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2016-06-16 | Michael Zeiler’s "Exploring ArcObjects"

Having Michael Zeiler as editor, it was published by ESRI Press in 2001. The 1.500 pages that integrates the book are divided into two volumes, making of this work a first order bibliographic reference in its field. This fact, in conjunction with the passage of time, has sold out the first and only edition some years ago, leading the potential buyers to resign to second-hand copies. Interestingly, unlike what usually happens with the devaluation affecting most titles related to Computer Science and Geographic Information Systems, the appreciation of the work raises the price to levels above those that had the original work. Another sign of the interest that it still gets among professionals’ guild.

Currently, the latest version published of ArcGIS is the 10.4.1, meaning that the software has been updated several times since the 8, which is the one that the book was written for. Obviously, ESRI has introduced numerous upgrades since then, both from the point of view of new programs, which complete its product range, and in terms of architecture, spatial analysis, mapping and sharing contents. Furthermore, the work took as reference programming language VBA Microsoft, while Python is currently the reference for performing scripts through ArcPy. This amount of changes shows the reflection of progress, and they are not an obstacle to continue using Zeiler’s book as a reference when developing custom tools with ArcObjects through its SDKs because, in essence, these libraries continue to function in the same way since then.

"Exploring ArcObjects" by Michael Zeiler

With regard to content, the first of the volumes "Applications and Cartography" introduces ArcObjects, the libraries that are the foundations upon the ArcGIS software is built on. The topics are presented in a simple way, making it easier for developers to understand COM (Component Object Model) model and of course, the huge amount of objects that wrapped inside the ArcGIS suite. Among the latter, the main topics are: The Framework (customizing users’ interation with the ArcGIS applications), ArcMap (controlling cartographic display and interaction with the ArcMap application), Display (using symbology for the visual display of information), Output (exporting maps to printers and files) and ArcCatalog (managing geographic data and metadata through the ArcCatalog application).

The second volume "Geographic Data Management" continues the survey of the object model. The topics range from the explanation of the design and creation and Geodatabases, up to Geometry (creating shapes for geographic features), Spatial Reference libraries (combining geographic data from a variety of coordinate systems), not forgetting the editing sessions in ArcMap, networks (solving linear routing problems) and raster data among others. The large number of diagrams, figures and diagrams illustrating the work make the understanding of its contents really simple. In addition, we can find countless examples of source code that make it easier to apply the acquired knowledge.

For all of this, the book is a good example of how the texts are categorized as “classics” never go out of date. This is especially remarkable in a technological field such as GIS, where fifteen years might be considered as ages.

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