Nonspatial junction and edge objects are available with Utility Network version 4 and later.
Junction and edge objects are nonspatial network objects used to model and work with a large number of real-world features that share a common geographical space, for example, the strands inside of a fiber cable or conductors in an underground duct. This allows organizations to model their network in more detail without the need to create features with shapes for every asset.
Junction and edge objects are unique among tables in that they support connectivity with other features and can act as a container (such as a switch box that contains multiple ports). Junction and edge objects are represented visually through associations with another feature.
The structure and domain networks that comprise the utility network include two additional tables to model nonspatial objects.
One of the primary capabilities that expose the power of the utility network is the ability to model assets as they appear on the ground with a high degree of realism. Rows in both the JunctionObject and EdgeObject attribute tables participate in the network topology in the same way as spatial features to enable analytic capabilities such as tracing and diagrams.
In industries such as electric, gas, or water, junction and edge objects can be used to model underground structures such as the conduits, ducts, and inner ducts that represent the hierarchy of underground structures necessary to maintain cables and pipes. Asset modeling is not limited to simple representation of devices, cables, pipes, and so on; it also includes how they can be used for analysis.
Consider the example of telecom cables and the individual strands of fiber that exist in each cable. Telecom cables can contain thousands of fiber strands that transport data through the network. With assets such as these, it is necessary to model each individual strand, since each customer service may only use one or two. These nonspatial objects allow additional levels of granularity to be modeled effectively in this scenario. Representing thousands of fiber strands as spatial features could prove to be problematic, as you would have to work with stacked geometry, which would negate the value of spatial representation.
When modeling network features that contain multiple levels of granularity, such as in an underground electric or telecom network, you have to consider that large hierarchies of equipment exist at both the substation (for example, rack, device, slot, card, and port) and cable level (for example, cable, buffer tube, and strand). Only the highest-level asset in the hierarchy must be represented as a feature with a shape, while all the other assets can be represented in a tabular format as either a junction or edge object associated with the spatial feature. In the previously mentioned example, the telecom cable could be modeled as a line feature and serve as a container for the fiber strand content represented as edge objects. The line feature is used to display a spatial location for the fiber strands to the user.