Edit: so far, the top two leading answers suggests replacing (or reducing use of) with more specific tags.

Therefore, I suggest narrowing the discussion about doing something (or not) based on the follow up post Re-tagging to de-emphasize ArcGIS Desktop product in favour of its applications?.

Original question:

From Tagging ArcGIS questions? there are four applications directly related to (17110 questions):

Regarding it seems a lot of questions (~3k) are about it, but only tagged (see here)*.

I think this is a problem, because it helps splitting content across duplicate questions; for example, one uses only , the other only .

So, how should both tags be used and live together in GIS SE? It was discussed before that they should not be synonyms (Should arcmap tag be a synonym of arcgis-desktop). Is there something we could do to improve their use?

*This also happens with the other applications (for example, arcglobe), but a big difference is the number of questions missing the application tag is much smaller than [arcmap]. In these cases, it would be achievable reviewing such posts and apply the tags (if necessary).

3 Answers 3


Personally, I don't like the tag - I think it is a tag for nothing, and offers no real benefit. If I have a problem running ArcMap I'd search for solutions related to ArcMap. I do wonder how many questions are actually about the ArcGIS Desktop suite itself, and not one of its core applications such as ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcScene.

I would do away with or perhaps leave it for the few questions about the suite itself, and focus on the specific applications that the Q&As are about. We don't need to see two tags like , as ArcMap tag on its own should be sufficient.

When it comes to or I can see the benefit of also including , however the is redundant here. The gives us enough info to know that it's a part of ArcGIS Desktop suite, as does and .

  • If it is a new question about ArcMap, I think it should be tagged .
  • If it is a new question about ArcCatalog, I think it should be tagged .
  • If it is a new question about ArcGlobe, I think it should be tagged and .
  • If it is a new question about ArcScene, I think it should be tagged and .
  • If it is a new question about using the 3d Analyst extension in Arcmap, I think it should be tagged and .

The tag excerpts for all of these tags indicate that it relates to the ArcGIS software, and if it is vague (or could relate to other GIS software) a second related tag such as will still make it quite clear what it relates to.


In light of your question, some thinking around the answer from @Midavalo, the way ArcGIS Pro has been positioned as an application of ArcGIS Desktop, and my growing unease with one of the compromises that Tagging ArcGIS questions? makes, my views on how best to tag ArcGIS Desktop questions have evolved.

ArcGIS Desktop is a product from Esri, and 3D Analyst is one of its extension products. Together, they provide five ArcGIS Desktop applications:

  • ArcMap, ArcCatalog and ArcGIS Pro are unlocked by an ArcGIS Desktop core license.
  • ArcGlobe and ArcScene are unlocked by an ArcGIS 3D Analyst license.

In light of ArcGIS Pro becoming much more mainstream, and inevitably supplanting the other four (ArcGIS Desktop 10.x) applications, I think the best way to tag new questions may be:

  • for questions about ArcMap
  • for questions about ArcCatalog
  • for questions about ArcGlobe
  • for questions about ArcScene
  • for questions about ArcGIS Pro
  • and for questions about ArcMap that use toolbars and geoprocessing tools that are only available with 3D Analyst licensing
  • and for questions about ArcGIS Pro that use ribbon tools and geoprocessing tools that are only available with 3D Analyst licensing

With respect to old questions I think a manual retagging campaign should not be undertaken. I suspect we can automate a tag overhaul to a new scheme but it will need to be multi-step, and well planned, so doing that in advance of deciding the desired outcome is premature.

Pending further discussion here, I would plan to overhaul Tagging ArcGIS questions?, but my current thinking is that a significantly better ArcGIS tagging scheme than I originally proposed is possible.

A plan for how to implement the above is being fleshed out at Re-tagging to de-emphasize ArcGIS Desktop product in favour of its applications? but doing that will be dependent on achieving consensus in this Meta Q&A first.

  • 1
    On first impression I like this answer. If we go this way, what are your thoughts about the future of [arcgis-desktop]? For example, should it become a synonym of [arcmap]? Jun 19, 2018 at 23:16
  • 1
    @AndreSilva that would be part of an automated tag overhaul but without yet thinking it through in full detail (i.e. estimating how many manual retags at the end might be needed to tweak what can be done automatically) my first thought is that a merge of arcgis-desktop into arcmap would kick it off. I suspect that more than 90% of arcgis-desktop questions are about ArcMap.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Jun 19, 2018 at 23:22

In my opinion, GIS.SE should keep the tag because it is public facing.

For example, when suggesting the user to be more specific and add tags about the GIS software being used, it is more natural to think that one is using (vs etc.) than



In response to your comment

(it could be made a synonym of [arcmap]), ..., being public facing did not prevent confusion; redundancy with [arcmap]

My thinking is more of the opposite. In most of these cases about platform choice, would be the redundant one. It is natural to think of as the platform. is too big, because it contains too. .. just isn't a platform. Merging into seems bizarre here.



I'm not sure what you mean by being purist. I share the same unease with you about

ArcGIS Desktop is their flagship product's name, but within that they have two flagship applications (ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro).

except that in my sense, ArcGIS Pro is more than ArcMap. Instead, it is equivalent to the old ArcGIS-Dekstop without the ArcGIS Pro. There had been rumors for quite a while that ArcGIS Pro will replace ArcGIS-Desktop based on newer technology etc.

Now in this situation where there are two overlapping subsystems (with separate version numbers) under the same suite, what should one call the "old" ArcGIS Desktop? If it's , I can still think. If it's , it seems to be misconception to me (Maybe it's just me).

But of course, I'm not in a position to speak for ESRI about how they brand they products. And I don't think anyone can by deciding on their behalf that the old should now be called .

I think it has been taught for a long time ArcMap is one component of ArcGIS-Desktop, along with ArcCatalog (and once ArcToolbox) plus other standalone items. This is why I think it is bizarre to replace with (or another component).

Since this is a poll, I just wanted to express my personal view as a ESRI user.

I think the point that we should not confuse with is also discussed elsewhere: Should arcmap tag be a synonym of arcgis-desktop

  • @AndreSilva What I stated is that merging [arcgis-desktop] into [arcmap] is bizarre. Never said anything about disambiguating them being bizarre. On disambiguating them, I think the opposite merge is more natural. I'm not sure about which questions should be considered after. But since the follow questions are based on the consensus here, I thought it's best to post here.
    – tinlyx
    Jun 27, 2018 at 1:58
  • Understood, thanks. The questions I was referring with ‘after’ are the ones hyperlinked in PolyGeo’s answer in gis.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4898/…. Jun 27, 2018 at 2:15
  • From Esri's positioning of their products ArcGIS Desktop is not a platform (ArcGIS is their platform's name). ArcGIS Desktop is their flagship product's name, but within that they have two flagship applications (ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro). Whatever way we tag questions from the ArcGIS Desktop product will need to be a pragmatic compromise rather than purist. Until the release of ArcGIS Pro, I was very comfortable with the arcgis-desktop being applied to all GUI questions from the ArcGIS Desktop product.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Jun 27, 2018 at 5:15
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    However, since the release of ArcGIS Pro (which has a different architecture from the other applications within ArcGIS Desktop) we have been applying arcgis-desktop to ArcMap/ArcCatalog questions and arcgis-pro to ArcGIS Pro questions. I think the way @AndreSilva, Midavalo and I are leaning quite strongly towards is a more workable way to tag. I base this on how many more people seem t know that they are working with ArcMap, than that they are working with an application within ArcGIS Desktop.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Jun 27, 2018 at 5:20
  • Thanks for the previous discussion; I had missed it (now updated in question). You said this is a poll, well, it is, but I originally thought about this Q to be more than that. That is why I asked 'how those two tags should be used and live together', 'is there anything we can do to improve their use in GIS SE'. I think you did not answer those (which is ok), but it might help to strengthen 'keeping [arcgis-desktop]' position (instead of eliminating it as suggested in the other answers) if you did. Jun 27, 2018 at 13:07

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