Quick look at Utility and Pipeline Data Model 2020

08-27-2020 06:58 AM
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Esri Regular Contributor
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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.

About the Author
Technical Lead for Natural Gas Industry at Esri