ArcGIS API for Silverlight overview

Microsoft Silverlight provides a cross-browser, cross-platform development environment for building and delivering rich Internet applications (RIA) for the web. The ArcGIS API for Silverlight enables you to integrate ArcGIS Server and Bing Maps services and capabilities in a Silverlight application. You can create interactive and expressive applications leveraging ArcGIS Server and Bing Maps resources, such as maps, locators, and geoprocessing models, and Silverlight components, such as grids, tree views, and charts.

What can you do with the ArcGIS API for Silverlight?

The ArcGIS API for Silverlight enables you to integrate interactive maps and tasks in your applications. For example, you can do the following:

  • Create a map containing your data
  • Display your data on an ArcGIS Online or Bing Maps basemap
  • Add graphics and markup to a map interactively
  • Search for features or attributes in your geographic information system (GIS) data and display the results
  • Execute a GIS model using ArcGIS Server and display the results
  • Locate addresses and display the results
  • Calculate routes and display graphic results and directions
  • Edit feature geometry and attributes
  • Change rendered content of raster data
  • Create mashups (information combined from multiple web sources)


You can program with the ArcGIS API for Silverlight without installing ArcGIS for Server on your machine if you have access to ArcGIS for Server via a URL. Esri offers several sample servers to use when getting familiar with creating Silverlight applications. The samples use these servers.

What is included in the ArcGIS API for Silverlight?

The ArcGIS API for Silverlight provides the following resources to use in your Silverlight applications:

  • Maps—Support multiple map projections, dynamic and cached (tiled) map services from ArcGIS Server, and Bing Maps services.
  • Graphics—Enable users to draw graphics on a map or create pop-up windows (MapTips) when users click or hover the mouse pointer.
  • Tasks—Include the following components for common GIS tasks:
    • Querying
    • Locating addresses
    • Finding attributes
    • Identifying features
    • Geoprocessing
    • Geometric operations such as buffers, spatial relationships, and simplification
    • Routing and other network operations
  • Toolkit—Includes a set of components to assist in rapid application development. The toolkit binary assembly is included with the product, while the source code for the toolkit is available on CodePlex and GitHub. The library includes the following controls:
    • EditorWidget
    • TemplatePicker
    • FeatureDataForm
    • FeatureDataGrid
    • Navigation
    • OverviewMap
  • Access to Silverlight components—Silverlight libraries in the ArcGIS API for Silverlight are built on the Silverlight platform, which allows the use of core Silverlight components, such as data grids and panels, and Silverlight Toolkit components, such as tree views and charts. To learn more about the Silverlight platform, see the Microsoft Silverlight website or the developer documentation on MSDN. Optionally, you can download and use the Silverlight Toolkit on CodePlex to enhance the look and feel of your Silverlight application.

Getting help

This help system includes easy-to-advanced topics that explain how to use the ArcGIS API for Silverlight.