I've been working with GIS for several years now, doing data collection and also using some of the analysis tools with ArcMap but I have a question that’s been puzzling me for some time and I've came to several conclusions and I figured I'd just ask the experts. I work for a 911 center and they have a GIS system. The files are stored locally on each computer, not on a server or online. They have a custom built desktop application they use, I know that ArcReader is running in the background, and the program is using a PMF file. I know that when updates are done to the system they are saved and then exported as a PMF file and then the geo database along with the PMF are copied over to each dispatch station.
My question is, and this is very vague so bare with me, What is used to design a custom desktop application? The application has several search fields, they are blank fields and as long as you type 3 characters it will search the designated feature class in the geodatabase and bring back a box of results. I assume the application is built using visual basic studio along with something that ESRI has to go along with it, but I'm not for sure. I've seen things online such as publisher, and arc objects, but I've never really got a straight answer on it. The reason I'm wondering this is, I would like to learn to build custom desktop applications such as this using the same method if possible. I’m currently in the process of trying to convince my county government that we need GIS across the whole government platform, so far they agree but we are such a small county that we do not have internet and cell service all over the county and for me to convince the government this is something we need, I’m going to have to be able to show that we can have a desktop application where no network service is needed to pull up information such as address, streets, utility lines, and things of that nature. Our 911 center is hopefully going to upgrade their system soon where all the information is stored in 1 location on the server (I know this sounds crazy, our 911 center is still living in the 1800’s) but, what I’m currently looking at is the Local Government package that ESRI offers, I’m going to get the city and county governments to go in together and purchase this, and from what I can see it seems like everything in the GIS world is going to the cloud or based somewhere where you have to have a network connection to access your data, I simply can’t work with that. I know it’s going to be time consuming but in the end there are several agencies where I will have to actually go out to their vehicles and copy over the updated data because they have no way of accessing this stuff over a network.
I know programming isn’t easy, and asking someone to tell me how to build an application sounds crazy in itself, but I’m willing to learn if I was pointed in the right direction. I have taken every GIS related class I can find at all my local community colleges and universities, and I’m fixing to start VB and C+ classes, but I can not find anyone who teaches how to build applications for GIS. It’s always, ArcGIS online, cloud, server based, flex viewer, or something.
Any and all help would be greatly appreciated,