Seeking highly customizable GIS platform?

I disagree with you.

I think the ArcGIS help/forums/blogs/vids/etc give a great perspective on what you can achieve with the ArcGIS range of products.

You are not limited to Python to manipulate your spatial data. You can still use VBA at 931 and 10 to access the ArcObjects library, or you could take it a step further and use .NET to do all sorts of things, and again this is well documented.

I also think the shortcuts for ArcGIS Desktop are great, and you can create your own shortcuts via the Customise dialog if need be.

If you dont want to learn how to code, there is also ModelBuilder which is a great way of automating tedious tasks/common workflows, particularly with geoprocessing.

I am being biased, but I do have experience with other products.

I know that Python does lack the power of providing easy to tailor interfaces to present to users, but as I mentioned, with VBA/.NET you can put together content-rich forms to give a custom interface for users to do what they need to do.

  • With .NET you can script against MXDs (e.g. Loop through a folder of MXDs and open each MXD, do some stuff, then move onto next MXD
  • Manipulating default values in your spatial data is also achievable with ArcObjects.

I am not experienced enough to give a give an answer from very many aspects, but... I did my first things in GIS in ArcView 3.x writing in Avenue. I really liked the speed and possibilities. Then I have never understood the joy in waiting for ArcGIS to start, searching for the right tool and then find the tool I need, needs ArcInfo.

My new love is PostGIS. It is very much more than a database for storing. The built in functionality makes it possible to do all processing and analyzing I have had use for so far. In most cases it is very much faster than Arc products.

In open source world you will not get one solution for everything but there is projects and software covering all your needs.

As I said I do the processing and analysing in PostGIS. I can store the sql-queries in text files to reuse (like any tool in other software but much more transparent). You can write functions in a lot of different languages like plpgsql (a special PostgreSQL language) Python, pLR, C and many more.

For desktop GIS I use mostly QGIS. What is not in the core of QGIS is in the extensions. If that is not enough you can write your own extension in Python and I think also C++)

If you are used to uDig that is of course an alternative.

If you want to do some web mapping you could try MapServer. Mapserver won the big benchmark on this years FOSS4G conference in serving WMS. Esri didn't want to participate this year. Last year they had registered to participate but never did. This year they didn't even register.

GeoServer is another alternative for serving web maps. It is very user friendly and serves a lot of different formats. It also handles WFS-T so you can edit map data and send the edits back to the server.

If you want a lightweight and very fast WFS-T server you should take a look at Tiny-OWS

Well, the list could be long of competent software together building a very powerful and of course customizeable suite.

I mean can it be more customizable. You have access to all the source code. And for the money you save not paying annual fees to Esri you can take some free and study programming or hire a programmer. You will get a lot of coding in those projects for the cost of an ArcGIS Server license.

"...Fill Color window to adjust the colors I need It opens in CMYK and I need to Change it to RGB"

  1. Funny, I learnt how to do this last week.

    • open ArcMap --> add a layer --> go to colour pallete
    • Change the CYMK to RGB
    • Save the document to Normal.mxt under your doc & settings (under the ESRI folder)
    • Close and re-open ArcMap --> Will always be defaulted to RGB from now on.
  2. DS Map Book might be a solution for you? Or if your on v10, Data Driven Pages? Like I said, .NET/VBA scripting could do this, I am not too hot on Python to provide a Python solution

"getting to know arcobjects" but for c#

I agree with you here. I know ESRI are aware of this but not sure if they have something in the pipeline. This link may help as a starter, if you have a background in VBA. I would still argue that the G-T-K AO is still a valid read and the lessons learnt will still apply for .NET (and you can get through the book in a week @ 1-2hrs a day).

I was/am a big fan of VBA...