This is another post in the series of articles that SSP is publishing with the goal of informing and educating our readers on technical aspects of the new Utility Network from Esri. In this article I will demonstrate how to extend your network to supply electric power to some premises. Along the exercise of adding new services I will bring to your attention three key concepts introduced by the Utility Network: connectivity, attachment, and containment.
If you are new to Esri Utility Network, and need a thorough introduction, please consult the many articles SSP has published in this area. I recommend that you start with Brian Higgin's Cliff'sNotes, as it contains a quick reference to more in-depth articles. Then, dive into each of those topics, and any new ones published since. If you do not have time for "immersion"... just relax and enjoy the show. I assure you that by the end of this reading you will learn a few tricks about Utility Network. Are you ready? Let's go...
The scenario is familiar... Electric Utility NRGy needs to provide service to a few homes recently built in some neighborhood. The new owners, in association, have requested that no power lines are strung over their back yards; so, underground service will be provided. Joe Queen, NRGy engineer, gets assigned this work order. During on-site inspection, he realizes that the primary back-bone for the subdivision has already been constructed; supported by a series of poles erected along the back of the lots. Also, a 3-phase transformer bank is found on top of the last pole, at the end of the primary line. the transformer is already supplying power to a couple of shops at the entrance of the subdivision. Joe takes some notes where he writes down the pole identifier: Asset ID 4571, and heads back to the office to start the design.
At his desk, Mr. Queen starts a new project in ArcGIS Pro. (Of course... NRGy IT team has already granted him an ArcGIS On Line license, and also credentials to a local Portal for ArcGIS which supports access to Utility Network ... But, I am drifting on a tangent...) Mr. Queen opens his working map, and:
We can analyze the associations described above by means of the Modify Associations tool of the Data tab under the Utility Network ribbon. The following snapshots show examples of the three associations.
For instance, the A-phase transformer (the one to the left of the arrangement) is connected via its high side to the left fuse.
The same A-phase transformer is connected via its low side to the two connection points leading the secondaries.
The other connectivity associations can be examined in the same way. (Reminder: the dashed lines showing the connectivity in these snapshots do not exist in the map. The associations establish a logical connectivity, and not a geometric connectivity.)
Using the Containment option of the Modify Associations geoprocessing tool, and clicking on the Transformer Bank as the container, the tool shows us its contents. (A subset of the contained devices is shown below.)
And, using the Attachment option we can see that the Transformer Bank, and the three connection points at the end of the lines are all attached to the pole.
I hope these examples clarify such crucial tenets of the Utility Network Model: Relationships by Associations. Now then... It seems that I got off on another tangent... Let us see what Joe is doing...
Joe is well familiarized with the characteristics of the Utility Network, and understands all the topics discussed above. In fact, he participated in one of the Utility Network Jumpstart sessions offered by SSP. In that session, he learned to edit the network using the tools and templates provided by Esri within the OOTB Utility Network Framework. Furthermore, he also learned about Productivity Tools developed by SSP, which make it easy to work with the Utility Network. The SSP instructor explained how Esri will rely on its Partners, such as SSP, to develop productivity tools that streamline the Utility Network editing and overall management processes.
Back to Joe's work, he is about to draw an underground service to one of the new premises. Because he is also taking this opportunity to show a colleague from NRGy what he learned at the UNJ, he chooses OOTB tools and templates for this job. Another day he will teach his coworkers about productivity tools during a brown bag session. (Stay tuned...)
While taking notes on-site, Joe put together some red-lines to remind him about the details of the job.
With those sketches as a reference, he plans to:
At about a scale of 1:3, Joe zooms back on the Transformer Bank. For clarity, he also deselects the Transformer Bank layer from the map Contents; making it invisible. Then, he uses the Create Features tool within the Features group of the Edit tab, and enters the string "connection" in the filter in search of Connection Point - ABC. Hovering over the map, he places the connection point a few "feet" away from the banked devices. An asset ID of 19281 is assigned to this connection point.
Note how edits to the Utility Network, when configured for visibility, show within a (purple) dirty area. More on dirty areas in a minute...
Reactivating the Modify Associations tool, Joe chooses Connectivity, and selects one of the transformers (the C-phase in the figure below) as the "from" junction in the association. Toggling the transformer's Terminal to Low, the tool displays the connection points already associated to the low side of the transformer, and allows to select another "to" junction by hovering over the new Connection Point - ABC.
After clicking the connection point, it appears in the list of connected junctions, with an asterisk (*) following its Asset ID indicating that in order to complete the connection process the Apply button needs to be clicked.
When Joe applies the connectivity, the new Connection Point - ABC gets finally connected to the low side terminal of the C-phase transformer, and a new dirty area encompassing both network elements appears in the map.
Joe repeats this Connectivity Association with the low side terminals of the other two transformers.
Once connected to the three terminals, Joe runs the Validate tool of the Network Topology group under the Data tab of the Utility Network ribbon. When validation is successful, the dirty areas disappear; otherwise, graphic and verbal errors appear on the screen.
The Connection Point - ABC just added is the start point of a 3-phase Secondary OH Line that Joe runs parallel to the primary up the back-bone. Joe is also careful to insert a junction in the secondary line as he passes each pole up the back lots.
At these junctions, Joe places connection points (ABC), which will serve to attach the secondary to the pole structures. (See how Joe attaches the secondary line to the poles below.)
Again with the Modify Association tool, Joe chooses this time the Attachment mode. He selects a pole at a time, and adds as an attachment the new connection point placed nearby in the section above.
Note: Joe has the habit of validating the network often, and saving his edits.
Joe places a Distribution Junction Feature, of the Riser Asset Group, and snaps to the secondary overhead line. The riser acts as a C-Tap, and the snapping ensures that its C-phase is connected to the C-phase of the secondary overhead line. The riser brings the C-phase to underground. The riser is also attached to the nearby pole.
Joe "digs" a trench from the riser all the way to the house following the property line. A trench is a Structure Line Feature of the Asset Group Trench. Within the trench, he buries a Duct; also a Structure Line Feature. And, through the duct, he passes a C-phase secondary underground line, with its neutral. The secondary is associated by attachment to the duct, and connected to a Service Point installed on the side of the house. The map looks as in the figure below.
Once the layout is completed, Joe verifies that the new service is connected to the network. In its simplest form, Joe uses the Trace Locations tool of the Tools group under the Data tab of the Utility Network ribbon to place a trace Starting Point at the beginning of the primary overhead back-bone. (This point becomes symbolized as the green dot on the upper-center part of the map.) Then, using the Downstream Trace tool, and selecting to include Containers and Structures, its execution captures (and selects) all downstream electric features, as well as their associated containers and structural attachments.
Clearly, Joe is not done with his subdivision design. He still has quite a bit of work to do so that his design contains services to all the new homes. He will use the current C-phase tap to provide power to the neighbor closest to the first service; reusing the duct, and sharing the trench. He will probably tap from phases A and B to supply power to the next six houses. In those cases he may choose to place an underground cabinet within a vault, through which the underground equipment can be connected and redirected. In this case the cabinet will contain part of the equipment; the cabinet being attached to the vault.
In essence, the fundamental concept laying the foundation of the Utility Network, Associations, is explained in this article. Esri abandons the strict constrains of geometric coincidence that supports the current Geometric Network, and embraces a geometrically free model. With the Utility Network Connectivity through the Domain Network, Containment of devices within Assemblies, and Attachment of equipment to Network Structures is accomplished by means of Topological Connectivity, implemented by Associations.
I hope that you have found this article of interest, and that you have learned a couple of things or two from it. I, like my other SSP colleagues, definitely find the concept of the Utility Network fascinating, and we love to share with you the technical details of the new model. Please, write back with questions, concerns, and any feedback that may help our GIS community get up to speed with Esri's Utility Network.