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ArcGIS Engine is a complete library of embeddable geographic information system (GIS) components for developers to build custom applications. Using ArcGIS Engine, developers can embed ArcGIS functions into other information tools and build custom applications that deliver advanced GIS solutions. ArcGIS Engine is supported on Windows, Solaris, and Linux (Intel); therefore, developers can create cross-platform custom solutions for a wide range of users.
The essential features of ArcGIS Engine can be broadly categorized as shown in the following table and illustration:
The two major components of ArcGIS Engine—ArcObjects Software Development Kit (SDK) for the Java Platform and a redistributable ArcGIS Engine Runtime—provide the platform for all ArcGIS applications. The SDK is a toolkit for application developers. It provides visual components, samples, tools, wizards, templates, object application programming interfaces (APIs), and Help topics that help developers build sophisticated GIS applications.
All applications built with the ArcObjects SDK require ArcGIS Engine Runtime or ArcGIS Desktop installed, with the appropriate license, to execute successfully. ArcGIS Engine Runtime is the platform on which ArcGIS Desktop is built; this allows users of ArcGIS Desktop applications to execute custom applications based on ArcGIS Engine.
ArcGIS Engine provides the core functionality of all ArcGIS applications, such as map interaction, map creation, map analysis, data creation (shape file and personal geodatabase), developer controls, and developer technologies and geoprocessing. Also, additional application programming capabilities, such as geodatabase update, spatial, 3D, network, tracking, schematics, or data interoperability are provided as specific extensions.
- Geodatabase Update extension—The Geodatabase Update extension for ArcGIS Engine Runtime adds the ability to create and update a multiuser geodatabase managed with ArcSDE or a file geodatabase. This includes the ability to work with schemas and versioned geodatabases. The Geodatabase Update extension unlocks ArcGIS Engine Runtime with the necessary ArcObjects to run custom editing and advanced geodatabase solutions. These solutions include applications that deal with GIS data automation and compilation, and the construction and maintenance of geodatabase features. The Geodatabase Update extension provides the ability to programmatically create geodatabase behaviors, such as versions, linear networks, topologies, subtypes, and geometric networks.
- Spatial extension—The ArcGIS Engine Runtime Spatial extension provides a powerful set of functions that allow applications to create, query, and analyze cell-based raster data. This type of analysis allows users to derive information about their data, identify spatial relationships, find suitable locations, and calculate the accumulated cost of traveling from one point to another. Other advanced applications that this extension supports include the calculation of slope, aspect, and contours against digital elevation models (DEMs).
- 3D extension—The 3D extension for ArcGIS Engine Runtime enables the visualization of data in three dimensions. This extension supplements standard ArcGIS Engine with the components for viewing a surface from multiple viewpoints and determining what is visible from a chosen location. SceneControl and GlobeControl provide the interface for viewing multiple layers of 3D and global data for visualizing data, creating surfaces, and analyzing surfaces.
- Network extension—The Network extension enhances standard ArcGIS Engine Runtime by adding the capability of routing, service area analysis, and creating and managing network datasets. The Network extension allows developers to create and deploy powerful custom applications for transportation, emergency response, fire, military, and a host of other purposes.
- Maplex extension—The Maplex extension allows developers to leverage the Maplex label placement engine for high-quality text and label placement, allowing maps created with ArcGIS Desktop and Maplex to look the same with a custom ArcGIS Engine solution.
- Tracking extension—The Tracking extension supports the display, analysis, and manipulation of temporal data within an ArcGIS Engine solution.
- Schematics extension—The Schematics extension provides the developer components and ArcObjects to manage schematic data and processes. The Schematics extension to ArcGIS Engine supports the analysis, display, and manipulation of schematic data.
- Data Interoperability extension—The Data Interoperability extension eliminates barriers for data sharing by providing direct data access, transformation, and export capabilities via geoprocessing tools. This extension enables ArcGIS Engine applications to use and distribute data in many formats.