I do just enough digitizing (and touching up/ drawing when post-processing) to perhaps warrant the purchase of a Wacom tablet. Just wondering how well it plays with ArcGIS. What are your experiences? Is there a learning curve. Can the tablet and pen replace the mouse all together?
I have been using a wacom tablet with ArcGIS for the past 5 years and have found it to be incredibly useful. I have only used the Intuous 3 (A4) but the ability to program the 8 shortcut keys as well as the trackpads has saved countless repetitive hand trips to the keyboard - and when you are capturing a lot of little areas of data this can be quite some distance.
However, by far the most beneficial aspect is that your hand rests in a more natural position, rather than rotated (like you get with a mouse) and so you can use it all day everyday, and you do not get any pains in the hand or higher up in your arm. I no longer use the mouse for any of my applications because the tablet is so easy to use once you have got used to it.
If you are capturing lots of data and need to be returning to the keyboard a lot then you should seriously consider purchasing - at around $400 it is well worth it.
Apologies if I sound like an agent for Wacom, I am not and the same would go for any tablet.
I use mine all the time with ArcGIS Desktop. The learning curve isn't as steep as you'd think. It becomes much more natural to draw on the canvas than trying to use a mouse. I've noticed that ArcGIS 10 seems designed for the Wacom tablets so it makes it very easy to work with.
My productivity goes up using the Wacom tablet, the quality of my work goes up and my arm doesn't hurt like it does with a mouse. GIS and tablets should go hand in hand.
We've used the Wacom Intuos 4 for a couple of digitizing jobs in the last year, and had a really positive experience. We've used it with both ArcGIS 9.3 and 10, no conflicts or other problems there. It took a day or so to really get into the swing of using it properly, but once past that learning curve, I'd say it improved our productivity significantly. I'd also say it helped in the area of ergonomics - much less wrist/hand strain than using a mouse.
That being said, it hasn't replaced the mouse for everyday use for us. Didn't really get into the shortcut buttons, but I can definitely see how they might be useful. It took some minor tweaking of digitizing settings in Arc to make it work just right. Not sure if this applies to you, but we had some minor problems running Photoshop and Illustrator simultaneously with the tablet, but I understand there's a fix out there.
All in all, well worth the $300 or so it cost us.
I've seen the Wacom used by a few Photoshop expert friends, and they really like it. Just be sure to get a big enough model, as the small ones are tough to use on a high resolution screen.
"Just wondering how well it plays with ArcGIS. What are your experiences? Is there a learning curve. Can the tablet and pen replace the mouse all together? "
I have used Wacom technology for over three years (IBM ThinkPad and also experimented with their interactive penable monitors). Most of my work is in Public Safety (Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement).
- It "plays" very well with ArcGIS 10, especially with the new and more powerful Editor environment (editing polygons!!!). I think Esri had such tablet/penabled technology in mind when they developed the latest release.
- There is not much of a learning curve at all...
- However, you might want to look at how other people have customized their settings with the pen in the ArcGIS editing environment to take full advantage of the technology. Then you can replace the mouse for most functions.
Hope this helps.
- Paul D.
Our soil scientists like using it but when you have a really large datasets that can became an issue. We have a large dataset and they have to make line change with topology and it takes them forever for the topology to finish its work. Thank God I don’t have the Wamcom tablet. They just hating it now and wish they could have their workstation back. They are not sure if they will replace Wacom. I feel sorry for them. They are frustrated because when you load ArcGIS to their Wacom tablet, it is really realy SLOW. They are on network server.
I have 2 dual monitor’s workstation and I am glad I did not get it because I was not sure how will it work with my time doing GIS work. It saved me from getting frustrated. So, I am not sure if anyone has any experience with large datasets on Wacom tablet. Anyone ?
We have a detailed blog post on our experience using the Wacom DTU-2231. http://letters-sal.blogspot.com/2011/05/digitizing-wacom-way.html