ArcGIS Utility Network

Best practices to configure great diagram templates

When you generate a network diagram, you choose a diagram template on which to base your diagram. A diagram template contains configuration settings that define how the generated network diagram contents will be built. Keep in mind the following best practices to create great diagram templates!

Start with a diagram template geoprocessing model

Use ModelBuilder and geoprocessing tools and models to configure your diagram templates. The process of building a geoprocessing model iterates through tools in much the same way as the network diagram building process. Models provide better control over the template configuration and enable you to visually ensure the right position and order of each diagram rule and diagram layout in the template rule and layout lists.

To get started with creation of a new diagram template, take a look at the recommended workflow below:

  1. In ArcGIS Pro, open the Geoprocessing pane and run the Add Diagram Template tool to create the initial diagram template.
  2. Next, open ModelBuilder. Starting with a blank geoprocessing model, you will use this to chain all the tools and configure the sequence of rules and layouts you want to be executed to build the network diagram contents.
  3. Add the Alter Diagram Template tool to the model to configure your template basic settings and check the Remove the diagram template rule and layout definitions check box.
    This is essential in a diagram template geoprocessing model to ensure that the template rule and layout lists are purged before re initializing all the template settings each time the model is run. Without this option enabled, each rule and layout chained in the model will be added at the end of the template rule and layout lists, causing the same set of rules and layouts to be configured several times, making the content of diagrams based on the template unsuitable.
Alter Diagram Template with Remove the diagram template rule and layout definitions box checked

Consider your diagram template general settings

Depending on the purpose of your template, you should review some of the general settings that are exposed through the Alter Diagram Template tool. Specifically, you should consider the following:

Alter Diagram Template with the highlighted settings that must be considered

Diagram template rule and layout definitions

Keep in mind the following fundamentals when configuring rule and layout definitions in your diagram templates :

Additionally, when chaining the diagram rule sequence that define your template, don’t lose sight of performances at diagram generation and update:

In general, when configuring diagram rules for a template, the rule sequence you will set up should fit all or part(s) of the following schema:

recommended position for each diagram rule in a rule sequence.

For performance purposes once again, carefully set up the “active” layouts you want to be systematically chained at diagram generation with the following considerations in mind:

The below diagram outlines the recommended positions for the various layout types in the “active” layout sequence:

recommended position for each active diagram layout in a layout sequence.

Rule and layout definitions specifics for subnetwork system templates

System diagram generation occurs in memory at the end of each subnetwork update process. The process retrieves all the network elements which belong to the newly updated subnetwork trace as input for the subnetwork system diagram generation. For this reason, diagram templates specified as subnetwork system templates for tiers must be configured in a different way than other diagram templates. In particular, subnetwork diagram template configurations must obey the following design rules:

Diagram template layer definition

Without any customization on your part, diagram templates are created with a default diagram layer definition. This means that all diagrams are displayed in a network diagram composite layer with basic default settings for a fixed set of layers. These default layers are listed below. They are intended to represent:

Most of the time, only certain layers among those layers are really useful for your template. For example, if you have no Reduce Junction rules configured on your diagram template, the layer intended to represent the reduction edges is not needed. If you configured Remove Feature rules to systematically remove transmission lines in the resulting diagrams, the layer intended to represent transmission lines may be not useful.

To avoid unnecessary impacts to performance when displaying network diagrams, we strongly recommend careful consideration of each layer placed under the network diagram layer to reduce the number of input layers as much as possible.  Try to include only feature source classes and/or subtypes that are truly relevant for your template. As a diagram template designer, you should keep this in mind when initializing and refining the diagram layer definition of your template.

What’s next?

Configuring network diagram templates is not rocket science. With these best practices in mind and after training on some test templates, you should quickly draw great benefits from Network Diagrams functions.

There are two interesting workflow videos that should guide you and get familiar with diagram template configurations: Customize Diagram Templates Using ModelBuilder and Create diagram configurations — Apply Map Symbols to Diagrams.

In the next versions, we are thinking about growing our diagram rule and diagram layout libraries. We also want to learn from you about your favorite diagrams, layouts and use cases. This would help enriching our experience and enhancing Network Diagrams in the way you want.

About the author

The Network Diagrams Team blogs about network diagram topics. #UtilityNetwork #TraceNetwork #EsriElectric #EsriGas

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