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Esri Utility Network -
Editing with Containment Associations

Continuing our exploration of the new Esri Utility Network this month, I wanted to show off some of the new editing concepts related to containment associations. But before we dig in, I wanted to let you know that Esri has created a new website dedicated to introducing the Utility Network to customers. The website includes a brand-new UN whitepaper as well the opportunity to register your email to receive ongoing information directly from Esri on the Utility Network. Please circulate this new web page around your organizations and rest assured SSP will keep blogging on the UN as well! 

Register for your Utility Network whitepaper and for email updates here.

Esri Utility Network

Now back to business.

Sample Gas Data, ArcGIS Pro, and Editing with Containment Associations in the Utility Network

At SSP, we've been editing a lot in ArcGIS Pro as we prepare to roll out our Utility Network Jumpstart early next year. We want to start educating the Utility Network community on how these new tools work. Before we do that, though, I am excited to say that we have received gas-distribution sample data from Esri! So this post, and the associated video, are all based on gas editing. Everything we discuss also applies to electric too, though, so read on if you fall into either utility type.

As discussed in an earlier data model post, the new Utility Network supports these containment associations. Containment associations allow either a structure or an assembly feature to contain other connected features in the network. This setup works well for electric substations and switch gears, as well as for complex gas locations like regulator stations. Historically, we have modeled regulator stations as a single point feature in our geometric networks. But the new Utility Network allows us to model all of the inner workings of the regulator station including the pipe, fittings, valves, and regulator devices — without cluttering the map.

The first new function within ArcGIS Pro that helps with creating complex GIS features — including regulator stations — is the concept of a group feature template. This group, or stamp, template allows you to place and interact with a pre-configured set of features on the map with a single click. The group templates are configured ahead of time by an administrator. Here is the example regulator station fully symbolized by my mouse prior to placement in Pro:

Containment associations: Utility Network Regulator Station

As I place it on the map, I am then able to rotate the features into position using the Pro rotation dial:

Containment associations: Regulator Station Rotate

After adjusting the connecting fittings to tap into my gas main, I end up with a fully connected set of features. These features represent the regulator station. Note, however, that I have also placed a Regulator Station Assembly feature in between the gas main pipes:

Containment associations: Regulator Station Assembly

Containment associations: Utility Network Modify AssociationsThe Utility Network then allows us to set the assembly feature as a container. We also register the fittings, pipes, valves, and regulator as content associated with the assembly container.

Note that I can also choose whether the content should be visible on the primary map. By leaving the visible check boxes unchecked, the content features are then removed from the map. This de-clutters the map view while still maintaining the integrity of the regulator station detail.

So where did those content features go?

They still exist within the Utility Network. Connectivity, therefore, still exists between the gas mains that are shown on the map. We can perform a trace to validate the connectivity (note both gas mains are selected):

Containment associations: Trace through Regulator Station

The beta and final releases of the Utility Network may differ on how they allow us to view the content data. But, as of now, we are able to click on any container feature to view the related content features within a container view, which opens a new tab in ArcGIS Pro. On this second tab, the content features are shown in detail along with the primary, connected gas mains and regulator station. These features are grayed out in the image below, indicating they exist on the primary map view:

Containment associations: Container View

The containment associations allow the primary map view to be simplified with a great looking map while not sacrificing any of the asset level details that are maintained via the content features. The best of both worlds! I also want to note that the final version of the Utility Network will allow the group templates to pre-define all of the associations. This will allow the associations to be automatically created when then user places the group of features and will include connectivity, containment, and/or structural attachments!

Video: Editing with Containment Associations in the Utility Network

Seeing is believing, so we've created a quick video demonstrating this entire workflow using the new Utility Network. As an added bonus, I also show off how to apply mass attribute updates to a selected set of features on the map to update the pressure of the pipes on either side of the regulator device.

Thanks for checking out this cool, new functionality. Let us know if you have any questions via the comments or email and we'll be sure to get them answered right away.

Want to Get Your Hands on the Utility Network? 

Learn about SSP's exclusive two-day Utility Network Jumpstart here. 

Author Information

  • Skye Perry

    Skye Perry

    Skye Perry is a Principal Consultant for SSP Innovations and has provided technical architecture, development, and management solutions for GIS-centered implementations since 2000. Skye's roots tie back to Convergent Group, Miner & Miner, and Enspiria Solutions where he has focused on implementing Esri GIS customizations and system integrations. Today Skye is still involved on a number of SSP's project implementations and supports technical marketing in addition to leading the company.

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