Connectivity and associations

Assets in a network are connected to provide pathways for resources to travel. Some network assets that are used to transport a commodity or resource are supported by structural equipment. For example, a transformer or banks of transformers can be mounted on a pole, encased in a container such as a pump station, or stored underground in enclosures such as manholes or trenches. Refining how features relate to one another enriches your system, allowing you to use advanced capabilities available through tools and commands to manage your network.

Geometric coincidence-based connectivity and association mechanisms

Connectivity in a utility network can be modeled between features through either geometric coincidence or association mechanisms. Geometric coincidence is established when features obtain the same x, y, and z location. Association mechanisms allow you to model relationships between features that are not necessarily geometrically coincident. This includes modeling connectivity between features, structures and their attachment features, and container features that include other features as content. This also includes modeling of connectivity between nonspatial objects.

Rules and restrictions

Rules allow you to control which features can connect or associate. This control is established between features at the asset type and asset group level. Rules are required to enable a network topology, which is required to work with network analytics such as traces and network diagrams.

Feature restrictions are imposed at the class level to prevent certain features from connecting or associating. As long as feature restrictions are respected, network rules can be created between classes at the asset group and asset type level. To learn more, see Feature restrictions.

Once one rule has been added to a utility network, all connectivity and associations require a rule. If a network rule does not exist to allow connectivity or associations between features, errors are created when the network topology is enabled or validated. In the case of associations, the edit (association creation) fails if a supporting network rule does not exist. Geometric coincidence and association rules are evaluated at different times. See the section below for more information.

Rules can be imported or created to support network features. To learn more, see Import utility network rules and the following workflows for adding different rule types:

Analytics use connectivity and associations between two features to guide analytic events such as tracing or generating diagrams. By refining the relationship between features, network tracing is more precise, and the application of diagram layouts is optimized. Associations are available for use in preset feature templates.

Move, view, and update features

After edits are made to create or modify network features, they must be reflected in the network topology. Dirty areas indicate modifications to network features that must be validated.

When a feature is moved, features connected through geometric coincidence or connectivity associations are also moved. However, with containment and structural attachment associations, this only applies when the structure or container is moved. For example, if a breaker in a substation is moved, the entire substation is not moved as a result.

Associations can be viewed on a map or through a network diagram. Use the Modify Associations pane to view or modify associations between features.