Macintosh & iOS Support

There is a common misconception that there are no options for Apple Macintosh or IOS users who want to use GIS. There are several choices available for Apple Macintosh and iOS users:
**Especially useful for those new to GIS


Un-retouched screenshot of Intel-based Macintosh running Web browsers with ArcGIS.com Map Viewer (upper left) and Community Analyst (lower left), and, at the same time, Parallels running WindowsXP, with ArcMap (lower right) and ArcGlobe (upper right).

I. Web-based GIS
Online mapping is the way that many students and educators are now getting engaged with GIS. It is a powerful option, totally appropriate and satisfactory for many. Using Web-based interactive mapping tools, students and teachers can learn that they get to control the map, and begin to understand some important principles of cartography (scale, projection, symbolization, etc) simply by seeing lots of maps. Examples here include:

These and other sites can typically be viewed from either Windows or Macintosh computers. Mapping websites can be a challenge for some versions of some browsers, so experiment. Find more information about webmapping.

II. ArcGIS.com Viewer
http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html
ArcGIS is a complete system, of which ArcGIS Online is a part. There is a simple Javascript-based viewer (and thus usable on any Web browser, on PC or Mac) which allows users to begin making maps instantly, using content from ArcGIS Online. Users can build maps with varied content, integrate focused layers on top of varied basemaps, save maps in an ArcGIS Online account, and share them with others. This is an excellent way to begin exploring data from the world down to neighborhood level.

III. Windows-based tools under BootCamp
http://www.apple.com/support/bootcamp
Apple has released a product called BootCamp, available for MacOS 10.4 and higher, which allows the Intel-based Macs to load a full version of WinXP or above, and run Windows applications at "full speed." Upon boot-up, the user chooses to boot into MacOS or into Windows. Testing done by Esri staff and others seems to confirm that such a setup is indeed able to run Windows and applications at "full speed", and that ArcGIS applications are able to run even heavy-duty analytical operations very swiftly. The user must have a properly licensed copy of Windows and must be facile with running Windows.

IV. Windows-based tools under Parallels
http://www.parallels.com/products/desktop/
Parallels has a "virtual machine" product called Parallels Desktop for Mac which allows the Intel-based Macs to load a full version of Windows (many versions) and run applications at "high speed." The user can move back and forth between Windows and MacOS applications. Testing done by Esri staff and others seem to confirm that such a setup works quite well, and current versions of ArcGIS applications (including 3D applications) run swiftly even for analytical operations, though perhaps not quite as fast as on a native PC or under BootCamp (since memory is split between the two operating systems). Here again, the user must have a properly licensed copy of Windows and must be facile with running Windows-based applications.

V. Windows-based tools under VMware Fusion
http://www.vmware.com/products/fusion/
VMware has released a "virtual machine" product called Fusion which allows the Intel-based Macs to load a full version of Windows (XP and above) and run applications at "high speed." The user can move back and forth between Windows and MacOS applications. Esri staff has not tested Fusion but reports from others indicate that such a setup works well, and current versions of ArcGIS applications run swiftly even for analytical operations, though perhaps not quite as fast as on a native PC or under BootCamp (since memory is split between the two operating systems). Here again, the user must have a properly licensed copy of Windows and must be facile with running Windows-based applications.

VI. Mobile Apps for iOS Devices
Apple's iOS operating system for iPhone and iPad, includes browsers that can run Javascript apps. Esri has also released custom apps for iOS which can be downloaded from iTunes on your computer or the App Store on your device.

  • ArcGIS: ArcGIS is a great way to discover and use maps. Maps come to life in ArcGIS. Tap on the map or use your current location and discover information about what you see. You can query the map, search and find interesting information, measure distances and areas of interest and share maps with others.
  • BAO (Business Analyst Online): With BAO, you can quickly and easily get key demographic facts about any location in the U.S. It's an invaluable tool for anyone in commercial real estate, as well as a fun way to check out an area when you're on the go.