ArcGIS Utility Network

Introducing Utility Network Foundations

Updated: 8/10/2023 to include new language and links.

With the release of the ArcGIS Utility Network, Esri is providing Utility Network Foundations that reduce the time and effort to implement a utility network.  The following is the list of currently available Utility Network Foundations:

Always start your implementation with a Utility Network Foundation if one is available for the resource delivered or collected by your network.  If Esri does not currently provide a Utility Network Foundation for your resource, you can still implement a utility network. You would just develop your own data model and manually configure a utility network for it.

Utility Network Foundations are designed to be a baseline that enables typical network behavior for the delivery or collection of a resource.  They are not intended to be all-inclusive data models that contain every possible asset that may be included in a physical network.  They are designed to be extendable.  If you have assets that are not included in the baseline, need to support more workflows or integrate with 3rd party systems simply add the additional schema your organization requires.

It is important to understand that you should not remove anything from the baseline provided through a Utility Network Foundation because it may result in unintended network behavior.  The Utility Network Foundations are designed to be flexible, so if you only want to deploy some pieces of the model you should read this community article on how to create and use different configurations within each foundation. Each foundation also provides the ability to rename items in the solution when you deploy them, which you can learn more about by reading this community article on using the rename functionality within the Utility Network Foundations. From there, all you need to do is extend the foundation by adding any additional fields, domains, or tables to the foundation.

The Utility Network Foundations provided by Esri are available at no additional cost to ArcGIS users and technical support is included through an organization’s Esri Maintenance Program.

What is included in a Utility Network Foundation?

Each Utility Network Foundation includes:

What is an Asset Package?

The Asset Package is a way to model the components of a utility network.  Asset Packages can be used to configure a utility network and as an interchange file to import and export the properties of a utility network.  Use the Utility Network Package Tools to work with Asset Packages.

Asset Packages are stored in a file geodatabase and can include the components that model a utility network as well as data to load into a utility network.

It is important to understand that while Asset Packages can contain data and can be interacted with by ArcGIS clients, they are not an actual utility network.  They are used to configure a utility network.

Asset Packages are designed to be additive when applied to a utility network using the Utility Network Package Tools.  This means you can keep adding additional Asset Packages to your utility network to further configure network behavior or add new schema.  The Utility Network Package Tools will only add new schema from additional Asset Packages.  To modify or delete existing schema in a utility network you would use the Administration toolset in the Utility Network toolbox.

When using a Utility Network Foundation to set up a new utility network, after deploying the Asset Package included with the Utility Network Foundation you can then add additional Asset Packages to further configure the network.  You or an implementation consultant could create the additional add-on Asset Packages.  Vendors of 3rd party systems that integrate with ArcGIS could also supply you Asset Packages to configure your utility network to work with the other system.

If you need to configure a utility network from scratch, such as when there is not a Utility Network Foundation available from Esri for the resource your network distributes or collects, you can start with an empty Asset Package to build your configuration.  This enables you to automate deployment using the Utility Network Package Tools.  Of course, you can also configure the utility network manually using the Utility Network toolbox.

What are the benefits of using a Utility Network Foundation?

As stated previously, if there is a Utility Network Foundation available from Esri for the resource your network distributes or collects it should be your starting place.  Below are some of the reasons why.

Accelerated deployment and cost savings

Starting with a Utility Network Foundation – instead of designing purely custom schema, maps, and workflows – will reduce the amount of time to deploy a utility network resulting in cost savings.

Extendable to meet your needs

Each Utility Network Foundation provides the baseline to get typical real-world network behavior and support the most common GIS workflows and analytics.  Organizations can then add on to the baseline to meet unique network, operational or 3rd party system needs.  You have more flexibility to add what is important to your organization, rather than having to work backward from an overly bloated schema that may not fit your needs.

Community driven

Guidance and feedback from the utility user communities were instrumental in developing each Utility Network Foundation. Esri will continue to curate the Utility Network Foundations just as we have for other data models in the past. Future updates will occur based on enhancements to ArcGIS and feedback from the global ArcGIS utility user communities.

Optimized cartography

The maps included with each Utility Network Foundation contain symbology optimized for use across the platform on desktop, web, and mobile apps.

Support

Esri Technical Support for Utility Network Foundations is included in an organization’s Esri Maintenance Program.  So if you need additional help deploying a Utility Network Foundation contact Esri.

Common industry data model

As the starting place for configuring utility network behavior; the Asset Packages included with the Utility Network Foundations are the next generation of common industry data models for utility GIS.  Esri partners can deliver data, workflows, and apps on top of this baseline, extend it to facilitate implementation and provide additional Asset Packages.

Sample data

The sample data provided with each of the Utility Network Foundations enables organizations to get immediate hands-on experience with a fully functional resource specific utility network in their own environment.

Conclusion

Now that you know about the Utility Network Foundations you should download them and try them out for yourself! You will find links to additional resources below this post that can guide you toward training, tutorials, and other important materials to help you in your journey to implementing the utility network.

About the authors

Howard leads the Esri team developing ArcGIS Solutions for electric, gas, water, sewer, stormwater, communications, renewables, and district heating and cooling.

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

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