Benefits of a utility network

A utility network supports the requirements of utilities in delivering resources to customers safely, reliably, and economically. It can serve as the system of record for the assets of a utility and provide information about the past, present, and planned future state of a utility network system. A utility network is available where it is needed, from mobile devices in the field to the desktop in operation centers.

These are some of the key benefits of a utility network.

Work with a high-performing model that is scalable to large utilities

A utility network is designed for quick information delivery with large datasets. The core data models are engineered for maximum efficiency by limiting the number of feature classes and reducing slow relationship queries. The classification system uses attribute domains and subtypes and is built-in for each of the utility network feature classes. This allows for a fine-grained model of every utility feature. A utility network is engineered to rapidly traverse network features that are connected or attached to structural features.

Model how components of your system are connected

The connectivity model allows a utility to define exactly how each part of a utility system is connected. You can connect features that touch each other and you can connect features that are offset from one another. This allows you to place utility features on the map in a natural way and spread them as needed for clarity. You have full control over how your utility features are connected.

Represent dense areas of your system without map clutter

Parts of a utility are quite dense. A station or yard or cabinet may be a compact size but contain dozens or hundreds of utility features. To represent these dense areas on a map creates a cluttered and difficult to use map representation. The containment model lets you represent these dense areas with simplified containment features. Containment features can also model assemblies of features such as a cluster of electrical devices on a pole top or inside a cabinet or vault. When necessary, you can switch on and off features that are contained and see exactly how the internal features are laid out and connected.

Model significant components of your system

All significant parts of your network can be modeled in the utility network. Some features (such as electrical fuses or small water valves) may be considered minor but do affect the flow of resources in a utility system. All utility features, major and minor, can be represented in a data model and contained in device assemblies as necessary. The scalability of a utility network enables a more detailed model of every part of your utility, from small but critical components to large assemblies of devices.

Enforce data integrity and reduce data entry errors

A utility network has a built-in mechanism to detect any logically inconsistent associations among features. This is done by a user-defined network rule base that specifies exactly which type of feature can be connected and associated with another. For example, a medium-voltage transformer cannot be connected to a high-voltage line. The network rule base for the utility network is integrated into the editing environment to prevent the creation of incorrect connectivity and associations between features. New features and associations are also tracked with dirty areas to mark the area that needs to be updated in the network topology. If attribute values are modified for existing features that impact the network topology, these features are flagged by dirty areas. During validation of the network topology, the utility network updates the network topology in the dirty areas and checks for invalid features. These features are highlighted in the map display with error features (point, line, and polygon error features).

Enable advanced analysis of your network

A utility network is a collection of subnetworks through which a resource flows at a given time. These subnetworks are dynamic and can be altered by the opening and closing of devices such as switches and valves. A utility network uses the sources of the resource to define the start points of a subnetwork and traces down to the ends (or sinks) of a subnetwork to discover its entire extent. When a switch or valve is changed, the extent of a subnetwork is recalculated. Categories are also defined on devices to enable more advanced tracing analysis, such as setting which devices are protective in case of a condition such as overloading current or excessive pressure that can potentially threaten the subnetwork.

Provide a comprehensive view of your network

Your utility system is complex and dynamic. A utility network provides a variety of ways to explore the assets and connectivity of your system. The map view shows the overall picture of your utility, and you can set the layer visibility to show progressively more features as you zoom in to the map. In the map view, you can control the amount of detail visible by showing or hiding features inside containers such as stations, yards, cabinets, and vaults. The diagram view shows a schematic representation of your utility features.

For more information on utility networks, see A quick tour of a utility network.