ArcMap 10.6.1 for Utilities

ArcMap 10.6.1 for Utilities – What You Need to Know

January 31, 2018 — Skye Perry

Esri recently announced that ArcGIS Desktop 10.6.1 will be released in the summer of 2018 and will include utility support for ArcMap, the geometric network, and related ArcFM™ functionality. The 10.6.1 release will provide a supported 10.X ArcMap platform until January 2024 – well beyond the planned retirement date of 10.2.1 which had been set for June of 2021.

The primary reason for this release is to allow Esri to support multiple security and platform updates to our customers’ environments which could not be accomplished in 10.2.1. These include support for Microsoft Windows Server 2016, Microsoft SQL Server 2016, and many other similar foundational technologies.

In April of 2014, Jack Dangermond announced that the 10.2.1 release would be a dedicated release for utilities and telecoms to allow Esri to better support this community without requiring full additional software upgrades. The intent was for the 10.2.1 version to be used until the new Esri utility network was released.

As I believe most of our readers know, the Esri utility network was officially released in January 2018 within ArcGIS 10.6 and ArcGIS Pro 2.1. Therefore, you may be asking a few questions about what the 10.6.1 ArcMap/ArcFM™ release news means to you in the larger context of the shift to Esri utility network. Here’s a quick guide to provide you with some intel.

How straight forward is the upgrade to ArcMap 10.6.1?

The upgrade to ArcGIS Desktop 10.6.1 will be relatively straight forward and will mimic past “dot” release upgrades you may have performed. It will include installing new versions of all the core ArcGIS and ArcFM™ software, recompiling and validating your custom code, upgrading the geodatabase, and of course, fully testing the software and all integrations before rolling it into production. The good news is, there’s really no major changes at 10.6.1 and SSP has done more 10.X ArcGIS Desktop upgrades than any partner in the utility space.

Is Esri recommending a move to ArcMap 10.6.1 instead of ArcGIS Pro and the utility network?

No – not at all.  Be assured that Esri is still guiding utilities to implement the new utility network as this is the next generation of GIS for utilities and telecoms. The v1 release of utility network is now available and we already have customers queued to make the move from 10.2.1 geometric network into the new network. As mentioned above, the 10.6.1 ArcMap release is really intended to extend support for the mature geometric network for an additional 2+ years while including foundational support for security and platform updates. This should not affect your decision to move to the utility network.

Do I need to upgrade to 10.6.1 prior to migrating to the utility network?

Absolutely not. The upgrade from 10.2.1 to 10.6.1 is truly an upgrade of your existing mature technology. It has no impact on the data model and or connectivity requirements for the utility network and customers can safely move from 10.2.1 to the utility network. The migration to utility network will actually be identical from 10.2.1 or 10.6.1. The main reason to upgrade to 10.6.1 would be to satisfy IT requirements around security and platform releases and/or to extend the life of your current technology.

Does this mean I can just stay on my existing 10.X platform?

If you upgrade to 10.6.1, you can now stay on your current technology stack (ArcMap, geometric network, etc.) until January of 2024. But you will need to have a plan to move to the utility network prior to that point in time. And we’d recommend planning for this shift sooner than later as the migration to utility network is more than just an upgrade.

If I’ve not yet upgraded to ArcGIS Desktop 10.2.1, what should I do?

If you are already in the process of upgrading to 10.2.1, we’d recommend you stay the course and/or talk to us about your specific situation. Once upgraded, this will have you on a solid, supported release until June of 2021. If, however, you are still on 9.3.1 or 10.1 and haven’t even thought about starting your upgrade project yet (you know who you are), you may consider waiting until later this year to begin your upgrade and go all the way to 10.6.1. We only say this because if you’ve waited this long to get to 10.2.1, you’re probably going to need the extra time to get to utility network as well.

If we are migrating to Esri for the first time from Smallworld, Intergraph, CAD, etc., should I go to ArcMap 10.6.1 or ArcGIS Pro and the utility network?

This question bears more discussion based on the specific customer circumstances but generally speaking, we would recommend that any new Esri migration project consider moving to the utility network because otherwise you will end up migrating to the geometric network and then migrating again to the utility network within the next ~5 years. This would decrease the overall return on investment for your new Esri system.

Should I continue to invest in 10.X ArcMap customizations and integration points?

All along we have advised that customers can continue to invest in their 10.2.1 (and now 10.6.1) customizations and integrations as long as they are investing with the end goal of utility network in mind. This theme continues now and the extended support date may allow you to get better ROI on any immediate customization and integration work you decide to pursue.

Does this affect SSP’s roadmap for the future?

Nope! If you’ve read this far down, I hope you can clearly see that this new 10.6.1 ArcMap release is being put out for very specific reasons and does not affect Esri’s overall strategy for moving to the utility network. SSP has supported Esri at every step along the journey to the utility network and will continue to do so. We’re currently the strongest implementation partner on 10.2.1 technology and that extends directly to 10.6.1 as well. So, if you need help moving to 10.6.1 when its released, OR you want to perform additional customization or integration work, just let us know. It’s what we do every single day. And we’ll continue to guide you to the utility network through a combination of careful consulting & planning, data migration, new products, customization, systems integration, and support services. That’s been our commitment to our customers from the beginning and we, and Esri, are still fully behind that commitment today.

If you have additional questions about what this release means to your utility, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help!

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