Esri’s ArcGIS Utility Network has been available for several years, and now utility organizations are starting the process of migrating or prioritizing it as a future project. While migrating to ArcGIS Utility Network is a significant undertaking, utilities recognize the long-term value it brings to both their employees and the customers they serve.

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ArcGIS Utility Network allows you to model how all components of the utility system are related and intelligently handle dense collections of features. With Utility Network, asset data is more accurate and abundant, making analysis more meaningful.

Utilities who have migrated say that the three leading benefits for them include the ability to perform complex tracing, manage containment associations, and accurately model real-world assets.

1. Tracing 

The ability to perform traces is a powerful capability of the ArcGIS Utility Network. With eight different trace types available, there are many different tasks where these can be beneficial to your organization. For example, your GIS staff can run a connected trace when performing daily edits to ensure those edits are linked as expected

The engineering department may want to run a subnetwork trace to help them identify all the features in a particular subnetwork, such as a pressure zone. If customers are experiencing an issue somewhere in the subnetwork, the subnetwork controller trace will quickly identify the associated subnetwork controllers.

During a main break, field staff can run an isolation trace to find necessary valves to isolate a leak. Staff can quickly click on the map, run the trace, and select the valves that need to be closed to isolate the leak. This functionality also displays which customers will be affected and which hydrants will not be operational during repair.

GIS administrators can add these trace configurations to the organization so that they can be shared across the enterprise GIS and leveraged by different GIS applications. This allows staff to quickly run traces in the office or field without having to understand the complex configuration.

2. Containments 

Containments allow you to model a dense collection of features that are represented by a single feature, improving the real-world modeling of your network. Valves, fittings, and pumps could be placed inside and associated with a pump station feature, for example. To do this, a user would need to enter containment mode in ArcGIS Pro, then select the pump station on the map to view the assets inside.

Features can also be shown or hidden in the map view to improve visibility and reduce map clutter. For example, if you configure an electric transformer bank as a container, it can contain devices that are often not displayed on a map, such as fuses and transformer units. Those assets can be viewed exactly when needed for the job—without always being present on the map—and they can also be configured and used for work activities in Cityworks.

3. Subtypes

Subtypes are a great way to help categorize your GIS data. ArcGIS Utility Network uses Asset Group as a major classification field for assets and is assigned a subtype. Asset Type is the minor classification field and is also assigned a subtype as well as an attribute domain for assets.

Subtypes improve map performance and draw time because only one call is being made to a feature instead of multiple calls to many different features. They also improve the quality of your GIS data by being required when new GIS features are created and then automatically updating other attribute data based on the subtype.

Not only will you see speed and quality improvements when using Utility Network, but starting at version 15.8, Cityworks will support subtypes and domains.

Screenshot showing water lines on a map
In Cityworks Respond, a selection of ArcGIS Utility Network water line feature shows a Residential Services asset type in the Asset Details panel.

 

When your subtypes are configured on a feature, you can now use Cityworks Admin to import these subtypes from a feature service, then create filters and configure templates against these subtypes. For Respond users, this means fewer clicks to find and filter assets, as well as faster loading speeds on the map.

As Cityworks expands its capabilities, additional functionality will be included for ArcGIS Utility Network in future releases—just one example of how Cityworks can grow with your organization.

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By Carl Alexander, Cityworks subject matter expert


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