Comparison of ArcGIS and Manifold GIS

It is simply a titanic job that has made a Manifold user named tomasfa and has uploaded to the forum of that tool. It reminds me of that work by Arthur J. Lembo when he did a very systematic work of how to with ArcGIS and Manifold the same routine. More than the comparative sense, the number of actions separated by topic has caught my attention, which is a very educational document to make comparisons of GIS tools when making a decision.

The comparison is based on a matrix that separates the integration by routines of normal use, note, it is not based on the routines that Manifold does but those of arcGIS, then it is identified if they are done by ArcReader, ArcView, ArcEditor or ArcInfo. On the right is indicated whether or not Manifold GIS does.

Comparison between manifold and arcgis

The opinions of the forum are biased and somewhat sectarian, which is not surprising since it is a forum of a specific application and the same would happen if the forum were of the competition. It is also useful to understand some of the philosophy of the Manifold developers.

To this work I see at least these utilities:

  • List routines for a GIS application
  • List of areas to consider in a GIS application
  • Compare what ArcReader does with ArcView, ArcEditor and ArcInfo
  • Compare ArcGIS with Manifold

In the end, the document is not conclusive as it focuses on making the comparison that is supposed to serve for decision making. Of course, the one-to-one comparison is not that straightforward, especially since ArcGIS is based on a Basic tool and multiple Extensions or specialized versions oriented to different niches. While Manifold is a tool that tries to make the routines most used by GIS users, in a single tool (although has scalability) so many things that do ArcGIS extensions do not include them but in many of those things ArcGIS exceeds what it does with all its extensions and above all at a price very low.

Here I leave the list that I think is great, only the headers are because each of those routines includes more than 1,100 tasks and not lose the original sense I leave in English.

Map Interaction

  • Map Navigation
  • Queries
  • Tables
  • graphs
  • Graphs types
  • USA Routing (StreetMap ™ USA)

map display


  • General Mapping
  • Tabular Data
  • Vector Data Display
  • Thematic Vector Data Classifications
  • Symbology
  • surface display
  • Raster Data Display
  • Raster Display: Gradual Color Ramp Data-Stretching Algorithms
  • Raster Display Statistics
  • Raster Display Resample Methods
  • Raster Display Classification Methods
  • Raster Catalog Footprint Display
  • RasterTools
  • Animation

Data Editing

  • Multipart Features (Point, Line, and Polygon)
  • Map Navigation While Editing
  • Vector Data Transformations
  • Generalization
  • Coordinate Geometry (COGO)

Raster Editing and Vectorization

  • Vectorize All Raster Formats Supported in ArcGIS
  • ArcGIS Integration
  • Raster Snapping Geometry
  • Raster Snapping Environment
  • Vectorization Tracing
  • Automatic Vectorization
  • Vectorization Parameters
  • Vectorization Preview
  • Raster Cell Selection
  • Raster Cleanup Environment
  • Raster Cleanup Painting Tools
  • Support Tools

Mobile - GPS Integration

  • GPS Support
  • Tablet PC

Multiuser Geodatabase Editing

  • General Editing
  • Administration Geoprocessing
  • Versioning Geoprocessing
  • Short Transaction Editing

Multiuser Geodatabase Archiving

  • Display and Query
  • Manage

Distributed Geodatabases

  • Manage Replicas
  • Disconnected Editing Geoprocessing
  • Distributed Geodatabases Geoprocessing

Spatial Referencing Image Data (Georeferencing)

  • Tools
  • Transformation Methods
  • Save Spatial Reference Information
Data management

  • General
  • Search for GIS Data By
  • Manage Coverage Data
  • UML / CASE Tool Integration
  • Geodatabase Administration
  • Interchange File Import / Export

Attribute Validation

  • Subtypes Geoprocessing
  • Domain Geoprocessing
  • Create and Edit Relationships between Features
  • Geodatabase Relationship Behavior
  • Relationship Class Geoprocessing


  • map display
  • editing
  • Topology Rule Violation Geodatabase
    Fix Operations
  • Geodatabase Topology Management
  • Topology Rules Geodatabase
  • Geoprocessing


  • Utility Network Analysis
  • Data management
  • Geometric Network Connectivity Rules
  • Geometric Network Editing

Linear Referencing (Routes)

  • Display
  • editing
  • Geoprocessing


  • General
  • View Metadata
  • Geoprocessing

Coverage Geoprocessing

  • Application Framework
  • Conversion
  • Aggregation
  • Composite Features
  • Generalization
  • Table Management
  • Pr
  • Topologies
  • General


  • Environment
  • Supported Scripting Environments
  • General Data Management
  • Data Comparison
  • Table Management
  • Field Management
  • Feature Class Management
  • Feature Management
  • File Geodatabase
  • Generalization
  • Projections and Transformations
  • Raster Management
  • Raster Conversion
  • Raster Transformation / Projection
  • Conversion
  • Layers and Table Views
  • Core Analysis
  • Spatial Statistics Tools-Analyzing Patterns
  • Spatial Statistics Tools-Mapping Clusters
  • Spatial Statistics Tools-Measuring Geographic Distributions
  • Spatial Statistics Analysis-Modeling Spatial Relationships
  • Spatial Statistics Tools-Rendering
  • Spatial Statistics Tools-Utilities
  • Multidimension Tools
  • Workspace Management
  • Database Management
  • Table Joins
  • data indexing
  • ArcGIS Server Management

Although the work is being completed collaboratively by the users of the forum, here you can download the full file

Golgi Alvarez

Writer, researcher, specialist in Land Management Models. He has participated in the conceptualization and implementation of models such as: National Property Administration System SINAP in Honduras, Management Model of Joint Municipalities in Honduras, Integrated Cadastre-Registry Management Model in Nicaragua, Territory Administration System SAT in Colombia . Editor of the Geofumadas knowledge blog since 2007 and creator of the AulaGEO Academy that includes more than 100 courses on GIS - CAD - BIM - Digital Twins topics.

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