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I've been tasked with a thesis project where i have to extend the features of ArcGis. I've been asked to create a model written in Python that can run out of ArcGIS 10. This model will have a simple user interface where the user can drag/drop a variety of shapefiles and enter the values for particular variables in order for the model to run effectively. Once the model has finished running, a new shapefile is created that lays out the most cost effective Collector Cable route for a wind turbine from point A to point B.

I'd like to know if such a functionality/ extension already exists in ArcGIS so i don't have to re-invent the wheel. If not then what is the best programming language to learn to extend ArcGIS for this (Python vs Visual basic vs Java). My background is Java, PHP, Jquery and Javascript. Also any pointers in the right direction i.e documentation, resources etc would be hugely appreciated

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I don't want to do your homework for you, but much of the framework already exists. Try looking at Script Tools.

You will have to write the python script yourself, but it can very easily be run from ArcToolbox. The UI comes from the ArcGIS desktop, and has the standard look and feel.

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Lol..thanks. I wouldnt want that either but info on ArcGIS is so little on the web that its hard to know what the right direction to take is. Don`t want to learn VB only to find out that i really should have picked up that python textbook instead –  IQ_HiGh Oct 20 '12 at 18:34
    
Do you happen to know of any such extensions just for a look and feel? –  IQ_HiGh Oct 20 '12 at 19:03
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Really the ArcGIS documentation is pretty thorough, and for everything else, there's gis.stackexchange –  om_henners Oct 20 '12 at 20:07
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@IQ_HiGh I don't want to help you by spoonfeeding the exact links, is because your question doesn't indicate all that you have already researched on the subject. If you tell us what all you have found out, and where exactly you are stuck, we'll definitely help you out. What we won't do, is to do your basic research for you. ArcGIS has one of the largest documentation base from all the Softwares I have used. Just have a look at the ArcGIS help that is installed on your system. –  Devdatta Tengshe Oct 21 '12 at 13:15

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