I want to build a desktop GIS application with following features in it:

  • It can be able to read all the attributes of any digitized map
  • It can be able to draw polygon or line
  • With the help of that line, that app can calculate the distance between two points
  • it can be able to calculate area in case of polygon

I have two options and I do not know which to choose or what is best.

Should I use NET Runtime SDK or .NET ArcObjects to develop my GIS application?

My level of C# is moderate. I am not a beginner nor expert.

  • 1
    Are you dependent on ESRI? You have a number of Open-Source SDK's that can do a huge amount of calculations.
    – D.E.Wright
    Commented Apr 5, 2015 at 1:04
  • sir keeping in view my requirements and skills, what do u suggest me to choose which open-source SDK? sorry for late reply. Commented Apr 5, 2015 at 18:40

3 Answers 3


I think this blog post on the Esri site is still applicable:

ArcObjects or the ArcGIS Runtime SDKs for Java and WPF—which is right for you?

Though this question discusses the Java flavors, it may help as well.

  • Helped alot sir. Thanks Bt D.E Wright mention open source SDK. if u can give me your expert's advice on any open-source SDK keeping in view my requirements and skill level. Commented Apr 5, 2015 at 18:55

Great answers above, but just wanted to add my voice to the choir :)


  • has some (specialized) functionality that the ArcGIS Runtime SDKs don't provide: complex features, geometric networks, topology, annotation classes, etc.
  • is designed for desktop deployments
  • has a LARGE footprint (file size and memory)
  • is based on COM technology and is restricted to .NET and Java dev enviroments
  • is a large investment

ArcGIS Runtime SDK

  • performs extremely well
  • has a relatively light footprint
  • provides free development and testing (see developers.arcgis.com/arcgis-runtime/ for details)
  • runs natively on several platforms (Andriod, iOS, Java, .NET, Qt, MacOS, Xamarin is coming soon)
  • is designed to run on a variety of computers and devices

IMHO, if you are not doing something specialized that requires ArcObjects, you should use one of the ArcGIS Runtime SDKs.

Some updates:

  • ArcGIS Runtime SDK for .NET now supports 3D. The other platforms will in the next release.
  • For offline workflows, local data can be read in a few formats (map and tile packages, runtime geodatabase, shapefile)

Full disclosure: I'm a product engineer for the ArcGIS Runtime SDK for .NET, so I'm a little biased!


in my mind, the major differentiators between those two ESRI platforms are:

  • ArcObjects is not free (as in beer or any other way), you need ArcGIS Desktop, Engine, or Server licenses for deployment. You can't install the ArcObjects SDK without an existing Desktop or Server installation being present.
    • ArcObjects is for Windows Desktop (either ArcMap customization, or standalone GIS-capable apps using ArcEngine (which is basically Windows Forms map and other controls)
    • Runtime is WPF or Windows Store. It strongly encourages you to use REST web services for data access, rather than local data, though it supports disconnected scenarios, but with a proprietary data packaging scheme, not with common GIS data formats. The editing is fairly rich, but nothing like the full-blown multi-layer topology-aware editing environment you get with ArcMap/ArcObjects.

and of course, though Runtime is free (as in beer), it isn't open-source.

  • "Runtime is free" to develop--not free to deploy.
    – Tom
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 16:30

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