Developer Tools


ArcGIS provides the foundation for Microsoft .NET developers to rapidly build GIS applications for desktop, mobile, and Web and access GIS Web services on the Microsoft .NET platform.

Desktop Applications

Developers can use their .NET experience to create desktop GIS client applications with ArcGIS to consume and process local solutions or server solutions via the Web or a local area network (LAN).

  • Embed 2D and 3D mapping controls in your application to allow users to zoom, pan, and rotate maps with ArcGIS Engine.
  • Create, query, map, and analyze cell-based raster data with spatial modeling.
  • Provide advanced GIS functionality with ArcGIS extensions to solve vehicle routing problems, display real-world surface features, or analyze steepest-path determinations.
  • Extend ArcGIS for Desktop by creating custom commands, buttons, windows, toolbars, and extensions.
  • Add geometry objects—such as points, polygons, multipoints, polylines, and multipatches—to represent specific features in your application.

To learn more about building custom GIS desktop applications, visit the ArcGIS Engine Resource Center. To learn more about extending ArcGIS for Desktop, visit the ArcGIS for Desktop Resource Center.

Mobile Applications

Mobile applications can be built with ArcGIS to incorporate GIS in the field with a range of mobile devices.

  • Synchronize changes between mobile devices (e.g., smartphones, pocket PCs, tablets, and laptops) and the ArcGIS for Server to allow updates to be made in near real time with ArcGIS for Windows Mobile.
  • Use the Tablet PC toolbar in ArcGIS Engine to create map notes and sketch diagrams to geographic locations.
  • Capture and display GPS locations in your mobile applications.
  • Build new tools to create new points and lines and update the shape of existing features on your map.

To learn more about developing mobile GIS applications, visit the ArcGIS for Windows Mobile Resource Center.

Web Applications

Rich Internet

Esri provides a cross-browser, client-side ArcGIS Web Mapping for Silverlight that allows you to build rich Internet applications using ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS for Server services.

  • Display your data on an ArcGIS Online or a Bing Maps base map.
  • Add graphics and markup to a map interactively.
  • Locate addresses and display the results.
  • Calculate routes and display directions.

The Web mapping API for Silverlight is free to use in noncommercial external environments. Download ArcGIS API for Microsoft Silverlight/WPF.

Server Side

For a server-based approach for developing Web applications, Esri offers developers a Web ADF for the .NET platform that includes a range of tools for creating or integrating GIS into your environment.

  • Create GIS Web applications without writing code using the Web mapping template in ArcGIS for Server.
  • Use AJAX-enabled Web controls to pan and zoom, display maps, find addresses, and perform geoprocessing tasks in your application.
  • Use the Web ADF JavaScript library to access the Web controls in JavaScript.

To learn more about building Web applications with .NET Web ADF, visit the ArcGIS for Server Resource Center.

Web Services

Esri has Web services that help you take geographic information and make it accessible using standards for Web services.

  • Consume ArcGIS for Server services to serve maps, find address locations, access raster data, and provide spatial analysis.
  • Use APIs for REST and SOAP to interact programmatically with an ArcGIS Web service.
  • Publish and share your maps and data in KML and OGC format using ArcGIS Web services.

To learn more about publishing and consuming Web services, visit the ArcGIS for Server Resource Center.

How Do I Get Started?

To develop on the ArcGIS platform and gain access to .NET-based Esri products and tools, subscribe to the Esri Developer Network (EDN).

An application built with ArcGIS Web Mapping for Silverlight uses drive-time analysis and live video feeds to dispatch police vehicles.