Dirty areas are created when network features are edited. They serve as an indicator that a change to the network has taken place that is not reflected in the network topology. Dirty areas are cleared when the network topology is validated.
When the network topology is enabled dirty areas are created to track edits. This can include creating new features, modifying fields associated with network attributes, establishing or modifying associations, and so on. When the network topology is disabled, one dirty area covering the service territory extent is present and edits will not generate additional dirty areas.
Dirty areas track the extent of the feature that is edited, the type of edit, the global ID of the feature, and the editor who performed the operation. A dirty area is represented by a purple translucent polygon. If a feature's geometry is modified, two dirty areas are generated for the single feature. One represents the envelope of the feature's previous geometry, and the other represents the feature's new geometry.
Operations that create dirty areas include:
- Geometry edits
- Attribute edits to the asset group or asset type fields
- Attribute edits to fields that are defined as network attributes
- Association edits
- Modifying terminal configuration information
- Error feature generation during enabling or validating the network topology
The type of edit that creates the dirty area is represented by the UpdateType field within the dirty areas attribute table. These include insert, update, delete, and error. To learn more about viewing dirty areas, see Access dirty areas, line errors, point errors, and polygon errors.
Tracing and network diagrams rely on network attribute information stored in a network topology. If changes are made to an attribute on a feature that is associated with a network attribute, a dirty area is generated to mark the feature for validation. This helps ensure information in the network topology is consistent.
Dirty areas can be accessed as a sublayer of the utility network and can be symbolized using core symbology tools. The visualization of dirty areas can be turned on and off like any other layer. For example, if you are making edits to your network and you find the dirty areas are visually distracting, you can turn off the layer. The dirty areas are still created, but you will not see them on the map. You can symbolize the dirty areas based on attributes in the dirty areas layer. For example, editor tracking fields can help to display dirty areas in which a certain editor performed work, or when the edit occurred. The UpdateType can be used to symbolize the dirty area by the type of edit.
Validating the network topology maintains consistency between what you see on the map and what is present in the network topology. Analytic operations rely on the network topology and thus may return unexpected results if dirty areas exist. For example, if the path of a trace traverses a dirty area, the results are not guaranteed to be consistent with what you see on the map. The Validate Consistency option within the Trace tool is important to use to ensure trace results do not include results that intersect dirty areas.
When a version is reconciled with the default version, existing dirty areas from the child version remain and dirty areas from the default version are transferred. Any dirty areas present in the default version will be present in the child and default version after reconciling. When a version is posted to the default, dirty areas are created in the default for edits made in the child version. This includes edits that were validated in the child version as these are changes between the two versions.