ArcGIS Utility Network

What's New for the ArcGIS Utility Network with the 2024 Network Management Release

Edit (5/31): Updated the wording for Advanced Editing user type extension to indicate that a separate license is no longer required for tracing.

The 2024 Network Management Release (ArcGIS Pro 3.3 and ArcGIS Enterprise 11.3) includes exciting new enhancements aimed at enabling you to maximize your investment with the ArcGIS Utility Network.   This release also introduces the Utility Network Version 7 (UNv7) which brings valuable new features and enhancements including support for 64-bit Object IDs and big integer fields, the ability to perform directional traces using the digitized direction of the line, and more.

We understand that many who follow the network management release plan are likely upgrading directly from an earlier release.  As a result, in this article, we will also explore some of the key features and improvements introduced since the previous Network Management release (ArcGIS Pro 3.1/ArcGIS Enterprise 11.1).

Utility Network Version 7

New with ArcGIS Pro 3.3

New with ArcGIS Enterprise 11.3

New with ArcGIS Pro 3.2

New with ArcGIS Enterprise 11.2

Learn More

 

 

Utility Network Version 7

ArcGIS Pro 3.3 and ArcGIS Enterprise 11.3 introduces the Utility Network Version 7 (UNv7), delivering schema changes to support new functionality for utility and telecom workflows.

Utility Network Properties dialog for a version 7 utility network dataset.

Recall that both the ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Enterprise releases determine the version of the utility network dataset that is created or upgraded to when working with an enterprise geodatabase.   As a result, these capabilities are not available through feature services until the ArcGIS Enterprise 11.3 release becomes available.  Until that time, you can begin to familiarize and prototype your workflows using a version 7 utility network in a mobile or file geodatabase.

As with all utility network versions, upgrading the utility network dataset is not a requirement unless you wish to take advantage of the new functionality.  While many of the new capabilities in this release require a version 7 utility network, you can still benefit from some improvements made to the trace framework and editing experience while using any utility network version.

 

 

64-bit Object IDs

While 32-bit object IDs remain the default for tables and feature classes created in a geodatabase, 64-bit object IDs are created for all network classes and system tables starting with UNv7 to model datasets with more than 2.14 billion features.  This migration also occurs on upgrade to a version 7 utility network.  Due to this schema change, there are some items to be aware of before upgrading:

To review the other schema changes made with the UNv7, reference the Utility network upgrade history.

 

Big Integer Support

In addition to 64-bit Object ID fields, UNv7 also introduces support for big integer fields and their use with network attributes.  Big integer network attributes are beneficial when working with large values which exceed those supported by long integers in a trace, or to generate summaries on the SubnetLine feature class.   While it is not possible to migrate existing fields to a big integer field, you can leverage these through the creation of a new field followed by a field calculation to copy over any existing values.

 

 

Add Network Attribute geoprocessing tool displaying the creation of a new big integer network attribute.

Use Digitized Direction

The Trace and Add Trace Configuration tools now support the ability to configure a directional trace using the digitized direction of the line in a UNv7 dataset.  A new parameter, Use Digitized Direction, is available when performing upstream or downstream traces in your network.

Trace geoprocessing tool displaying the Use Digitized Direction parameter.

 

This feature is beneficial if you use a model that relies on the digitized direction of lines to determine the direction that resources flow.  This should not be used if you are currently modeling flow using subnetwork controllers.

On upgrade to UNv7, a new FLOWDIRECTION field is added to each line and edge object class, and the flow direction network attribute is assigned with a default value of ‘With digitized direction’. By default, flow direction is based on the digitized direction of the line and the From and To Global ID for edge objects in the Associations table.  When working with an enterprise geodatabase this also requires the supportsFlowDirections capability introduced with ArcGIS Enterprise 11.3.

 

New with ArcGIS Pro 3.3

Let’s now turn to functionality introduced with ArcGIS Pro 3.3 which can be used with all versions of the utility network.

Rebuild Network Topology

A new Rebuild Network Topology geoprocessing tool and Rebuild current extent command are now available for use with all utility network versions hosted on ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9 or later.

Examples of the Revbuild current extent and Rebuild Network Topology geoprocessing tool in ArcGIS Pro 3.3.

 

These tools allow you to rebuild the network topology within a given extent and are particularly useful when addressing issues that arise during validation for specific areas of the utility network.  The rebuild operation reconstructs a given extent of the network topology, ignoring any dirty areas, and rebuilds all features in the specified extent.   While the geoprocessing tool and Rebuild current extent command perform the same operation, the geoprocessing tool performs the operation asynchronously which may be better suited to operations run at small scales or against a large number of features.

Synthesize Geometries

A new Synthesize Geometries parameter is available in the Output section of the Trace and Add Trace Configuration tools when using the Aggregated Geometry result type.  Enabling this parameter allows you to infer and create (synthesize) geometries for associations and edge objects traversed during a trace in the result.

Trace geoprocessing tool displaying the new Synthesize Geometries parameter.

 

This functionality extends the capabilities of aggregated geometry to visualize the path of a trace through associations and edge objects and can be a valuable tool for understanding the connectivity and relationships within your utility network, especially in cases where traces are run against predominantly nonspatial objects.   As with all aggregated geometry results, the use of apportionable network attributes allows you to return partial feature results based on the location of barriers.

Geometry can be synthesized in two ways: using the geometry of an edge object’s spatial container, or between the endpoints of an edge object or association.

When an edge object is contained by a line, the geometry is inferred from the spatial container, providing a clear representation of the object’s location. In cases where an edge object doesn’t have a spatial containment, geometry is synthesized between its endpoints using a straight line, which is also the method use to synthesize association geometry.

Association geometry being synthesized as part of a trace using the Synthesize Geometries parameter.

 

It’s important to note that while the Synthesize Geometries parameter does not require UNv7, the supportsTraceSynthesizeGeometries capability introduced with ArcGIS Enterprise 11.3 is required when working with an enterprise geodatabase.

Subtype group tables

Subtype group layers have always been an important capability that utility network customers use to organize their data. With ArcGIS Pro 3.3 this capability has been expanded to work with tables.  This means that you can now create a composite layer to group nonspatial objects by subtype. By grouping these objects, you can manage and interact with them more granularly than before.

Use the Subtype Group Layer option from the Add Data menu to create a subtype group table to the map.

Snap chip

ArcGIS Pro 3.3 introduces an improvement for snapping when editing.  The Snap Chip improves the user experience when editing features in a congested map area to allow finer grained control over which features are connected.  This is of interest to those working with the utility network as it lets you assign terminal connections on the fly when connecting a line to a terminal device.

Connecting the endpoint of a line to a specific terminal on the device using the snap chip.

 

While the Modify Terminal Connections pane remains the default method for establishing junction-edge connectivity, the snap chip offers a streamlined experience for some workflows.

 

New with ArcGIS Enterprise 11.3

Much of the functionality introduced with ArcGIS Pro 3.3 in the 2024 Network Management Release relies on the companion release of ArcGIS Enterprise 11.3 when working in an enterprise deployment.  To fully leverage the improvements in this release in an enterprise deployment, it is essential to work with both ArcGIS Pro 3.3 and ArcGIS Enterprise 11.3 as the server-side capabilities introduced with ArcGIS Enterprise 11.3 enable the creation of a UNv7 to support various other enhancements.

Partial posting by selection

One capability introduces specifically with ArcGIS Enterprise 11.3 is support for partial posting of a selection set which includes utility network features.  While the ability to post a subset of edits to the default version has been supported since ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9, you can now include a selection of utility network features in the rows parameter of the Post operation.

 

New with ArcGIS Pro 3.2

As promised, if you missed the new functionality introduced in the previous release, we’ve got you covered here.

The pane formerly known as Trace Locations

In ArcGIS Pro 3.2, the Trace Locations pane received a facelift and was rebranded as the Trace pane.  Why?  Because this pane now enables you to do so much more than place trace starting points and barriers.   The Trace pane now provides a centralized location to perform traces in your utility network when working with named trace configurations.

 

The Named Configurations tab on the Trace pane displaying various named trace configurations stored in the utility network.

While this offers a similar experience to loading a named trace configuration into the Trace geoprocessing tool, the Named Configurations tab on the Trace pane provides the added benefit of bypassing the geoprocessing framework, which can improve performance when running traces.

Performance and logging

The ArcGIS Pro 3.2 release also introduced various performance and logging improvements for trace, validate, and subnetwork management workflows.  On the logging front, we specifically expanded the information presented within the Diagnostic Monitor to cover additional workflows such as exporting subnetworks, and to include additional information on the overhead associated with REST and the geoprocessing framework.

The ArcGIS Diagnostic Monitor displaying entries for the Export Subnetwork operation.

Return subnetworks made dirty by a validate operation

Following previous updates made to the validateNetworkTopology operation in the REST API with ArcGIS Enterprise 11.1 to report discoveredSubnetworks, the Validate Network Topology tool was updated in ArcGIS Pro 3.2 to return the subnetwork name, domain network, and tier for any subnetwork that is marked as dirty by the operation.

The JSON is presented in the tool’s Parameters tab whereas the Messages tab presents this information in a tabular format.

Details from the Validate Network Topology geoprocessing tool showing subnetworks made dirty by the operation.

Isolation trace updates

When performing an Isolation trace with the Include Isolated Features parameter checked, the Include Barrier Features parameter is now available and enabled by default. This allows you to include or exclude the isolating barrier features in the trace result.

The Include Barrier Features parameter enabled for Isolation traces when Include Isolated Features is enabled.

New with ArcGIS Enterprise 11.2

 

Advanced Editing user-type extension

Beginning with ArcGIS Enterprise 11.2, the ArcGIS Utility Network is licensed using the ArcGIS Advanced Editing user type extension.

The most significant benefit of this change is that starting with ArcGIS Enterprise 11.2 and beyond all client applications that perform tracing using a utility network or trace network will no longer require a user-type extension.

The ArcGIS Advanced Editing user type extension enables advanced editing and geodatabase capabilities in ArcGIS Enterprise.  This new user-type extension streamlines licensing, placing three existing ArcGIS Enterprise user type extensions (ArcGIS Utility Network, ArcGIS Trace Network, and ArcGIS Parcel Fabric) into a single package. This license will also enable advanced editing and geodatabase capabilities as they come to web and native device apps.

This is included in the GIS Professional Standard and GIS Professional Advanced user types and can be assigned as an add-on license to members with the Editor, Mobile Worker, Creator, and GIS Professional Basic user types.

To learn more, check out this article Introducing the ArcGIS Advanced Editing user-type extension.

Learn More

We hope the details outlined in the above sections have provided some good food for thought aon how they may improve your organization’s use of the utility network.  If you want to dive in deeper and learn more, review the help documentation to learn more about the highlights covered in this article.

Do you have questions about current or upcoming functionality in the utility network,  visit the ArcGIS Utility Network community site to discuss them with other like-minded professionals.

If you want to learn even more about the utility network, check out the various learn paths available for the ArcGIS Utility network on learn.arcgis.com:

About the authors

Jon is a product engineer on the Geodatabase team passionate about using technology to bring order to chaotic systems. In his spare time he enjoys arguing about how the Atlanta Braves were the true team of the 90's.

Robert Krisher is a Product Engineer with Esri who has over 15 years of experience implementing Enterprise GIS for Utilities.

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