Working with Subnetworks in SSP Productivity Suite

April 12, 2021 — Geoffrey West

SSP Productivity Suite is a complete set of tools that allows users to streamline Esri utility network workflows. This article illustrates how users can use the Productivity Suite tools to easily access information about a subnetwork from Esri’s utility network data model. One of the utility network advancements is the ability to view subnetworks in JavaScipt Object Notation (JSON) format. In previous Energy Advisor articles, I have discussed the benefits of using JSON as an integration point for Outage Management Systems and other enterprise systems that rely on a network definition and schema. The Subnetwork Manager is available via the Productivity Add-In in ArcGIS Pro. The Subnetwork Manager’s underlying technology is the ArcGIS Pro SDK and ArcGIS Rest API, which makes calls to the utility network Service to export subnetworks, validate network topology, and update subnetworks. This tool gives users the option to validate network topology asynchronously, which is advantageous for long-running jobs.

An example of this is if a user has a large subnetwork with hundreds of dirty areas. Rather than using the out-of-the-box validate network topology, which is a synchronous operation, it is suggested that the user leverages the Subnetwork Manager to clean those dirty areas. By running an asynchronous job, the client cannot prevent other jobs while the operations are complete. The subnetwork manager also gives users the ability to save edits, zoom to the selected subnetwork.

By leveraging the Subnetwork Manager, editors can save time and clicks by completing their operations in one panel. Consider this workflow; an editor opens a version via SSP Lifecycle for work and asset management to reconcile and post the version back to default. After the version is posted to default, a dirty area is created in default; hence the subnetwork must be validated and updated. By opening the Subnetwork Manager, the editor can easily navigate that dirty subnetwork by filtering for the subnetwork name or entering a string value of ‘dirty’ in the filter. After identifying the dirty subnetwork, the editor can zoom to the Subnetwork Manager’s subnetwork and click validate the current extent to clean dirty areas. If there are no errors in the validation process, the editor can then click Update Subnetwork, updating the identified subnetwork. Lastly, after a subnetwork is cleaned and updated, it can be exported to a JSON file. When an editor clicks export to JSON the job is started on the GIS Server and on the Productivity Services machine. The JSON is exported to two places, the arcgisoutput directory configured with the GIS Server where the utility network Service is hosted, and the configured output directory in Productivity Services. The on-demand export of a subnetwork via Subnetwork Manager is particularly useful for validating what the network definition looks like in JSON form and for immediate changes that cannot wait on the later discussed Export Subnetwork plug-in by Productivity Services.

Productivity Services is a server-side application that communicates with the utility network via REST API. Users can develop custom plug-ins against the API; however, the two out-of-the-box subnetwork plug-ins available are export subnetwork and change detection. Using the Export Subnetwork plug-in as opposed to the tool in the Subnetwork Manager, users can create scheduled tasks that are beneficial when the utility network needs to interface with another system at a given interval. For instance, if a utility needs to update its outage management system every Thursday at 2am with the JSON of the utility network, this can easily be done by scheduling a task for this plug-in in the Productivity Services UI.

Change Detection is a plug-in that can be configured to export the subnetwork changes since the last network moment. A network moment includes when the topology is initially enabled, last validated, disabled, when the utility network’s definition was last modified, or when upateIsConnected was last executed. The most common pattern used for users is to make edits to a subnetwork, validate topology, and update the subnetwork. In this example, the change detection plug-in will use the ArcGIS Rest API queryNetworkMoments operation to compare the current network moment with the previous moment. If there were changes between the two moments the change detection task will export a JSON of the subnetworks with changes. This plug-in is incredibly useful when external systems need to remain aligned with the utility network.

SSP Innovations’ Productivity Suite offers several easy-to-use tools when working with subnetworks in the utility network. Using these tools, the complexity and time spent in development and configuration can be reduced while adding significant value to the business. Moreover, implementing SSP Productivity is a valuable addition to GIS as the system of engagement and insight.

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Geoffrey West

Solution Architect

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