine for me. If you ask me as a potential consumer, I often give advise to companies if they ask for it. Through such questions software gets better and thus I profit also. But, nevermind. It's fine for me if this forum does not want such kind of questions.
    – user21318
    Mar 10, 2014 at 15:52
  • 1
    Please note that there is a mechanism for using GIS@SE for market research: you can post an ad.
    – whuber
    Mar 10, 2014 at 15:54
  • ok, thanks. This is not quite the same, but I got the message. Questions by companies are considered ads. I don't see it that way, but it's ok for me.
    – user21318
    Mar 10, 2014 at 16:01
  • 3
    Your conclusion is incorrect: questions are evaluated here on their merits, not in terms of who asks them. The issue you have placed before us is whether "pure market research" questions are on topic on this site. It is possible that some questions, appropriately asked, could be construed to be of interest to this community and have value in market research. Nobody should have any problem with that. That is why I have engaged in these comments, asked you for further explanations, and offered constructive alternatives.
    – whuber
    Mar 10, 2014 at 16:40
  • 1
    thats good to hear. Actually it is about this question. gis.stackexchange.com/questions/88650/… I understood, that I should not mention the product, so I removed the product name. But still it seems to fail some for me not visible barriers.
    – user21318
    Mar 10, 2014 at 16:44
  • 1
    I am not aware of any prohibition against mentioning products. (That would be counterproductive, anyway: when a product answers a question we should not refrain from mentioning it!) I believe the underlying concern about commercial products is transparency, which is the principle that people with vested interests in selling a product should disclose them whenever making a recommendation. It is a good idea to describe you and your company in your profile, too. As a moderator I welcome people who can provide good and insightful answers; such people surely include developers and marketers!
    – whuber
    Mar 10, 2014 at 17:54
  • For a quick overview of how GIS Stack Exchange works I recommend that you take its two-minute tour but for a deeper understanding of what Stack Exchange is all about I strongly recommend watching this hangout with Jeff Atwood.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Mar 10, 2014 at 21:25

2 Answers 2


I was one of the people who voted to close your original Question because I felt it contravened this guideline from the GIS SE Help

Avoid overt self-promotion.

The community tends to vote down overt self-promotion and flag it as spam. Post good, relevant answers, and if some (but not all) happen to be about your product or website, that’s okay. However, you must disclose your affiliation in your answers.

If a large percentage of your posts include a mention of your product or website, you're probably here for the wrong reasons. Our advertising rates are quite reasonable; contact our ad sales team for details. We also offer free community promotion ads for open source projects and non-profit organizations.

You have since edited your Question, which is good because that is the way Questions are improved and can be brought on-topic, and removed your product name and invitation to participate in a free trial. Including a product name is not a problem per se - it was the marketing spin that I perceived to go with it that caused issue for me.

I have just reviewed the current state of your Question and I would still vote to Close it, but my reason for doing that is because it remains too broad. I think this because a good Answer to your Question would need to not only name one or more apps, but also make at least cursory reference to how its/their main functionalities (provide):

  • support for android-tablets and/or iPads
  • export your own maps directy from ArcGIS Desktop
  • full offline use
  • add polygons, points, lines
  • add notes, photos, videos
  • re-import changes made on the go.

AND how they do this with a focus on:

  • offline-maps
  • ArcGIS Desktop
  • iPad/Android-Tablet

To me, your Question, is effectively asking at least six (and probably more) questions and, although each could be asked alone, I think answers to most of these can already be found by searching GIS SE so would add little in the way of new Q&A content.

Incidentally, I (and I suspect many others) already use GIS Stack Exchange for market research but I do that by mining its invaluable data.


I feel that this question is definitely off-topic. (Note that I did not say that all Market Research Questions are off topic. That is because 'Market Research' is a broad topic, and all kinds of questions can come under it).

It is off topic, because:

  • It is very vague. You don't define what you mean by map and offline. Do you just want to show data? or are you also interested in rendering it just as it was in ArcMap. Do you want access to the Attributes? There are several ways of showing data offline. How do we understand what you are looking for? (Disclaimer: I have developed these kinds of Apps for our Internal Clients)
  • It is far too broad. As PolyGeo has mentioned, this question is actually six different questions rolled into one.
  • It is not a real question. Our Help mentions:

    You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face

  • It is too localized. It is unlikely to help any other user, now or in the future.

  • It doesn't show any research done, or efforts taken on your side.

Does that mean all Market Research Questions are off-topic? If you are smart about it, then NO.

For Example, you could ask:

I want to achieve X. I've tried doing this using ArcGIS Desktop and Qgis, but I could not do it with ArcGIS and it's a very length and cumbersome process in Qgis. Is there a simple way to do X?

This example question doesn't run into any of the above mentioned problems, and additionally, will invite positive responses. And if it doesn't get a response, you can be sure that your software can address a unfulfilled Niche.

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