Utility Network for Gas: You can have your cake and eat it, too

Blog Post created by tdewitte-esristaff Employee on Apr 1, 2018

Define a complex facility once.  One-click reuse that definition many times.

By Tom Coolidge and Tom DeWitte

            A study we conducted not too long ago and shared at one of our industry conferences documented a key gas industry trend.  At that point, from 1970 the number of gas customers in the U.S. had doubled.  In the same period, the number of gas utilities serving 75% of the U.S. market had halved!  The result is a smaller number of larger networks and, with employee numbers tightening, the customers-to-employee ratio growing from 344 to 746!  These dynamics are one key to the industry’s positive performance.  They also are key to the need for continuing improvements in employee productivity.

In this context, for years, modelers have been pursuing changes to how gas pipe networks are modeled within ArcGIS that seemingly would move the needle in opposite directions.  On the one hand, a variety of regulatory and business drivers have pushed the need for a higher fidelity representation in the GIS of their assets.  On the other hand, given the continuing focus on greater productivity, there has been an equal push for improved productivity enhancements.

ArcGIS Pro and the ArcGIS Utility Network Management extension are responsive to these dynamics, delivering an ability to more fully define complex facilities in a highly productive manner.  You can have your cake and eat it, too.


For instance, a basic regulator station with a single bypass can easily be comprised of over 20 individual components. With the utility network this facility can have additional configuration requirements to define subnetwork controllers, terminals and containers. If each component and each utility network configuration were done individually this would be a very daunting task. So, how many clicks does it take to place and configure all of this information?  The answer is…. ONE.

How is a complete regulator station placed with one click?

The short answer is edit templates. ArcGIS Pro provides the ability to create edit templates.  These templates can be as simple as pre-populating the attributes for a single asset such as a 4” steel coupling. They can be comprised of multiple features such as 1” plastic service line with an excess flow valve and a meter set. Or they can be very complex such as an entire gas facility such as a regulator station or a compressor station.

ArcGIS Pro provides the ability to create three types of edit templates.  There are edit templates of single features with preset attributes, there are group templates and then there are stamp templates. For this blog I am going to focus on how to use stamp templates to enable an editor to place a 4” regulator station in one click.

How do you create a Stamp Template?

                To accurately create a stamp template of a single bypass regulator station, we need to start with a standard design template of how the construction department builds these gas facilities. The diagram below provides such a design.

Following this standard construction specification, the standard ArcGIS Pro data creation tools can be used to create the digital twin of the construction specification.

What about those additional Utility Network configurations?

Now that the digital twin geodatabase features have been created, the additional intelligence of the Utility Network can be added.  Since this is a regulator station, the first step is to use the Modify Terminal Configuration tool to define the terminal properties of the regulators and emergency valves.


The second step is to use the Modify Associations tool to select all of the regulator station components and associate them with the regulator station assembly feature.

Now that the regulator station template has been drawn within ArcGIS Pro, and its utility network properties have been set, everything is ready for the final step which is to create the stamp template.

For this next step the selection tools of ArcGIS Pro will be used to select all of the newly created regulator station features.

The final step is to use the manage templates panel to create the template.  This is done simply by selecting the “Preset Template from Selected Features” option within the manage templates panel.

Within the Creature Feature panel a new template will appear.

Using the basic editing and configuration tools provided with ArcGIS Pro 2.1, a very complex stamp template of a gas facility, such as a regulator station, has been created.


You have made your cake.


This template when used will allow you to place the entire regulator station with its utility network properties pre-populated, in a single click.


And you can eat it, too.


How do I share this template with others in my group?

The stamp template lives within the ArcGIS Pro project.  Tools are provided within ArcGIS Pro to package up the maps, edit templates, layouts, and all of the other configurable components of a Pro project.   The Share tab in Pro provides the Project package tool to bundle up the Pro project and upload it your Portal.


The cake can be shared with others.


With the Pro package created and stored on Portal, the other editors with the appropriate Portal permissions can open it on their local computer. The process of opening the Portal stored Pro package will automatically download the package to your ArcGIS/packages folder, providing you with a local version of the shared Pro project.


Others can eat the cake as well.


         The use of edit templates within the ArcGIS platform now not only allows individuals to improve their own productivity, but the sharing of the Pro projects with Portal enables that productivity to be shared with others.  Enabling all editors to share and enjoy your cake.


PLEASE NOTE: The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent Esri’s position, strategies, or opinions.