Convert ESRI ArcGIS Visual Basic 6.0 applications to .NET

    ESRI’s ArcGIS platform is a widely used geographical information system, used in utility, transportation, and geological applications worldwide. Part of its success relies on the fact that it has a robust API that can be used to create complete applications on top of its products. This is leveraged in the different industries to create successful systems that rely on spatial data.

    One of the most commonly used languages to develop custom functionality for ArcGIS is Visual Basic 6.0. ESRI, however, has announced that ArcGIS 9.3.1 was the last release that supported this platform, justified by the fact that Microsoft stopped supporting VB6.0 in March, 2008:

    ArcGIS 9.3.1 was the last release supporting Microsoft Visual Basic 6 (VB6). Microsoft no longer supplies or supports VB6, and we can no longer support this development platform. Users who have custom functionality built using VB6 will need to rewrite their applications using a supported development language (e.g. VB.NET, C#) for their applications to be supported in 10.0.


    Because of this, there is a great interest for companies with existing ArcGIS applications to move to one of the supported .NET languages. The Mobilize Visual Basic Upgrade Companion provides a cost effective alternative to migrate existing VB6.0 ArcGIS code to native .NET components.

    ESRI provides Primary Interop Assemblies for ArcGIS Com objects, which contains all the necessary definitions for calling the COM API through a COM Interoperability layer from .NET code. The VBUC is able to recognize and use these ESRI-provided PIAs without further customizations. Right now Mobilize has worked with applications that use the following COM APIs, and the VBUC has been able to successfully map them to the corresponding PIA, as shown in the following table:

    COM Reference .Net Primary Interop
    Assembly Reference
    esriGeoDatabase.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.GeoDatabase.dll
    esriCarto.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.Carto.dll
    esriSystem.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.System.dll
    esriFramework.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.Framework.dll
    esriGeometry.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.Geometry.dll
    esriDisplay.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.Display.dll
    esriArcMapUI.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.ArcMapUI.dll
    esriEditor.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.Editor.dll
    esriSystemUI.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.SystemUI.dll
    esriNetworkAnalysis.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.NetworkAnalysis.dll
    esriEditorExt.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.EditorExt.dll
    esriArcMap.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.ArcMap.dll
    esriDataSourcesGDB.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.DataSourcesGDB.dll
    esriOutput.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.Output.dll
    esriCartoUI.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.CartoUI.dll
    esriDataSourcesFile.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.DataSourcesFile.dll
    esriDataSourcesRaster.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.DataSourcesRaster.dll
    esriCatalogUI.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.CatalogUI.dll
    esriDataSourcesRasterUI.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.DataSourcesRasterUI.dll
    esriGeoprocessing.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.Geoprocessing.dll
    esriGeoReferenceUI.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.GeoReferenceUI.dll
    esriLocationUI.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.LocationUI.dll
    esriCatalog.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.Catalog.dll
    esriControls.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.Controls.dll
    esriDataSourcesOleDB.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.DataSourcesOleDB.dll
    esriGeoDatabaseDistributedUI.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.GeoDatabaseDistributedUI.dll
    esriDisplayUI.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.DisplayUI.dll
    esriGeoDatabaseDistributed.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.GeoDatabaseDistributed.dll
    esriGeoDatabaseUI.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.GeoDatabaseUI.dll
    esriGISClient.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.GISClient.dll
    esriGlobeCore.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.GlobeCore.dll
    esriLocation.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.Location.dll
    esriMapControl.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.MapControl.dll
    esriToolbarControl.dll ESRI.ArcGIS.ToolbarControl.dll

    Additional APIs should also map correctly.

    The VBUC is able to automate the calls to these APIs to to .NET almost completely. There are, however, certain tweaks that need to be performed to completely convert and ArcGIS DLL. ESRI provides information on how to solve these issues in the ArcGIS Engine .NET Resource Center. For additional information about these issues, please review the document Common issues when migrating from Visual Basic 6.0 to Visual Basic .NET at

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