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I am looking for a non-proprietary way to store layer symbology for both vector and raster layers and then load those layers in ArcGIS Desktop 10.x.

I have used layer files for this purpose for many years. At runtime I load the layer file, retrieve the renderer and apply it to the layer I am loading into the current map document. Something like this:

IGxLayer pGXLayer = new GxLayer();
IGxFile pGXFile = (IGxFile)pGXLayer;
pGXFile.Path = symbology.FullName;

However layer files are proprietary and annoyingly version specific.

Is anyone aware of an open source symbology definition that ArcGIS Desktop can use? Something like QML? Is it true that ArcGIS Desktop cannot use QML files?

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