Validate a network topology

When a network topology is enabled, it is updated to reflect the state of the network at that point in time. As portions of the network are edited or modified, they become out of date in the network topology and are marked with dirty areas. Dirty areas serve as an indicator that the content you see on the map does not match what is stored in the network topology. It is important to keep the network topology updated for analytic events; this is done by validating the network topology.

Learn more about the network topology

You can validate the network topology using the Validate command on the Utility Network tab or by executing the Validate Network Topology tool. For longer-running validate operations, use the Validate Network Topology geoprocessing tool.

When working with a utility network in an enterprise geodatabase, it is important to understand the validate operation is handled differently depending on the method used. The Validate command on the Utility Network tab uses synchronous processing, while the Validate Network Topology geoprocessing tool takes advantage of asynchronous processing.

The asynchronous validation process uses the UtilityNetworkTools geoprocessing service. The UtilityNetworkTools service is preconfigured in the System folder for feature services that include a utility network. It has a longer time-out setting and is reserved for utility network geoprocessing tasks.

Learn more about the validate network topology operation


The following requirements must be met to validate a network topology:

  • The network topology must be enabled.
  • When working with an enterprise geodatabase, the Input Utility Network parameter must be from a utility network service.
  • When working with an enterprise geodatabase, only a single session can execute the validate operation at a time in the default version.

  • For optimal performance when validating a network topology, it is important to keep the spatial index up to date for network feature classes. After creating a utility network and appending new features, you should rebuild the spatial indexes using the Rebuild Indexes tool.

Use the Validate command

To use the Validate command on the Utility Network tab to validate your network topology, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure that the utility network is added to an active map, and select the utility network or one of its related layers in the Contents pane.

    This enables the Utility Network tab.

  2. Click the Utility Network tab.
  3. In the Network Topology group, click the Validate command.
    Validate command in the Network Topology group
    Use the drop-down arrow on the Validate button to access the extent to validate options:
    • Current Extent—Validate the network topology for the part of the network shown in the current extent of the active map.
    • Entire Extent—Validate the network topology for the entire utility network.

    A temporary notification appears, indicating the status of the validation.


    You can add the Validate command to the Quick Access Toolbar for easy access. Right-click the Validate button and click Add to Quick Access Toolbar.

  4. The network topology for the specified utility network extent is validated.

Use the Validate Network Topology geoprocessing tool

To use the Validate Network Topology tool to validate your network topology, follow these steps:

  1. On the Analysis tab, in the Geoprocessing group, click Tools Tools to open the Geoprocessing pane.
  2. In the Geoprocessing pane, search for and select Validate Network Topology.
  3. For the Input Utility Network parameter, specify a utility network.
  4. For the Extent parameter, choose an option from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click Run.
  6. The network topology for the specified utility network extent is validated.

Validate workflow example

In editing workflows for a utility network, the validation of the network topology is also treated as an edit operation. When editing in the Default version, edits are automatically saved and cannot be undone. The following workflow demonstrates the order of operations for performing edits and validating the network topology in a named version.

When the service has the version management capability enabled, you can create named versions from the Default version to allow isolated editing. When editing in a named version, edits are not automatically saved, as when editing in the Default version. In a named version, you can undo any edits, including validation; you can revert changes made to a network topology to the state before the validation.

Example background: A utility network has been configured (network topology is enabled) and published with the version management capability enabled. A project with a map named Distribution Map has been authored and shared with the rest of the organization. As a member of the organization, you will use this map to complete your work in your own version.

In a named version, dirty areas are still generated to indicate changes that have been made to the network and have not been updated in the network topology through a validation event.

The recommended workflow is as follows:

  1. Open ArcGIS Pro and connect to your organization's Portal for ArcGIS with your portal identity.
  2. Open a map shared with your organization.
  3. Create and connect to a named version.
  4. Perform edits based on your work task.
  5. Validate the network topology for your work area.
  6. Run a local quality control process to verify your work.
  7. Reconcile your version with the Default version to pull any changes into your version that were made in the Default version after your version was created.

    Note that dirty areas are created for your work area in your version. If dirty areas exist in the Default version, your version will receive those dirty areas during this stage.

  8. Resolve conflicts or mark them as visited.
  9. Validate the network topology again for your work area.

    Note that dirty areas may be introduced into your version (from the Default version) as a result of edits from the reconcile process.

  10. Run an appropriate quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) process to verify that conflicts have been resolved properly and the network operates as expected.

    At this point, your QA/QC process may require that some or all of the dirty areas (beyond your work area) need to be validated. For example, after you reconcile, the changes that come in from the Default version are upstream from your location on the same subnetwork and have not been validated. Your QA trace may involve an upstream trace to confirm connectivity. Although you can trace a subnetwork that has dirty areas, you can only fully trust the results when none exist.

    To discover other dirty areas, check the network properties. To locate dirty areas, open the attribute table for the utility network Dirty Areas sublayer and use the flash or zoom to functions.

  11. Reconcile and post your version to apply your work to the Default version.

    Note that dirty areas are created for edits in your work area in the Default version. The posting process fails if conflicts are discovered. At this point, you must reconcile again to access the conflicts through the Conflict Manager dialog box. The posting processes can still take place while dirty areas are present.