I would like to find out how useful is the $9000? ESRI Production Mapping extension. According to ESRI is helps "Standardize and centralize detailed cartographic production with tools for creating and maintaining derived data, symbology, page elements, and maps."

Can someone provide opinions on contour creation and labelling, layout features, styles (apparently stored within a geodatabase?) Area there any enhancements to the legend creation process?

closed as primarily opinion-based by PolyGeo, Devdatta Tengshe, Fezter, MappaGnosis, BradHards Sep 21 '13 at 3:49

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    10 Years in the 'Cartographic' side of GIS using ArcGIS never needed it, we have always exported to Adobe Illustrator and finalised the product for computer to plate printing. Do recommend Maplex Engine and Cartographic Representations. – Mapperz Sep 19 '13 at 16:56
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    Doesn't Data Driven Pages and arcpy.mapping pretty much cover most of this? – blah238 Sep 19 '13 at 20:04
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    "Can someone provide opinions" is not a good phrase to include in a question because seeking answers which are opinion based is one of the main choices for closing questions. In any event, it sounds like you are asking many questions in this current one. To focus your question perhaps try asking something like "What is the advantage of Esri Production Mapping over ArcGIS for Desktop for legend creation?" – PolyGeo Sep 20 '13 at 3:20
  • I do a lot of cartography work using just ESRI desktop with no extensions and no export to AI. I would say personally I wouldn't recommend it. You can always do a trial on it. Most advanced cartographic work will require some sort of manual placement anyway. – Antonio Locandro Sep 22 '13 at 4:50

I would say that the real usefulness determined by you would be next best thing. I don't know what the ownership level is but I don't see a lot of questions or comments on the extension.
Perhaps because the plts ext is used primarily in the military realm and they don't talk as much as we do.
esri is pretty easy going with trials and a request is all it takes.
here are quite a few nicely compiled demo videos.

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