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FAQ: Why do the results of the Drive Time analysis differ between the Esri Business Analyst web application and the ArcGIS for Desktop Business Analyst extension?

Question

Why do the results of the Drive Time analysis differ between the Esri Business Analyst web application and the ArcGIS for Desktop Business Analyst extension?

Answer

There are two reasons for different drive time results obtained when the analysis is done in the Esri Business Analyst web application as opposed to the Business Analyst extension in ArcGIS for Desktop. The Esri Business Analyst web application uses the GeoEnrichment service to create drive time service areas, and this has two key elements. First, the Esri Business Analyst web application uses a synchronous execution mode, and secondly, the application uses a hierarchy of roads. Synchronous execution allows for faster display and improves performance, but the method compromises on the level of details of the input. Therefore, the Esri Business Analyst web application creates a more generalized output when compared with the Business Analyst extension.

In the Business Analyst extension in ArcMap, the method to calculate drive time is automatically set to Standard Drive Times in the Drive Time tool. To get the drive time polygons similar to the results of Business Analyst Online, change the Solver_Id parameter to Detailed Drive Times in the Drive Time window. The Esri Business Analyst web application automatically creates detailed drive times.

Another approach that can be taken is to sign in (File > Sign In) using the Esri Business Analyst web application credentials in ArcMap, which displays a third drive time option, ArcGIS Online API, which is the same method that the Esri Business Analyst web application uses. Using this option ensures that the Business Analyst extension displays the same drive time output polygons as the Esri Business Analyst web application.

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