TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- I've been using IHS Petra (formally Geoplus Petra) for more than 3 years. I will start off by generally saying the software is outdated, clumsy, incredibly unstable (especially the ridiculous overlay file), buggy, and contains inadequate and outdated help menus and I can go on and on, but that's just a few things off the top of my head.
The menus are cluttered and certain items are buried and hard to find especially if you don't use the program regularly. It's a closed program so there is no ability to create custom menus or buttons so you don't have to see every single option the program offers all at once. Updates seem to add on and clutter already clunky and sloppy menus.
I have been an ESRI software user for years before approaching Petra. The mapping capabilities in Petra are weak and that is putting it mildly. And what I mean by weak, the map module only displays "graphics" when showing map layers. So fields data cannot be loaded into a layer like you would expect in a GIS or like you can in a shapefile. As a result there is an inability to do any actual geoprocessing from the layers or anything that makes having a GIS so useful and powerful.
I almost feel embarrassed to be using such archaic mapping tools especially since I have colleagues that are doing really fascinating things with some of their mapping, things that are impossible to even start in IHS Petra. I feel like I'm falling behind because of the limitations of Petra. Oh and text is also displayed as a graphic for everything, so good luck with managing labels and things of that nature. It's more or less comedic in that you should have a sense of humor when operating this program or you'll find yourself cussing and banging your head to the point where you don't care who in the office hears you.
The software is also incredibly unstable. I find the program crashes on a regular basis, so I am constantly creating a back-up of the overlay file. The overlay file is actually the most unstable. Sometimes the software likes to create duplicate layers within the same layers, so sometimes I'll delete something to find that I didn't actually delete it because there was a layer underneath that one. I find that layers are occasionally deleted or partially deleted for no reason and a lot of times you don't even know it happened until it's too late. A layer could have been partially deleted and you might not find out until days or even months later, so you end up having to create the layer over again which is not always easy and also brings me to another point.
I find myself doing things over and over in Petra. Whether it be regenerating a deleted layer or resaving some map settings and limits, it all becomes very tedious, time consuming and frustrating. And I'm too tired to start about what you have to get everyone in a work group to operate off the same layers or that the whole concept of the overlay file is ridiculous. But hey, if you made it this far, thanks for listening to my rant. I hope that there are others out there that share my pain. I know that there are others in this office.