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(26 Posts)
Esri Contributor

By Tom DeWitte and Tom Coolidge

Have you ever spent a day in the field with a senior cathodic protection (CP) field technician? It is an eye-opening experience to hear and see firsthand the struggles and difficulty they face maintaining a pipe system’s CP system.  If you have not and are involved in any way with managing CP data, we strongly recommend it.

Spending time in the field with a CP technician will expose you to numerous test point readings, rectifier inspections, and other maintenance activities. And if you are lucky, you will get to see what happens when a test point reports an unacceptably low reading. When this happens the entire CP circuit is considered to be “down”.  This begins a troubleshooting process that can literally take months to resolve.  Yes, that is not a typo, it can take over a month for a senior technician to locate and resolve the root cause of a low test point reading.  A part of the reason for this long duration is access to information and tools to understand the circuit.  A modern GIS utility system can be a key provider of this information and tools.  Here are a few examples.

What is the extent of the down CP circuit?

A common question a CP field technician will ask when trying to understand the circuit they are inspecting is “what is the extent of this circuit”.  This is where the Esri Utility and Pipeline Data Model (UPDM) and its pipe-specific configuration can help. UPDM provides a configuration of the properties and capabilities of ArcGIS and its utility network to help address this question.

Within UPDM is a configuration for managing CP assets.  This includes a subnetwork configuration that when utilized will generate and maintain a graphical representation of each unique CP circuit. This subnetwork layer is a standard Geodatabase featureclass that can be displayed in web and mobile applications. This means field technicians can view this information in the field on their mobile phones, tablets, and laptops.

Seeing the Extent of a CP Zone.png

 Where are my test points?

When a CP field technician receives a test point reading of less than -0.85 Volts, the circuit is considered to be “down”.  The next step for the CP field technician is to find and test the other test points on the circuit to see if the deficient reading is an anomaly.

CP circuits are not always simply the connected metallic pipe assets running down a street in a straight line.  Sometimes they are spidery meandering subsystems whose legs stretch in many directions. This can make it difficult to locate the other test points associated with a specific CP circuit.

Finding those other test points is a simple subnetwork controller trace with the ArcGIS utility network tracing tools.

Tracing for Test Points.png

With the circuit’s test points now identified, the technician can easily locate and test the other test points.

What does reconfiguring the circuit look like?

When trying to locate the root cause of a CP circuit’s low reading, the field technician may decide to install an insulator to split the circuit. Here is another example of where the standard tracing tools provided with the ArcGIS utility network can help.

CP Connected Initial Trace.png

Adding an insulator is a simple attribute update with the UPDM configuration for CP. All the editor needs to do is to update the fitting or device “Bonded/Insulated” attribute from “Bonded” to “Insulated”.  The embedded attribute rule will automatically update the “Cathodic Protection Traceability” attribute to “Not Traceable”. Cathodic Protection Traceability is configured to be a utility network, network attribute as part of UPDM.  This allows the attribute to be used as a constraint value by the standard ArcGIS utility network trace tool.

Add an insulator.png

Rerunning the same CP connected trace, shows the new configuration of the cathodic protection.

CP Connected Final Trace.png

With this new trace result a CP field technician can see the results of what the extent of the CP circuit will be with the newly installed insulator.

Analytics for CP

These examples of analytics and visualization of analytical processes can provide CP field technicians with the information and tools they need. Having this information and these tools can help CP departments to improve this time-consuming and expensive process.

If you are someone who supports or assists with CP management at your organization, get your steel-toed boots out of the back of the closet and spend a day in the field. The understanding and appreciation of what these professionals do and their struggles for information and tools will be impactful.

Additional Information

If you missed our previous blog articles on Managing Cathodic Protection with UPDM, here are the links to those articles. In early 2020 we wrote a series of blog articles about leveraging the capabilities of ArcGIS to address the data management needs of cathodic protection for pipe systems. Those three blog articles explained how to organize and maintain information about a pipe system’s cathodic protection system.  

Part 1: Managing Cathodic Protection  with UPDM 2019: The Basics

Part 2: Managing Cathodic Protection with UPDM 2019: The Components

Part 3: Managing Cathodic Protection with UPDM: The System

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

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Esri Contributor

Tired of playing GIS gymnastics with multiple data silos of your pipe system data.  Please join us on October 29th from 12:00pm – 1:00pm U.S. Central time for a presentation followed by live Q&A on using ArcGIS for managing a single digital natural gas pipe system from wellhead to meter.  A pipe system that leverages both linear referencing and connectivity to manage the gas pipe assets. See all the details at:

This presentation is part of Esri’s Infrastructure Management and GIS conference. The conference is complementary to all Esri customers that are current on maintenance and subscriptions.

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Esri Contributor

Wondering how to better manage the Cathodic Protection portion of your pipe system. Please join us October 28th from 12:00pm – 12:30pm U.S. Central time for a brief 20-minute presentation on using the utility network and attribute rules to simplify data management and enhance capabilities. See all the details at:

This presentation is part of Esri’s Infrastructure Management and GIS conference. The conference is complementary to all Esri customers that are current on maintenance and subscriptions.

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Esri Contributor

By Tom Coolidge and Tom DeWitte

Earlier this month, Esri released Utility and Pipeline Data Model (UPDM) 2020. This release continues Esri’s practice of maintaining a template data model ready “out-of-the-box” to manage natural gas and hazardous liquid pipe system data within an Esri geodatabase. This release includes enhancements to keep up with changes in industry practices and regulatory requirements.

What’s New for 2020

Esri software development staff continue to enhance and evolve the capabilities of the geodatabase. Keeping up with these advancements is an ongoing activity. In addition to the data model representing a best practice on how to leverage the geodatabase, the data model also represents a repository of industry knowledge. Much of the structure and content of this data model is based on feedback from Esri’s many gas and hazardous liquid industry users.

For the 2020 edition, special focus was on three key areas:

  • Incorporation of new geodatabase capabilities
  • Adjusting to address new industry practices and regulatory requirements
  • Feedback from customers

Incorporation of New Geodatabase Capabilities

Two recent enhancements are incorporated into UPDM 2020.  These enhancements are Attribute Rules and Contingent Values.


An attribute rule is an arcade script which automates an edit task such as populating an attribute or defining a utility network association. The script is embedded within the geodatabase. This ensures that the data automation and data assurance properties of the attribute rule are always invoked regardless of the Esri client application performing the edit. With UPDM 2020, attribute rules were added to automate the following edit tasks:

  • Automatically create a containment association when a content feature is spatially contained by or within a distance of a valid container feature.
  • Automatically populate the “material” attribute value with the “assettype” value for those materials which have the same value for “assettype” and “material”. This applies to Cast Iron, Ductile Iron, and Other.

A contingent value is a dynamic constraint on the values in a coded value domain list based on the value set by another attribute which is not the subtype field. In UPDM 2020, a contingent value listing was added to the PipelineLine featureclass to limit the valid choices for the “material” attributes based on the “assettype” value. For example, when the editor is placing a pipe segment with an “assettype” value of “Coated Steel,” the “material” attribute is dynamically constrained to limit an editor’s picklist of materials to only grades of steel (Grade A, Grade X42, Grade X60, etc).

Adjusting to Industry Practices

Keeping up with changes to industry practices and regulatory requirements is a continual effort. For operators in the United States, a new set of federal regulations for onshore transmission pipelines went into effect, on July 1, 2020. One of these regulations is 192.607, Verification of Pipeline Material Properties and Attributes: Onshore steel transmission pipelines.  This new regulation defines changes to what information a transmission operator must maintain for the life of the pipe asset feature. Many people in the industry refer to this new regulatory required industry practice as traceable, verifiable, and complete.

To help onshore transmission operators adopt this new industry practice several changes were made to UPDM 2020.

  • Added attributes to PipelineJunction for managing “X-Ray Number”, and “Joint Coating Type” on fittings.
  • Added attribute to PipelineLine for managing “Mill Test Pressure”, “Heat Number”, and “Joint Number” to improve management of pipe manufacturing data.
  • Added attributes to PipelineDevice for managing “Remote Operation”, “Operator Type”, and “Device Actuator Type” data to improve management of devices with remote operation capabilities.

Enhancements Due to Customer Feedback

Many customers in late 2019 and early 2020 were kind enough to take the time to share lessons learned from their implementation of UPDM 2019. Many of these lessons learned have been incorporated into UPDM 2020. A sampling of changes based on customer feedback include:

  • Increasing the text field length of the PipelineLine attribute, LocationDescription from 100 to 255.
  • Changing the default value for the PipelineLine attributes, WarningTape and TraceWire from “Yes” to “No” for the subtype “Transmission Pipe”.
  • Add the subtype “Pipe Bend” to the PipelineJunction featureclass to better support transmission data management.
  • Move “P_PipeCrossing” featureclass into the PipeSystem feature dataset to support use as a linear referenced event with the ArcGIS Pipeline Referencing solution

Gas and Pipeline Enterprise Data Management

For many gas utility and pipeline enterprises, deploying the ArcGIS platform that leverages the concepts of a service-oriented webgis is more than loading the UPDM 2020 data model into an enterprise geodatabase. It requires additional steps such as creating an ArcGIS Pro map configured for publishing the data model, publishing of the Pro map to create the required map and feature services and, perhaps, configuring a location referencing system. To help simplify these additional steps performed with UPDM 2020, Esri has embedded UPDM 2020 into a new ArcGIS for Gas solution.  The new solution is called Gas and Pipeline Enterprise Data Management. This solution provides UPDM 2020, sample data, and an ArcGIS Pro project configured with tasks and performance optimized maps. You can access this solution from the Esri ArcGIS For Gas solution site: 

As part of incorporating UPDM 2020 into this new gas industry solution, the data dictionary has been converted into a searchable online web page.  This will simplify searching the previously 800-page data dictionary. You can directly access the new UPDM 2020 online data dictionary from this link:

For more information about Gas and Pipeline Enterprise Data Management and the additional information it provides, you can read the following storymap.

For those not familiar with UPDM and its goal, here is a quick overview.


What is UPDM

UPDM is a geodatabase data model template for operators of pipe networks in the gas and hazardous liquids industries. UPDM is a moderately normalized data model that explicitly represents each physical component of a gas pipe network from the wellhead to the customer meter, or a hazardous liquids pipe network from the wellhead to the terminal or delivery point, in a single database table object.

UPDM is the only industry model which can manage a single representation of the entire pipe system.  For many companies around the world this single data repository aligns well with enterprise practices to vertically integrate business processes and operations.


The goal of the Esri UPDM is to make it easier, quicker, and more cost-effective for pipeline operators and gas utilities to implement the ArcGIS platform. The Esri UPDM accomplishes this by freely providing a data model that takes full advantage of the capabilities of the geodatabase. The data model is created and tested with ArcGIS products to ensure that it works. This significantly reduces the complexity, time, and cost to implement a spatially enabled hazardous liquid or gas pipe system data repository.

Looking Forward to UPDM 2021

A wise man once said “change is the only constant.” This is a great quote when thinking about UPDM going forward. The Esri development team will continue to enhance the capabilities of ArcGIS. Industry will continue to evolve its practices. To continue adjusting to industry practices and incorporating new ArcGIS capabilities, the Utility and Pipeline Data Model will continue to evolve.  These changes will be constant for many years to come.

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Esri Contributor

By Tom Coolidge and Tom DeWitte

“Tell me about yourself.” How many times have we all heard those words from others trying to understand us and our life journey to a point in time? The natural gas distribution industry and transmission industry have similar but different life journeys to an improved level of safety resulting from better knowledge of their assets. Both initiatives behind these stories now are almost ten years old.

In the distribution industry, the initiative is known as Tracking and Traceability. In the transmission industry, it’s known as Traceable, Verifiable, and Complete. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) launched both initiatives.

For those not familiar with Tracking and Traceability in the natural gas distribution industry, this initiative is about improving the information a natural gas organization maintains about an asset, such as a pipe segment, a valve or a fitting. It is important that a natural gas organization knows who manufactured the asset, who enhanced the asset (i.e. applied a protective coating), by whom and when was the asset tested, and by who, where and when was the asset installed. Like very protective parents, safety demands the need to know from where the asset came, where the asset has been, what did it do, and where is it currently. Through the efforts of multiple industry organizations, including the Plastic Pipe Institute, the American Gas Association, pipe manufacturers, and others, Tracking and Traceability was born to supply the facts required for a better answer.

In the natural gas transmission industry, PHMSA introduced the Traceable, Verifiable, and Complete requirement. Traceable in this context means records that can be clearly linked to original information about a pipe network component. For instance, this might be a pipe mill record or purchase requisition. Verifiable records confirm the documentation used for traceability. An example of a verifiable record is a pressure test complemented by pressure tests or field logs. Complete records are those that finalize documentation of a pipe network component. For example, a complete pressure testing record should identify a specific segment of pipe, who conducted the test, the duration of the test, the test medium, temperatures, accurate pressure readings, and elevation information as applicable.

While, as you can see, the journeys are in different forms, they bear obvious similarities. And, a geographic information system (GIS) is at the heart of both.

Capturing the Life Journey of an Asset

Capturing a complete traceable set of information for an asset requires an information system with unique capabilities. A traceable system of record needs to be able to store the following types of information about an asset:

  • Documents
  • Photos
  • Digital descriptors
  • Location
  • Geospatial representation

To meet the needs of a gas system, this information system also needs to be able to provide this information to the gas organization staff both in the office and in the field.  When in the field this information needs to be available whether the mobile device is connected or operating in a disconnected state.  That is a pretty tall order of capabilities.  Of all the different types of information systems available today, only a GIS has the capability to store all these components of information an asset collects over its life journey. 

Over the course of an asset’s life journey there will also be many tests and inspections.  These, too, need to be associated to the asset for the asset’s life journey. Additionally, these inspections and tests need to be available to employees both in the office and in the field.  A field cathodic protection technician needs to not only know where a cathodic protection test point is located, what type it is, and who manufactured it, the technician also needs to have access to the history of inspections taken at the test point.

This is why the gas industry is increasingly looking to their GIS as the foundation of their plans for implementing a system of record that meets the needs of traceability.

Tracking Changes to an Asset over Time

Meeting the needs of Traceability also requires knowing when the information about an asset was changed, who made the change, and what was changed. This set of information needs to cover every change made to the information about the asset over the life of the asset. Accomplishing this requires both the ability to track the edits made to the asset record, and the ability to archive the history of changes.  This audit trail of changes to the GIS-maintained assets must be persisted for the life of the asset.

The greater the portion of an asset’s life journey that can have an unbroken audit trail, the more verifiable the information about the asset. Accomplishing an unbroken audit trail of the operational life journey of an asset requires a GIS which is also a fully integrated platform.  One that allows the editor tracking to begin in the field when the asset is initially installed and placed into service. This field-initiated audit trail must be part of the GIS’s security system for capturing who recorded the installation of the asset.  This capture of who recorded the installation, and when was the installation recorded, must be system managed so that users are unable to “fake” the system by manipulation of the recorded date time, and user information.

Verifying the completeness of the information about an asset includes verifying the integrity of the information.  An integrity that can be sustained as an unbroken audit trail for the operational life journey of the asset.      


A modern GIS, one that has been architected to be a platform solution, capable of collecting new assets both in the field and in the office is the foundation technology for a successful traceability program.  The information collected about an asset includes its documents, manufacturer specifications, installation photos, location description, geospatial representation, inspections, and tests. This complete set of information needs to be available to utility staff when they need it, regardless of location or device.  The verifiability of this information needs to include a system-managed audit trail capability, which cannot be manipulated and persists as an unbroken recording of the life journey of the asset.

Only a modern GIS can answer the question; “so, tell me about yourself”.

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Esri Contributor

By Tom DeWitte and Tom Coolidge

Installing the correct components when constructing a new pipe system or replacing an existing portion of a pipe system is critical to the safety and reliability of the overall pipe system.  When dealing with buried pipe utilities such as natural gas, water, district heating, district cooling, and hazardous liquids, this is a real issue.  Every year field crews inadvertently make the following mistakes:

   -install polyethylene assets that have been sitting in the service yard for too long

   -contractor installed a component for a utility company that is not on the utility companies’ approved manufacturer list

   -field crew installed a pipe system component which is no longer compatible with company standards. 

Without real-time field validation, these honest mistakes typically do not get identified until after the construction is complete and the pipe components have been covered over.  This latency in identification leads to expensive post-construction repairs. 

Real-time Validation

If the field construction crews could be notified that a specific pipe component about to be installed does not meet the requirements for valid installation, the previously listed issues could be eliminated. What field crews need is real-time validation.

Configuring Collector for Real-time Validation

In early 2019 Collector for ArcGIS was enhanced to support arcade scripting in the web maps which provide the configuration of Collector’s behavior.  As noted in previous blog articles, this opened the capability for real-time decoding of a pipe component’s barcode.

-Tracking and Traceability 2019: Part 1

-Tracking and Traceability 2019: Part 2

The ability to add arcade scripts to the web map pop-up provides an advanced configuration ability to provide field crews with real-time validation.


What’s a field person to do?

A field person can easily use this real-time validation capability.  Since Collector runs on Apple, Android and Windows mobile devices, they could check the validity of pipe segments, plastic device and plastic fittings while unloading them from the delivery truck.  All the field person would have to do is to use their smart phone running the Collector to scan the barcode using the device’s camera.

Screenshot of portion of Collector pop-up

Collector will automatically decode the barcode information and open a pop-up window with the validation results.  Invalid pipe segments, devices and fittings never reach the installation trench.         

Keeping invalid pipe components out of installation trenches improves safety, system reliability, and eliminates unwanted costs. No one wants to have to re-dig the construction location to remove the invalid pipe components.

How is this possible?

Esri makes real-time validation possible by allowing arcade scripts to be added to the web map configuration file.  More specifically the arcade script is added to the pop-up configuration in the web map of the pipe, device or fitting layer.

Screenshot of portion of pop-up layer configuration

With the arcade script added to the desired layer pop-ups, the web map is now ready for real-time validation.  For the field user, initiation of the validation process occurs automatically when the field user presses the “Submit” button in the upper right corner of the Collector display.

Screenshot of top portion of Collector application

The pressing of the “Submit” button after collecting some information such as scanning of a barcode also automatically opens the pop-up to show the validation results.  It really is that easy to deploy and that seamless an experience for the field user.            

What is the script doing?

The logic in the arcade script is the key to enabling Collector to perform real-time validation.  What must the script do? 

The simple answer is that it must be able to acquire the information needed to answer a question.  For example, a core validation for plastic pipe construction is whether the polyethylene plastic material is too old.  Polyethylene plastic is susceptible to the suns UV rays.  Let a roll of medium density polyethylene pipe site in the service yard for over 3 years and the sun’s UV rays will have degraded the material to the point where it should not be installed. The information needed to assess whether the role of pipe is too old is the date of manufacture and the current date.  The date of manufacture is acquired form the scanning and decoding of the ASTM F2897 barcode.  The current date is acquired from the mobile device itself.  Subtract the manufacture date from the current date and you have a time difference.  If the time difference exceeds the industry recommended shelf life then that roll of pipe is invalid and should not be installed. 

Here is a snippet of the arcade script to determine whether the polyethylene plastic pipe or component has exceeded the recommended shelf life.

Portion of arcade script to determine material shelf life


Where can I get these scripts?

Many people have told me that they find it easier to modify someone else’s script than to write one from scratch. With that statement in mind we have written arcade scripts against a UPDM 2019 data model and the ASTM F2897 barcode standard to address three validation scenarios.

  • Scenario 1: Material for HDPE and MDPE has exceeded its shelf life
  • Scenario 2: The manufacturer of the pipe system component is not on the utilities approved list.
  • Scenario 3: The specific size and model of the component is not part of the utilities set of codes and standards.

These arcade scripts are available for download from the following location on geonet. In addition to the scripts are detailed instructions on how to configure and deploy the scripts into your ArcGIS Enterprise or Online organization.  That’s right, web map based arcade scripts not only work for ArcGIS Enterprise environments they also work for ArcGIS Online organizations.

What else can Collector real-time validations do

In addition to the real-time validation scenarios previously listed, there are other opportunities for applying real-time validation.  For example, you could create custom barcodes for welding and plastic fusion operators.  The custom barcodes could embed the worker’s operator qualifications. A Collector web map embedded arcade script could decode that scanned operator’s badge barcode and immediately determine whether the operator is qualified and whether the qualifications are still valid.

The advanced configuration capabilities of web maps with arcade scripting open capabilities that previously required complex and expensive customization.  The universal use of web maps in web applications and mobile applications such as Collector allow this configuration to be done once and utilized across Windows mobile devices, Android mobile devices, Apple mobile devices, and web applications. 

And did I mention that these real-time validations work even when the device is disconnected from the network?

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

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Esri Contributor

By Tom Coolidge and Tom DeWitte


Part 3 of 3

This the third and final blog in a series that explains how the ArcGIS platform with the ArcGIS Utility Network Management extension and the Utility and Pipeline Data Model (UPDM) can be utilized to model a cathodic protection system.


What is a cathodic protection zone and why does a pipe organization need to understand it?  


Cathodic Protection Zones

What is a CP zone? In the second blog of this series we described the components which comprise a cathodic protection zone and how UPDM 2019 provides a template for organizing the information about those components.  But, a cathodic protection zone is more than its components.

Cathodic Protection System

A cathodic protection zone is really an electrical circuit.  Electricity flows through it to protect the connected components from corrosion. So, to understand what a cathodic protection zone is, we need an understanding of the connectivity between the components.  But even that is not enough. In addition to understanding connectivity we need to understand what connected components have characteristics which will cause the flow of electricity to stop. 


This means the GIS model representing the cathodic protection zone needs to know that plastic pipe is non-conducting and will therefore stop the flow of electricity.  The GIS system needs to understand that devices and fittings can be insulated, and this will also stop the flow of electricity. 


The ArcGIS Utility Network Management extension provides this higher level of understanding within ArcGIS.


Defining the Cathodic Protection Zone

To create a cathodic protection zone within the utility network, all PipelineLine, PipelineDevice and PipelineJunction features must have their CPTraceability populated. Additionally, the test points must be configured as terminals and designated as a subnetwork controller.

The logic that defines how the utility network discovers a cathodic protection zone is as follows:

  1. Start the trace from the sources (Test Point(s))
  2. Use the utility network connectivity to begin traversing the system.
  3. Stop traversing the network when the trace encounters a feature with a CPTraceability = Not Traceable.

The tool within the utility network which performs this task is the “Update Subnetwork” geoprocessing tool.


When the “Update Subnetwork” is run, it aggregates the following PipelineLine features to create the subnetwork geometry.

  • Distribution lines
  • Transmission lines
  • Gathering lines


Additionally, the “Update Subnetwork” is preconfigured in UPDM 2019 to summarize the following information and write it to the subnetwork feature record.

  • Number of Anodes
  • Number of Rectifiers
  • Number of Test Points
  • Total Length
  • Total Surface Area

Defining Flow for Cathodic Protection

In the digital world of flow analysis, there are two types of flow networks; source, and sink.

  • SOURCE — A source is an origin of the resource delivered. For example, for a natural gas distribution system, sources of natural gas are the utility transfer meters within town border stations.

  • SINK —A sink is the destination of the gathered resource. For example, when modeling the Mississippi river basin, the sink of the pipe network is the outflow into the Gulf of Mexico, just south of the city of New Orleans.

A pressure system is another example of a source flow system. The source of gas to the gas pressure zone is the regulator device. A single gas pressure zone will typically have multiple regulators feeding gas into the pressure zone.

Diagram of Pressure Zone

Within the utility network, a single domain may only have one type of subnetwork controller (Source or Sink). The gas pipe system tiers (System, Pressure, Isolation) are modeled as sources.  In UPDM 2019, the Pipeline domain models the subnetwork controller type as a “Source” to support the pipe system tiers.


The cathodic protection system of a pipe system is not as consistent a flow model as the pressurized pipe system. For the impressed current system, the rectifier would be the logical source and the anode would be an intermediate device.  For the galvanically protected system, the anode would be the logical source. Because of this inconsistency, it was decided that the best option was to make the test point the source as it is typically a part of both the galvanically protected system and the impressed current protection system.


Tracing Across a Cathodic Protection Zone

Now that the cathodic protection zones have been defined with the “Update Subnetwork” geoprocessing tool users can begin to perform traces across the cathodic protection system.  Some common questions to ask the utility network via a trace are:

  • Where is are the Test Points?
  • Where is the nearest test point?
  • Which pipe system components participate in the zone?

Outside of the trace tools simple attribute queries can be run to understand the following:

  • Which pipe system components are bonded?
  • Which pipe system components are cathodic protection insulators

With the cathodic protection zones defined in the utility network, these questions can be easily answered.



Data management and analysis of cathodic protection systems was a challenge in legacy geospatial systems.  Entering the information has always been a straight forward process.  Maintaining an intelligent representation of the cathodic protection system has historically been the challenge. With the utility network combined with the UPDM 2019 configuration, maintaining and analyzing a cathodic protection system is now an intuitive process.

If you missed the first two blogs in this series, we encourage you to check them out. The first blog provided an overview of how cathodic protection systems works to provide GIS professionals and IT administrators with enough knowledge to be able to correctly create a digital representation of a cathodic protection system utilizing UPDM 2019 and the utility network . The second blog went into detail on the use of UPDM 2019 to organize the digital presentation of the cathodic protection system.


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

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Esri Contributor

By Tom Coolidge and Tom DeWitte

Part 2 of 3

Our first blog in this series provided an overview of how cathodic protection systems works to provide GIS professionals and IT administrators with enough knowledge to be able to correctly create a digital representation of a cathodic protection system utilizing Utility and Pipeline Data Model (UPDM) 2019 and the utility network.


This second blog goes into detail on the configuration of UPDM to manage the components which make up the cathodic protection system.

Many, many years ago, being new to the natural gas and hazardous liquid industries, the management of cathodic protection was a mystery.  The data about the cathodic protection system was not being stored in the GIS along with the assets of the pipe system.  When I asked the GIS staff about this, the common answer was that the cathodic protection group maintained their data separately. This leads to the next question. What system were they using?  The most common answer I got was paper and colored pencils. That’s right the cathodic protection data was being manually maintained on a set of paper maps with colored pencils.  And every winter the cathodic protection group would manually transpose the data from last year’s paper maps to the current year’s paper maps.

Over time, the cathodic protection data started to show up in more gas GIS systems.  Most often it was an incomplete representation of the cathodic protection system.  You might see some test points and anode beds, but they usually were not connected to the pipe system.  Additionally, other important information such as insulators and rectifiers were commonly not mapped.


Some natural gas or hazardous liquid companies did map the entire cathodic protection system. But they needed special tools to manage and maintain this information.


With the release of UPDM 2019 and the utility network, it is now possible to maintain the entire cathodic protection system with the standard data management and editing tools provided by Esri.


No colored pencils required!

UPDM 2019

The 2019 edition of UPDM provides a template for organizing natural gas and hazardous liquid pipe system information. This data model is an Esri-structured geodatabase.  It is written to be able to be used and managed with the standard data management tools provided by Esri’s ArcGIS products.


UPDM 2019 and Modeling Cathodic Protection Data

The release of UPDM 2019 introduces a new, simpler, and more complete data model for managing cathodic protection data in an ArcGIS geodatabase.  These changes are intended to be used with the ArcGIS Utility Network Management Extension to allow for the modeling of the cathodic protection system.

Cathodic Protection Components in UPDM

The discrete components of a cathodic protection system modeled in UPDM 2019 are anodes, rectifiers, test points, wire junctions, and insulation junctions.  The anodes, rectifiers, and test points are point features stored as asset groups within PipelineDevice featureclass.

These PipelineDevice features are not inline features of the pipe system.  Instead they physically sit adjacent to the pipe system.  These anodes, rectifiers, and test points are connected to the pipe system assets by wires and cables. The location where the test lead wires connect to the pipe system can be identified with the PipelineJunction AssetGroup type of Wire Junction.  The modeling of test junctions is not required, as the UPDM default rulebase for the utility network also allows the wires and cables to connect directly to the PipelineLine pipe segments.


The location of insulators can be specified with the PipelineJunction AssetGroup type of Insulator Junction.

The wires and cables are classified as bonding lines, rectifier cables, and test lead wires. Within UPDM they are stored in the PipelineLine featureclass.

Modeling Insulating Components

Within UPDM 2019, management of insulating pipe components is key to successfully modeling cathodic protection systems. From the perspective of modeling cathodic protection systems, the management of insulators is the defining of whether a pipe system component can be electrically traversed.

  • Pipe system component is insulating       = Not traversable
  • Pipe system component is not insulating = Traversable


In ArcGIS and the utility network, we simulate traverseability with tracing.  This means that if a pipe system component is not insulated, it is traversable which means it is traceable when defining a cathodic protection system.

  • Pipe system component is insulated       = Not traversable             = Not traceable
  • Pipe system component is not insulated = traversable                    = Traceable


In UPDM 2019, determination of whether a pipe system component is traceable is defined with the attribute: CPTraceability.  The following UPDM featureclasses which participate in the utility network have the CPTraceability attribute:

  • PIpelineLine
  • PipelineDevice
  • PipelineJunction


This attribute is assigned a coded value domain called: CP_Traceability.  This coded domain has the following values:







Not Traceable

Coded Value Domains for CP_Traceability

Within the utility network properties predefined in UPDM 2019, this attribute has been associated to the network attribute: cathodic protection traceability. This allows the value to be utilized within the trace definition which is used to define the cathodic protection zone.


Within UPDM 2019, a pipe system asset is defined as being insulated by setting the BondedInsulated attribute to a value of “Insulated”. The following UPDM featureclasses which participate in the utility network have the BondedInsulated attribute:

  • PipelineLine
  • PipelineDevice
  • PipelineJunction


The attribute BondedInsulated has been assigned the coded value domain: Bonded_Insulated.  This coded value domain has the following values:








Coded Value Domain for Bonded_Insulated

Management of Bonding Lines

Bonding lines are the wires which are used to extend the electrical connection of the cathodic protection system.  They are used to span pipeline assets which are non-conductive.

Example of Binding Wire Spanning Plastic Pipe Segment


In some legacy GIS systems, the management of bonding lines was tedious. Data editors were required to draw in the bonding line and insure that is was connected to the metallic pipe system components on each end of the line.  In the UPDM 2019 configuration, the need for geometry feature creation has been minimized by allowing an attribute on the non-conductive pipe system asset which is being spanned to indicate that the asset has been bonded.  Instead of drawing the spanning bonding line, a user simply needs to change the attribute value of the attribute: BondedInsulated to a value of “Bonded”. This means that within the Utility Network, the spanned feature can be considered traceable.

Automating Cathodic Protection Data Management

The previously described attributes, Material, BondedInsulated and CPTraceability are the PipelineDevice and PipelineJunction attributes which UPDM 2019 and the utility network use to define a cathodic protection zone. The attributes AssetType, BondedInsulated and CPTraceability are used with PipelineLine.


Attribute Purpose


PipelineDevice/ PipelineJunction

Determine material type



Determine whether bonded or insulated



Determine CP traceability




To provide automation and improve data quality, attribute rules were written to auto-populate the CPTraceability attribute based on the values of the AssetType, Material, and BondedInsulated attributes.


To explain the logic embedded within the CPTraceability attribute rules here are three scenarios:

  • Scenario 1: Metallic Pipe Segment
    • Asset Type           = Coated Steel
    • Bonded Insulated = null


  • Scenario 2: Insulated Gas Valve
    • Material                = Steel
    • Bonded Insulated = Insulated


  • Scenario 3: Plastic Pipe Spanned by Bonding Line
    • Asset Type           = Plastic PE
    • Bonded Insulated = Bonded

In each of these scenarios the CPTraceability attribute is automatically populated by the UPDM 2019-provided attribute rules.

  • Scenario 1: Metallic Pipe Segment
    • Asset Type           = Coated Steel
    • Bonded Insulated = null
    • CP Traceability   = Traceable


  • Scenario 2: Insulated Gas Valve
    • Material                = Steel
    • Bonded Insulated = Insulated
    • CP Traceability   = Not Traceable


  • Scenario 3: Plastic Pipe Spanned by Bonding Line
    • Asset Type           = Plastic PE
    • Bonded Insulated = Bonded
    • CP Traceability   = Traceable


To have the CP Traceability attribute correctly set, all the editor must do is insure that the Material/AssetType and the BondedInsulated attributes are correctly set.



The new enhanced representation of cathodic protection data in UPDM 2019 makes managing a digital representation of your cathodic protection data easier. This enhanced presentation can be created and maintained with the standard tools provided by ArcGIS Pro and the standard capabilities provided by the utility network. 


In the third and final blog of this series, we will dive into how the utility network enables organizations to understand cathodic protection zones, discover when an insulating fitting or device stops the electric circuit of the cathodic protection zone, and which pipe materials are non-conducting. 


All of this is done without colored pencils.


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

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Esri Contributor

On January 28, 2020 over 13,500 utility professionals gathered in San Antonio TX for the annual Distributech conference to learn about the latest innovations in the electric utility industry. This year Distributech was huge and the action never let up.

The Esri booth flooded each day with visitors learning ways to geo-enable the modern utility – using the complete ArcGIS platform to accomplish digital transformation. Two themes rose to the top – Grid Modernization and Field Mobility.

Visitors enjoyed demonstrations in the following areas: Asset management, Safety first, Customer engagement, Grid Mod, Network management, Analytics, Field operations, Innovation, Real-time/IoT, and Emergency management.

The demonstration theater seemed to run almost non-stop drawing crowds and often filling the adjacent isle addressing such topics as:

  • Esri - Maps and Data for Utilities, ArcGIS Utility Network,  Seeing your Business Holistically and in Real-Time, Enabling your Field Workforce with Apps, Leveraging drone Imagery for Mapping Inspection, Utility of the Future
  • SAP/Critigen – Integration of Spatial Data using SAP HANA and ArcGIS
  • UDC – Moving Utilities from a Reactive to Proactive Reliability Approach, Utility Network Migration – Getting Down to the Details
  • EPOCH Solutions – EpochField: Field Work Management Made Simple
  • DataCapable – How Dominion has Transformed Safety and Reliability, How Central Hudson Gas and Electric has Transformed Safety and Reliability with a New Platform
  • 3GIS – Avoiding Fiber Deployment Roadblocks, Accelerating Speed to Activation
  • Critigen – EAM, ADMS, OMS, Design, Esri’s Utility Network, Mobility, What should we do first?

Business Partners Bring Advanced Solutions

Esri had a very large business partner presence. Critegen, Cyclomedia, DataCapable, EOS Positioning Systems, Epoch Solutions, SAP, UDC, and 3GIS all presented solutions in the Esri booth. In total, 44 Esri business partners exhibited this year demonstrating the heightened interest in real-world solutions. Numerous companies expressed a desire to form new partner relationships to leverage with wide-spread adoption of ArcGIS in utilities worldwide.

A formal press release announced an exciting new partnership. Electric, gas, and water utilities will now be able to leverage both ArcGIS Utility Networks and the Open Systems International, Inc.(OSI) monarch operational technology (OT) platform as they become more tightly integrated.

"Many of our utility customers are adopting new Esri technology, such as ArcGIS Utility Network Management, which provides advanced network modeling capability," said Bahman Hoveida, president and CEO of OSI. "We are very excited about our partnership with Esri, as it will enable us to provide the best technical solutions to our joint customers, leveraging the latest functionality ArcGIS Utility Network Management provides."


Esri’s Bill Meehan presented to an engaged audience on why Field Mobility is more than just giving maps to field workers! Bill discussed ways to improve entire workflows with accurate data, and awareness/ access for everyone. Leading utilities are using ArcGIS mobile solutions to improve KPIs in every corner of the business.

Remi Myers shared about Analyzing Lightning Events to Improve Electric System Reliability. Remi hit on some very popular themes of Network Management, Big Data, and Analytics. He processed over 600,000 lightning strike data points in a live demo that identified broken grounds on a utility’s transmission system – impressive!

Make Plans to Join Esri Next Year

Make plans to join us next year when Distributech will return to sunny San Diego on February, 9-11, 2021.

Continue the Conversation

Got information overload? The Esri Industry Solutions Team curates the best material for our users - Follow @EsriElectricGas on Twitter for the latest! Sign up for our newsletter.

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Esri Contributor

By Tom Coolidge and Tom DeWitte

We were struck recently in reading NACE International’s estimate of the money spent each year on corrosion-related costs for monitoring, replacing, and maintaining U.S. metallic pipe networks. The estimated annual tab is $7 billion for gathering and transmission pipelines and another $5 billion for gas distribution pipelines. That’s $12 billion each year!


Metallic pipe has been around for a long time. It has been used by the gas utility and pipeline industries since the 1800s when cast iron pipe first replaced wooden pipe. Advances in metallurgy through the years have steadily resulted in different types and better quality of metal for pipe networks. Today there is a lot of metallic pipe of one kind or the other in the ground. In fact, even after much cast iron and other metallic distribution pipe have been replaced by plastic pipe, there remains today several hundred thousand miles of in-service metallic pipe in America’s gas and hazardous liquids transmission and distribution networks. Much of it is old, and all of it is subject to corrosion.


Most people understand that if you put iron or steel in contact with moisture and oxygen, the metal will begin to rust or corrode. What most people do not understand is that this basic electro-chemical process can be slowed or even halted.


Gas utilities and pipelines understand that, though. That’s why today they dedicate considerable human and financial resources to the cause of cathodic protection. They do it because they are committed to safe operations, and they do it for regulatory compliance as cathodic protection has been required for much of America’s pipe networks since 1971.

This is the first blog of a series that explores how ArcGIS provides capabilities for the management of cathodic protection networks.


Protecting the Pipe from Corrosion

There are several methods to protect metallic pipe buried in the ground. One method is to apply a coating to the pipe to form a barrier between the metal pipe and the corrosion-causing mixture of water and air.

Coated Metallic Pipe

This is very common for natural gas and hazardous liquid carrying pipelines.  But it is not perfect, as a single scratch through the coating layer diminishes the protection.  A second method is to manipulate the same electro-chemical process which causes corrosion to instead protect the pipe from corrosion.  This method is called cathodic protection. Two common forms of cathodic protection are galvanically-protected and impressed-current protection.

Galvanically Protected

We Need a Sacrifice

A galvanically-protected cathodic protection system is also called a passive-cathodic protection system.  It is passive in that no foreign electrical energy is needed.  Galvanic protection works by connecting a more electrochemically active metal into the system than the pipe system which is being protected.  This electrochemically active metal is simply a hunk of metal buried in the ground near the pipe system. This component is called an anode. Common materials for anodes are zinc and magnesium. In a galvanic protection system, the anode gives up electrons to the pipe system.  This sacrifice of electrons results in the anode corroding instead of the pipe system.

Impressed Current Cathodic Protection

Charge It

Impressed-current cathodic protection systems are typically used to protect large pipe systems such as transmission pipelines.  The rectifier inserts direct current (DC) voltage into the cathodic protection system.  A rectifier cable connects the rectifier’s positive terminal to the anodes within the anode bed.  A second rectifier cable connects the rectifier’s negative terminal to the pipe system.


The Electric Circuit

The foundational concept to keep in mind when trying to understand cathodic protection is that the components of a cathodic protection system are connected to form an electric circuit.  If the circuit is broken, then the metallic pipe system components will lose their protection and the rate of corrosion will accelerate. If not corrected, the pipe system components will weaken and eventually fail.


Soil Is A Conductor

With cathodic protection, it is important to remember that the soil between the anode and the metallic pipe acts as a conductor.  The soil as a conductor of electricity completes the electric circuit connecting the anode to the metallic pipe.


Material Type Matters

The material of the pipe system components is critical to a cathodic protection system.  Some materials such as polyethylene (Plastic PE) are non-conducting and act as insulators. These insulating materials break the electric circuit.

Cathodic Protection System With Insulating Plastic Pipe

In addition to plastic pipes and plastic components acting as insulators and breaking the electric circuit, metallic components can be manufactured so that they, too, can be insulating devices or junctions.

Cathodic Protection Systems Separated By An Insulating Valve

Managing Cathodic Protection Data with UPDM

Management of the cathodic protection components in a Geodatabase is not difficult.  The anodes, rectifiers, and test points are typically modeled as point features.  The test lead wires; bonding lines, and rectifier cables are modeled as line features. Utility and Pipeline Data Model (UPDM) 2019 provides a template data model for managing these cathodic protection components.


Where data management of the cathodic protection systems gets challenging is the defining and maintaining of the cathodic protection zone.  The cathodic protection zone is the combination of pipeline, pipe devices, pipe junctions, cathodic protection devices, and cathodic protection lines, which together form an electric circuit.

Cathodic Protection System


Data management and analysis of cathodic protection systems was a challenge in legacy geospatial systems.  Entering the information has always been a straight forward process.  Maintaining an intelligent representation of the cathodic protection system has historically been the challenge.

With the utility network combined with the UPDM 2019 configuration, maintaining and analyzing a cathodic protection system is now an intuitive process. 


About This Blog Series

This blog article is the first of a three-part series explaining how the Esri ArcGIS platform with the Utility Network Management Extension and the Utility and Pipeline Data Model (UPDM) can be utilized to manage a digital representation of a cathodic protection system.  It is intended to provide GIS professionals and IT administrators with enough knowledge of how a cathodic protection system works to be able to correctly configure and deploy UPDM and the utility network.


The second blog article will go into detail on the configuration of UPDM to manage the components which makes up the cathodic protection system.


The third blog article will explain how the utility network uses its capabilities to model the cathodic protection system.

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

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