Comparing Workflows in ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro (Part 1): Reconciling and Posting in the Utility Network

Blog Post created by khsundeen on Sep 11, 2017

Many co-workers, colleagues, and clients have me asked about the differences in workflows in ArcMap compared to Esri's new Network Management Framework for using a utility. Answering these questions requires understanding both ArcGIS Pro, the utility network structure, and workflows from ArcMap. In coming posts, I outline a few details and “catch-22’s” about using ArcGIS Pro for a utility network versus ArcMap for a geometric network. 

With Esri’s revised transactional versioning system and validation, ArcMap users have wondered how they would transition their existing versioning and reconciling/posting workflows to a utility network in Network Management. Here, I describe the basic functionality and workflows for creating a version in the new system, making edits, validating edits against topology rules, checking errors, and reconciling and posting those edits. My example uses the Naperville gas utility network domain data from Network Management Beta 1 (with some customization).

The editing experience differs in ArcGIS Pro to ArcMap mostly in the buttons and user interface. It is a stretch to familiarize yourself with the editing process in ArcGIS Pro, but with practice, trust me that it gets easier! Like in ArcMap, you switch versions in the ArcGIS Pro Contents window, switch to the “List by Data Source.” To activate the VERSIONING tab in ArcGIS Pro, you need to click on the connection source. 

In the VERSIONING tab, you now have options similar to ArcMap’s menus for the Versioning Toolbar. These options allow you to create a new version, reconcile and post them, change versions, or review your changes. Other than having to learn new buttons and familiarizing yourself with context-based tools, the editing experience of working with versions follows the same workflow plus the validation step. And remember, including the validation step is a major benefits to using the utility network model! Validating ensure your features connect according to your connectivity rules for material, type, size…etc.

New Rec/Post Workflow:

  1. Change your layers to your editor version (either in VERSIONING tab or in Contents)
  2. Make edits and save (in EDIT tab)
  3. Validate edits in your version (in UTILITY NETWORK tab)
  4. Check errors
  5. Reconcile edits with DEFAULT version (in VERSIONING tab)
  6. Post edits to DEFAULT version (in VERSIONING tab)

After you’ve posted your changes to the DEFAULT version, the Post button disables indicating no other changes exist in your version that haven’t been posted to DEFAULT. 

What Happens if You Find Errors?

Let’s be honest, our data isn't perfect. We’re bound to find errors during editing sessions or on import from another source. To demonstrate my errors and how to resolve them, I created a simple gas service on Elmwood Dr. I used group template for the “Plastic PE Service-Single Meter,” which contains the service line, excess flow valve, meter, and fittings. All my edits were working until I went to validate my features. Below shows the point and line errors along with their tables.

I didn’t know that my snapping wasn’t turned on at first. To help me uncover possible issues, the utility network has a point and line error table that store informative error messages about violated connectivity rules. Looking at the Line Errors table, I read the “Error text” of Invalid connectivity – No junction edge rule.” I find this helpful since I thought I had connected it correctly.

This graphic illustrates where these error feature classes reside in a published utility network feature service in Portal for ArcGIS.

These errors indicate which connectivity rule(s) was violated. For example, both error messages show my connection was invalid because I was missing a junction connecting my edge. In other words, I attempted to connect the service line to the main line without a proper fitting between them. By adding a service tee fitting in the Assembly feature class, my connectivity errors were corrected and my features correctly validated. This is the “catch-22” for the gas network (and for the Utility Pipeline Data Model (UDPM) 2017 version coming out later this year): if you make connections between the same material, you might not get a warning that connectivity is invalid. Although you can make same material connections, the topology rules will be violated since mains required a service tee in between the two line types (service and main). It’s a great thing we can customize the connectivity rules to add or modify existing rules!

To fix my error though, I used the EDIT tab’s Modify button to move my customer meter and snap it correctly to the end of the service line. This time, I made sure to click the option for a meter to be created at the end of a line. My snapping wasn’t grapping the end of the line, but this option did. Validating proved this edit successful by showing no errors. 

Valid Topology, But Can’t Trace?

With my properly snapped service line I needed to trace to verify my features are connected. However, when I executed the “Connected” trace, it succeeded, but stopped at the gas main. 

Like I mentioned earlier, because I didn’t have a proper fitting from the gas main to the service line as defined in the connectivity rules, my trace stopped at the gas main because it wasn’t validly connected. Exploring the utility network’s “Edge-Junction-Edge Connectivity” rules table, you can see that a connection between a plastic PE gas line and a plastic PE service line is only valid when there is a junction of AssetGroup “Tee” with an AssetType of either “Plastic 3-Way” or “Plastic 4-Way.” 

Here, I’ve added a 3-Way service tee to connect my service line to my gas main. Validation checked out, as it did before since it was the same material type. Let’s check tracing to see if this customer meter is now connected. 

This valid trace shown below verifies that I finally have my new customer meter valid against my connectivity rules. What this exercise also solidifies is how amazingly useful and what a time-saver using a group template is for editors. If my group template had that 3-way tee that connected the gas main to the service line, I would have avoided needing to review the snapping, errors, and re-validating my connectivity! 

Wrapping Up

Here, you learned about the value of using ArcGIS Pro’s utility network validation tools with the typical ArcMap versioning/reconciling/posting workflow. Yes, the interface and tools have changed, but the general steps you follow to edit and check your edits against the DEFAULT version are similar. Using validation tools ensures your data are topologically correct against the rules you established when creating the utility network.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts on comparing tracing and learning more about containers. As always, I welcome your questions and ideas! Happy mapping.