What is a trace network?

A trace network is the main component users work with to visualize, manage, and analyze simple connectivity models such as rail and hydro in ArcGIS Pro.

The trace network uses a set of connected edges, junctions, or both in conjunction with network attributes, also known as network weights, to model the flow of resources through the network.

Feature classes in a feature dataset provide the source junctions and edges used to create a trace network. Connectivity within the trace network is based on the geometric coincidence (x,y,z) of the features used as data sources and is established when the network topology is enabled.

The network topology enables advanced analytic functionality such as trace and provides capabilities such as validation to discover and address network errors with your data.

Create the trace network and enable network topology

You can create a trace network using the Create Trace Network tool or the Convert Geometric Network to Trace Network tool to migrate an existing geometric network and associated workflows into ArcGIS Pro.

A network topology is required to enable advanced analytic functionality such as the ability to set flow direction, run a trace on the network, or generate network diagrams. The Enable Network Topology tool is used to create the network topology and establish connectivity in the trace network.

Trace network dataset and layer

When a trace network is created, a trace network dataset is generated with the name specified. This name represents part of the fully qualified name for the trace network when viewed in the Catalog pane.

When added to an active map, the trace network dataset enables the Trace Network tab and displays the trace network layer as well as the system junctions, error features, and dirty areas sublayers. The layer name shown in the Contents pane is the trace network name followed by Trace Network, for example, Hydro Trace Network.

Trace Network dataset in the Catalog pane
Trace Network layer in the Contents pane

Trace Network tab

The Trace Network tab becomes available when you add a trace network to a map. This tab contains tools and commands that are most commonly used in trace network workflows.

There are a variety of tools and commands under the Trace Network tab that allow you to work with the network topology, tracing, and network diagrams.

Trace Network tab

Trace Network toolbox

The Trace Network toolbox contains a number of tools that can be used to create and manage the trace network for individual use, modeling, and scripting purposes. These tools can be accessed on the Analysis tab in the Geoprocessing group. Some of the same operations available using the geoprocessing tools can also be accessed on the Trace Network tab.

Trace Network toolbox tools