I have a GIS background though have bin in another field for 3 years. Recently I have joined a project with an expansion goal in which I am expected to use gravity model like Huff model. I have started learning about this model. My superiors want to spend less and achive more in case of software. We already have ARCGIS 10.4 Baisc License. In case of our projects we defintely need Advanced license.

I read on this site that there are two other softwares like Regiograph & Maptitude.

I need to advise my company about the required software/lisense.

What should I recommend they buy to be more effective at a reasonable price?

  • Had a similiar target last year. If you "defintely need (ArcGIS) advanced license", your choise should be ArcGIS, because it's needed anyway: For example there is a toolbox at ArGIS online, which adds Huff to ArcGIS Desktop but you need advanced license, Spatial Analyst (and Network Anakyst). If you are familiar with programming (Python etc.), you could write your own model for ArcGIS, for example the drivetimes/ distances of the Huff Model could be calculated with the Goolge Maps API (or simillar APIs), that would be a good workaround for the Network Analyst. – André May 7 '16 at 11:40
  • Thank you very much for your advice. it is applicable in Germany as well? – user2355306 May 9 '16 at 6:58

You say your company wants to spend less and achieve more. If that's true, then there's really no better value than Esri software. Esri is the gold standard with GIS. Nothing else on the market is really at the same level in terms of accuracy, scale and capabilities. Open-Source GIS is getting better, but it's still very much a work in progress and you need to have pretty good development resources to make those solutions work the way you want them to.

You mention that you have an ArcGIS for Desktop Basic License and that you would definitely need an Advanced License. That's probably not actually right. When you purchase the Esri Business Analyst Desktop extension, regardless of the license level of your core ArcGIS for Desktop software, you receive access to all of the tools in the Esri Business Analyst Desktop product suite and their core product dependencies for the license level of Esri Business Analyst Desktop which you install, which could be either Basic or Standard. That means Esri Business Analyst will not only provide the additional Business Analyst functionality, but will also unlock some functionality that would normally be provisioned only at a higher license level of ArcGIS for Desktop.

The Basic license of Esri Business Analyst Desktop includes the vast majority of the data and tools provided by the Esri Business Analyst Desktop extension. I believe the Tapestry data or some of the Market Potential Data as well as a couple of niche functions are licensed only at the Standard license level however, the Original Huff Model, Advanced Huff Model and all of the real value-add tools and data are licensed at the Basic level.

If your company wants to spend less and achieve more, Esri Business Analyst is really the way I would go. It's not cheap and I recognize that, but in the long run it will probably be cheaper than any other solution you might consider because what you will otherwise be forced to expend time and money to gather data and rebuild functionality that Esri's Business Analyst solution would have provided out of the box, and you probably won't be able to do it quite as well as them.

Here's some links to the Esri Business Analyst product: Esri Business Analyst Desktop

Esri Business Analyst Original Huff Model

Esri Business Analyst Advanced Huff Model

  • How you mentioned Esri Business Analyst is a powefull utility. I had a similiar target like user2355306 last year and contacted therefore some Esri resellers here in Germany. They told me, that the Business Analyst - currently - aims to the US market (and Canada, if I remember correctly), primarily. If you work outside these regions, maybe in the EU, they do not recommend a purchase of the software. – André May 7 '16 at 11:02
  • I would tend to agree that the product has a stronger dataset in North American markets. That said, their international datasets are getting better by the day. Also, the bulk of the cost of the Esri Business Analyst Desktop extension is not actually the software, but the data that ships with it. Esri has to pay their data vendors royalties on the data they bundle with the software. So in other markets where there is less data, or the data is lower quality, the cost for the product should be lower. – MrBubbles May 7 '16 at 22:57
  • Thank you very much for your helpful feedback. Is that mean that I can not use it in Germany? – user2355306 May 9 '16 at 6:35
  • You can certainly use it in Germany. As I said before, the datasets bundled with Esri Business Analyst in Germany will not be as rich as the datasets bunbled with Esri Business Analyst in the US or Canada. Here's a link to Esri's Advanced Demographic Dataset for Germany: blogs.esri.com/esri/arcgis/2014/12/12/…. From a software functionality, it should be identical. The data is what will change. I would encourage you to talk with an Esri Distributor in Germany for more information on the differences. – MrBubbles May 9 '16 at 13:43

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