I began using ArcGIS Pro back in April or so. First I didn't really like the ribbon layout as it gives me a strong vibe of Microsoft products. But learning new things has always been exciting for me, therefore I kept at it.

Over the last couple of months, I found that ArcGIS Pro is so much faster at handling raster. For example, when I used ArcMap to do Extract by Mask on high-resolution aerial files, I had to leave the computer on after work so that it could be finished the next day. Sometimes I even had to leave it on for the entire weekend. However, now with ArcGIS Pro, similar tasks won't take longer than 10 mins. That difference is insane to me.

Does anyone else have similar experience? I'm wondering if anyone knows what fundamental changes Esri has made in ArcGIS Pro. Did they change the algorithms for most tasks? I find it unlikely since the ArcPy code is the same.

I don't have any software development experience, but I really want to learn a little bit more about it. Can anyone share with me how such a dramatic change transpired?

  • Are you now using ArcGIS Pro on the same computer you were previously using to run ArcMap?
    – elrobis
    Aug 23, 2018 at 19:20
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    @elrobis Yes. So it's a controlled variable. I have ArcMap 10.6.1 and Pro 2.2.1. Is there any way to record the run time of each process? It's probably in the Results. Aug 23, 2018 at 19:24
  • All rasters are not the same. FIle format, tiling, overviews, band count and many other things matter. Could you add image info or gdalinfo about your rasters? You may have something that is exceptionally hard to handle for ArcMap.
    – user30184
    Aug 23, 2018 at 19:25
  • Sure. Just give me a moment. I want to run a raster extract task on the same file and see how long it will take for each to complete it. Aug 23, 2018 at 19:26
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    Pro is natively 64-bit versus ArcMap's 32-bit? There's a different graphics pipeline (Esri-built versus Microsoft's)? It's going to be due to a lot of stuff I expect. Pro opens slower than ArcMap, at least for me. Do you have parallel processing turned on in Pro? Background processing? (Esri employee)
    – mkennedy
    Aug 23, 2018 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


Let's turn some of the comments into a partial answer. I'm an Esri employee but not involved in the guts of ArcGIS Pro so I'm going by what I've heard over the years and can find in the help.

ArcGIS Pro uses an Esri-built graphics engine, optimized for GIS data and which uses a GPU if available. ArcGIS Desktop uses the Microsoft graphics engine which had some limitations that we could not work around (transparency when printing).

ArcGIS Pro is natively 64-bit unlike ArcGIS Desktop. Thus, 64-bit background processing is no longer needed. Tools are run asynchronously allowing other work in the application to be performed while a tool is running.

Some tools support parallel processing.

I do not know why rasters in particular seem to perform faster. Tools had to be ported/rewritten for Pro so there may have been some optimization that occurred.

  • Thanks a lot. I posted my previous comment right before seeing this. I think this is a great answer for my question. Aug 24, 2018 at 18:15

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