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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 As portions of the network that are edited or modified they become out of date in the network topology and are marked with dirty areas. The dirty areas indicate the content you see in a 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

The network topology can be validated using the Validate command on the utility network Data tab or by executing the Validate Network Topology tool. It is recommended that you use the Validate Network Topology tool for long-running validate operations when a large number of edits have taken place, as executing the validate operation from the geoprocessing tool uses asynchronous processing.

The asynchronous validation process used by the Validate Network Topology tool uses the system UtilityNetworkTools geoprocessing service. This service is reserved for utility network geoprocessing tasks and has a longer default timeout setting.


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

  • The network topology must be enabled.
  • The Input Utility Network parameter must be from a utility network service.
  • 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, the spatial indexes should be rebuilt using the Rebuild Indexes tool.

Use the Validate command on the ribbon

To use the Validate command on the ribbon 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 and Data contextual tab.

  2. Under Utility Network, click the Data 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.


    The Validate command can be added to the Quick Access Toolbar at the top of the ribbon for easy access. Right-click the Validate button on the ribbon and click Add to Quick Access Toolbar.

  4. The network topology for the specified utility network has been 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.
    • Default—Validate the network topology for the full extent of the utility network.
    • Current Display Extent—Validate the network topology for the part of the network shown in the current extent of the active map.
  5. Click Run.
  6. The network topology for the specified utility network has been 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 child user version.

When the service has version management capabilities enabled user versions can be created as child versions of the Default version to allow for isolated editing. When editing within a child version, edits are not automatically saved like when editing in the Default version. In a child version, any edits can be undone, including validation; changes made to a network topology can be reverted to the state before the validation.

Example background: A utility network has been configured (network topology is enabled) and published with version management capabilities. 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 child 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 new 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 reconciling.
  10. Run an appropriate QA/QC process to verify that conflicts have been resolved properly and the network operates as expected. At this point, you may discover that your QA/QC process requires some or all of the dirty areas (beyond your work area) 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. Post your version to apply your work to the Default version. Note that dirty areas are created for your work area in the Default version. The posting process is built to discover conflicts. If conflicts are discovered, the post will fail. 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.