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Esri APR Tools — Changing the Pipeline Game in 2017

This month marks the release of the highly-anticipated ArcGIS Pipeline Referencing extensions. These Esri APR tools directly influence how pipeline operators will address linearly referenced pipeline centerline editing and web-based editing — for associated attributes, pipeline features, survey data and analytical results.   You can see what the Esri APR tools look like here: 

Esri APR Tools Toolbar

Pipeline Operators: Say Goodbye to Third-Party Data Management Tools

Over the past decade, and even longer, the management of these datasets has inherently been performed in third-party commercial products. These many products mean operators constantly have to deal with version compatibility, custom data models or legacy industry data models, lengthy product life cycles and expensive licensing.  

It’s refreshing to see the management and editing of core GIS pipeline features to return back in to the Esri stack, thanks to the easy-to-use editing extensions that comprise the Esri APR tools.  Since SSP has been working with the tools through the development process and beta program, we wanted to use this post to point out some key information we have learned, which you may find helpful. 

Your Must-Know Esri APR Tools Facts: Configuration + Our Favorite Features

We wanted to let you know about a couple core configuration components as well as some of our favorite — yet not so well known — features in the Esri APR toolset.  

So let's take a step back. As you probably know, your GIS is only as good as the data that resides in it.  The exact same is true of your GIS tools, especially when utilizing new tools like the APR extension.  There are some standards when it comes to how the data needs to be modeled for use with the new Esri APR tools. Here are our tips.

First, the easiest option is to utilize Esri’s recent release of the Utility Pipeline Data Model (UPDM).  Get your data in this model, so you can start using Esri APR tools right away. Another option to consider is the PODS Next Gen – Lite data model; this is great if your data is already in an existing PODS schema.  Check out a deeper dive into the APR Core if you need a refresher.  

There are also new APR tools and workflows to help you load pipeline data and establish your LRS networks. How to run through these workflows could be a post in itself, and I may write one in the future if there is enough demand for it. Just for now, know that there are ways to load your data — and these tools are deployed as desktop extensions.

Desktop Components of the Esri APR Tools

The desktop components are split into two components. First, all database, LRS configuration, event responses, data loading, and more will be performed with ArcCatalog or ArcMap.  The tools are in nice right-click workflows or within geoprocessing models.  For more details, I highly recommend Esri’s recently article showing how you can get started with pipeline referencing pages.

Second, your centerline editing toolbar will be included as an extension with the imminent release of ArcGIS Pro 1.4.  As described in our APR intro post, this pipeline ArcGIS Pro extension provides you with the ability to edit your linearly referenced centerlines through logical workflows.  Moreover, online event responses allow for simple updates, reposting, and shifting of your events based on configured response types and on what type of edit occurred. 

So at this point, we will need ArcGIS Desktop 10.5 and ArcGIS Pro 1.4 installed for the configuration, data loading and centerline editing components.  Next, let's talk about web editing. 

Esri APR Tools on the Web: ArcGIS Server and Beyond

Web and event editing components are deployed through ArcGIS Server 10.5.  Once the event editor is deployed to a map server, map services simply need to be published with the Pipeline Referencing for Server Linear Referencing capability.  

There are a number of subsequent configuration options and steps for security, as well, such as Portal for ArcGIS or ArcGIS Online. For more on each of these, Esri documentation can help. Or, you can always reach out to the SSP Pipeline Practice for more information specific to your questions. (Link not working with your email provider? Email: pipeline@sspinnovations.com.) 

And Now, Here are a Few of Our Favorite Esri APR Toolset Things ...

As we mentioned, the SSP Pipeline Practice has been using and watching the evolution of the Esri APR tools for a very long time. Here are our favorite, yet little-known features for the APR extension.

  1. Esri provided sample javascript code for custom web app development
  2. Simple right-click workflows to load your entire pipeline centerline dataset and calibration points.  Remember how hard that would be pre-APR?
  3. LRS Intersection Classes...A concept from Roads and Highways to quickly create an intersection point where routes or features cross the pipeline
  4. Selection and editing by user defined attribute sets
  5. Versioned editing on the web!

Planning Your Use of the New Esri APR Tools

Want more information on specific ARP questions or to talk through the new tools generally?  Contact our pipeline team at pipeline@sspinnovations.com
Check back soon for information related to the brand-new SSP APR Jumpstart, designed to get your team running on the APR tools in just days! 

Author Information

  • Clarke Wiley

    Clarke Wiley

    Clarke Wiley is the Director of Pipeline at the Utility, Telecommunications and Pipeline GIS consulting company SSP Innovations in Centennial, Colorado and has been working in GIS pipeline software solutions, integrity management and data management for over 10 years.

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Comments

Thanks for the great info you've been providing on APR and UPDM. For centerline and event data management in APDM/POD software from various vendors the practice has been to restrict editing to a single session on a single line to prevent logical workflow and version conflicts. It would be concerning to have mutlple editors performing simultaneous edits on a pipeline that could potentially invalidate data.  Any idea on how APR is handling conflict management?

Jaime...great question.  For the first release, the APR editing tools do not have built in conflict prevention.  Per the Esri product team, these functions and workflows are on the roadmap for future releases.  The plan is to also include route locking during network/route editing to avoid the concerns you mentioned above.  For now, it is recommended that pipeline GIS teams utilize Workflow Manager to drive editing workflows within your organization and through the different editing stages.  As for versioning, it's suggested to create versions for centerline/event edits and use provided or native Esri version management tools for conflict resolution/posting. Hope that helps!

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