Work with a utility network

Available with Standard or Advanced license.

A utility network includes a range of functionality and network information that you can use to model, track, and assess the structure, health, and efficiency of a system. Once a utility network has been deployed, tools are provided for inspection and maintenance work and to aid in the overall success of your system.

The active portal account must be licensed with the ArcGIS Advanced Editing user type extension to create, publish, and work with a utility network in an enterprise geodatabase.

Access information and tools

There are many ways to access information about a utility network. The utility network layer is used to access the network properties; activate the Utility Network tab to gain access to the utility network dirty areas and errors. The Network Diagram tab becomes available when the diagram view is active.

The network properties is a good point of reference for reviewing information about the creation date, network topology, structure network, domain networks, rules, and other metadata regarding the current configuration of the utility network. The Arcpy.Describe function can also be used to report property information about the utility network through scripting.

To learn more, see Access the utility network layer and Utility Network tab.

Manage the network topology engine

The network topology is the engine of a utility network. This is where all the features and objects that represent each component of a utility are connected together into a network that you can use to analyze your system.

There are three actions you can take to manage your network topology:

  • Enable the network topology, which allows you to work with analytics.
  • Validate the network topology, which validates the edits made on the map. Validating the network topology ensures consistency between what you see on the map and what is built through the network topology.
  • Disable the network topology, which is required to perform administrative tasks such as assigning terminal configurations, modifying the definition of rules, and so on. Disabling the network topology is suggested for bulk loading of new features.

For details, see Network topology.

Manage subnetworks

The management of paths allows organizations to optimize the delivery of resources and track the status of a network. In a utility network, paths are referred to as subnetworks. A single subnetwork can be used to model such things as a circuit in an electric network, a zone in a gas and water network, or a trunk line in a sewer network. The way a utility network is designed determines the network's structure or topology, the flow direction of the network commodity, the definition or composition of tiers and subnetworks, and what information is stored about subnetworks.

A subnetwork is created by defining one or more subnetwork controllers in a tier and applying the name of that subnetwork to all connected or traversable features and objects. Modeling subnetworks allows the creation of subnetwork maps used for system management and regulatory compliance. Subnetworks are managed by setting, modifying, or removing subnetwork controllers; connecting features and objects in the network; and performing an update operation to redefine network routes.

To learn more about managing subnetworks and structuring your utility network, see Network management and Architecture.

Model assets and their relationships

A network system is not simply a collection of connected assets. Some assets are contained inside equipment while others may be attached to structures. Association mechanisms allow you to model these various relationships.

Network categories, network attributes, and association roles are used to define the behavior of assets in a network. Network categories and network attributes are mechanisms that allow you to tag network features as having some sort of capability or property, for example, a protective device deemed as protective. Association roles allow you to define an asset's role in an associative relationship—either a container or a structure.

A utility network has built-in mechanisms to detect logical inconsistencies. Valid connectivity and associations are enforced through feature restrictions and network rules. Both of these mechanisms constrain how features and objects participate with other network features in the network through geometric coincidence-based connectivity as well as connectivity, structural attachment, and containment associations. For example, you would not want to allow a high-voltage transformer to connect to a low-voltage line. When utility network features are edited in ArcGIS Pro, snapping settings and editing tools automatically apply connectivity and association rules set for the network.

Certain types of network features in a network have internal paths that connect ports or exits and entryways on a single feature. In a utility network, ports on features such as transceivers or transformers are called terminals. Terminals allow the management of the internal pathways within a network feature by establishing default and valid paths and can be modeled with the Device feature class and JunctionObject table.

To learn more, see the following topics:

Perform network analytics

When analyzing your network, you can use the utility network's tracing functions or produce network diagrams as follows:

  • Tracing functions allow you to discover answers and solve problems with regard to the state of your network at any moment, that is, perform inspection of the network and track its health, identify deteriorating areas, and create a report on the number of impacted customers.
  • Network diagrams can be generated at any time to represent small, detailed parts of the network and help you with controlling network data and checking network connectivity. They can also be created to generate simplified and synthetic views of large parts of the utility network that help you efficiently analyze the impact of any incident or maintenance operations on the network.

To learn more, see Trace utility networks and About network diagrams.