I want to get the GMMS 3.0 computer mapping system for Christian ministry purposes. Should I get the GMMS for ArcView or AtlasGIS version?
In short, the ArcView version is far more powerful, easier to learn and has a stronger support community; the Atlas version can run on older, simpler computer systems and costs less.
You should get GMMS for ArcView if:
You are making a new, long-term commitment to GIS technology for your ministry.
You need features supported only in ArcView, such as raster image layers (e.g. hill shading, satellite images, etc), layer transparency, etc.
You need to work with GIS data in a wide range of data formats.
You expect to hire staff with GIS experience (since this software is widely used in academic GIS programs and commercial environments).
You should get the GMMS for AtlasGIS if:
You are already using an Atlas GIS-based version of the GMMS, and do not want to go through the substantial learning curve of learning to use a new GIS software package.
You wish to use GIS for an immediate project and do not wish to make the investment in computer systems and software required for ArcView.
GMMS for AtlasGIS Version
Atlas GIS is the software GMI and its clients have been using (in various versions) for the last 13 years. This software has served us very well, runs efficiently on older computer systems, and is relatively easy to learn. Unfortunately, the manufacturer has stopped selling Atlas GIS as a retail product, and will not continue to upgrade the product. GMI is committed to continuing to support Atlas GIS at least through the 2-3 year product life cycle of GMMS 3.0, but cannot guarantee it will work properly on future releases of Windows.
GMMS for Atlas 3.0:
Runs on nearly any computer with Windows 95 or later; it is a very efficient operation on machines with limited processor power and memory.
Has strong built-in capabilities for analysis and manipulation of statistical and geographic data.
Has geographic data broken down into continents; data for only areas of interest can be selectively copied to your hard disk to save space.
Includes all geographic data components in one file.
Labels may be repositioned without creating annotation.
Includes the ability to create equations in table cells.
Table fields may be renamed and resized.
Runs on a minimal computer system – one that has at least a 66 MHz 486 CPU, 8 MB RAM, Windows 95, 70 MB free disk space, 8X CD-ROM, and 640 x 480 x 8 bit (256 color) display.
Is no longer supported by the manufacturer (ESRI), which means it will become obsolete much sooner than the ArcView version.
Costs significantly less than GMMS for ArcView.
GMMS for ArcView Version
A customized package based on ArcView 8.3 will increasingly become the primary software platform for the Global Ministry Mapping System. This software has a commanding market share in the commercial GIS world, is relatively early in its product life cycle, is commonly used in GIS training programs, and has a great many features Atlas GIS lacks. It requires relatively powerful and up-to-date computers to run.
GMMS for ArcView 3.0:
Software wizards give simplified control of the 60+ layers of the Global Mission Base Map data. Additional GMI-produced extensions to simplify other ministry-related geographic operations are anticipated for future versions. A large and growing number of software extensions produced by others (both free downloads from arcscripts.esri.com and commercial software) are also available.
Map layouts can include charts, images, or other graphics (either those produced by the GIS software or pasted from other applications such as Excel), etc.
Can include images (such as topography, aerial photography, or satellite images) as layers in a map. Global shaded relief (shadows of hills) and colored elevation (green valleys, white mountaintops, etc) are included in the package. Images such as scanned maps or aerial photographs can be aligned with base map data, and additional geographic data can be digitized from the scanned image on-screen.
Automatically generates and places text labels to avoid overlaps.
Layers can be made partially transparent, allowing display, for example, of both a statistically-generated theme (such as Bible translation status of language groups) and landform information (such as shaded relief) on the same map.
Geographic data is all globally seamless.
Directly opens and displays without conversion, or can convert for editing, a wide range of geographic data formats.
Directly opens and displays a wide range of data table types without requiring conversion.
Can use a single data table in several layers of a map.
Improved protection of underlying data: changing data requires the user to explicitly start an editing session, and data changes are not committed until the end of the edit session.
Improved handling of international character sets, including Unicode support for most text-related features.
Works with optional ArcGIS Extensions to perform advanced spatial analysis, statistical analysis, 3D analysis, and map publishing.
Has a tremendous and rapidly growing support community: ArcView is the world's most popular desktop mapping software with more than 500,000 copies in use worldwide; ArcView is taught in many universities and technical colleges; there are a host of third-party ArcView vendors and developers; and ESRI is deeply committed to strongly supporting and enhancing ArcView for many years to come.
Requires a computer system with at least a 400 MHz Pentium II CPU, 256 MB RAM, Windows NT 4.0 SP6, 2000, or XP, approximately 2.0 GB available disk space, and 1024 x 768 x 16 bit display.
Costs significantly more than AtlasGIS GMMS, although significant financial (scholarship) assistance is available for evangelical ministries in the Majority World.
We recommend you go with the GMMS for ArcView version unless there is a particular reason why the GMMS for Atlas version is a better fit for your ministry.
Global Mapping International Helping the Church See www.gmi.org