A utility network is the main component users will work with when managing utility and telecom networks in ArcGIS. Combined with a service-based transaction model, attribute rules, editing tools, and more, it allows users to completely model and analyze their complex network systems for water, gas, electric, telecom, sewer, storm water, and other utilities. If you're new to ArcGIS Pro, see the Introducing ArcGIS Pro tutorial for a good entry point to help improve your skills and build a basic proficiency with ArcGIS Pro and its ribbon-based architecture. In this section, you will take the next step and explore the Utility Network tab and how you will be using it in this exercise.

Explore the Utility Network tab

When you open a map in ArcGIS Pro, it displays utility network layers in the Contents pane using the List by Drawing Order view. The electric data model you are using is a simple network deploying a standard data model composed of subtype group layers.

  1. In the Contents pane, if necessary, expand the Getting to Know map, and expand Electric Distribution Device.

    Instead of working with a large number of individual feature classes listed in the Contents pane, the utility network deploys a classification model using subtypes and attribute domains. In addition, composite layers are used to group related layers on the map. Composite layers function more efficiently than individual layers, as the group is handled in a single call made to the data source instead of separate calls for each individual layer. Panning, zooming, and editing operations are executed more efficiently this way.

  2. On the Utility Network ribbon, click the Data tab.

    The Utility Network tab

    The Utility Network tab provides a ribbon that is available any time a utility network is displayed in the Contents pane of an active map. This ribbon contains an associated Data tab that provides all the tools and commands needed to execute utility network workflows.

  3. On the Utility Network tab, identify and review the Network Topology group.

    Network Topology group

    In this lesson, you'll use the Validate tool in the Network Topology group to validate the network topology after making edits, and you'll use the Terminal Connections tool to modify the terminal configuration of transformers connecting to Low Voltage Conductors.

  4. Identify and review the Associations group.

    Associations group

    In the Associations group, you'll use the Modify tool to access the Modify Associations pane and manage connectivity, attachment, and containment associations between utility network features.

    The Enter Containment and Exit Containment tools are used to work with containers and create features that are set as content. The View tool turns on View Associations mode and allows you to visualize the associations with which you will be working.

  5. Identify and review the Tools group.

    Tools group

    The Tools group provides access to the Trace Locations pane and trace gallery. You'll use the Trace Locations pane to place starting points to run a Connected and Subnetwork trace.

  6. Identify and review the Selection group.

    Selection group

    You'll use the Selection group when working with network diagrams to propagate selections between diagrams and maps using the Apply to Maps and Apply to Diagrams commands.

  7. Identify and review the Diagram group.

    Diagram group

    The Diagram group enables the creation of network diagrams and provides tools for interaction with diagrams. You'll use the New and Find commands to create and locate the diagrams created during your exploration.

  8. Identify and review the Subnetwork group.

    Subnetwork group

    You'll use the Modify Controller command in the Subnetwork group to access the Modify Subnetwork Controller pane. In the pane, you will select a circuit breaker to serve as a subnetwork controller before executing the Update Subnetwork geoprocessing tool to update the circuit.


Additional tools used for such tasks as creating, configuring, and managing a utility network such as Update Subnetwork are located in the Utility Network toolbox.

Explore the project data and the utility network data model

Next, review the subtypes for a layer and investigate the composite layers comprising the utility network data model.

  1. In the Contents pane, if necessary, expand the Getting to Know map, and expand Electric Distribution Device to view its asset group.

    Electric Distribution Device group layer

  2. In the Contents pane, right-click Electric Distribution Device, select Design, and choose Subtypes.

    The Subtypes view opens.

    Subtypes view


    The utility network has a streamlined data model that uses subtypes and domains. These composite layers allows you to work with multiple subtypes as if they are one distinct layer in the map. The Subtypes view provides access to the various subtypes and associated default values and domains used by asset groups and asset types to classify network data.

  3. Review the Subtypes view.

    Note the schema for Electric Distribution Device as well as the AssetGroup subtype field. The AssetGroup and AssetType fields are part of the default schema for network feature classes. AssetGroup is preceded by an asterisk (*), denoting it as the subtype field. In this example, the individual subtypes for AssetGroup are identified as Fuse, Generation, Service Point, and so on.

    Explore subtypes.

    The AssetGroup subtype is used to provide a simple and scalable method for classification of your utility network features, leading to fewer calls to the database, improving performance and visualization. Instead of storing each asset type as an individual feature class, the subtype structure allows you to use a single layer, such as Electric Distribution Device, to access a wide range of devices classified using subtypes.

    Learn more about utility feature classification


    When you begin creating and placing features, you will notice that the feature templates used for editing are based on asset group subtype categories and use the default values established for each layer in the Subtype view. In the Create Features pane, on the active template, click the forward arrow to display the feature attribute table to modify attributes.

    The editing process can be simplified by setting common attribute values for features when using the feature template.

  4. Close the Subtypes view.
  5. In the Contents pane, expand all the other feature classes to show their asset groups.

    Note that each feature class is symbolized by asset group.

  6. Review the asset layers that comprise your utility network.

With the utility network data model, each domain network contains only five feature classes and a structure network consisting of three feature classes.

In this example, the Domain network consists of the following assets:

  • Electric Distribution Device
  • Electric Distribution Junction
  • Electric Distribution Assembly
  • Electric Distribution Line
  • Electric Distribution SubnetLine

Learn more about domain networks

Domain network assets

The Structure network consists of the following feature classes:

  • StructureJunction
  • StructureLine
  • StructureBoundary

Learn more about structure networks

Structure network assets


Other domain networks that model items such as Electric Transmission or Gas Distribution, also contain only five feature classes and share the same structure network.

Network topology and dirty areas

Topology provides a mechanism to perform integrity checks on your data using a collection of rules and helps you validate and maintain feature representations and accurately model spatial relationships between features.

Every utility network has a network topology. If you’ve worked with a geodatabase topology, the function is similar. However, the network topology is unique to network datasets such as the utility network.

The role of a network topology is to manage information about features and maintain their connectivity. This is the mechanism that allows tracing and diagram functions to read and process information about the network in an efficient manner (as opposed to retrieving information directly from features in a network).

Network topology has two states: enabled or disabled. When enabled, changes to the network connectivity and features are updated in the network topology and displayed as a dirty areas. When disabled, a single dirty area comprising the extent of your service territory is displayed and validated when topology is enabled.

  1. In the Contents pane, locate and review the Utility Network sublayers.

    Utility network topology layers

    Error features are generated by the system when features in the utility network are in violation of network rules or restrictions. When identified, error features can be inspected for correction and and removed when network topology is validated or enabled.

    Learn more about error features

  2. Review and note the Dirty Areas sublayer.

    Dirty areas and error features are displayed as sublayers of the utility network in the Contents pane and can be worked with in a similar manner to other map layers. You will learn more about dirty areas as you begin placing features but will not have to interact with error features as part of this scenario.


    Dirty areas identify modified features on a map and serve as flags where edits have been made against features, associations, and network attributes. Validation is used to remove dirty areas and generate error features.

    Next, you’ll explore the properties of the utility network and turn on visibility for the Dirty Areas sublayer in the Contents pane and review the properties for the utility network. The network properties can be accessed in both the Contents and Catalog panes by right-clicking the utility network layer.

  3. If necessary, collapse group layers in the Contents pane.

    To expand or contract multiple layers at once, press the Ctrl key while selecting the layers in the Contents pane and click an expansion control.

  4. In the Contents pane, check Dirty Areas to turn on the display.

    Topology Dirty Areas

  5. Right-click the GettingtoKnow Utility Network layer and choose Properties.

    Topology properties

    The Layer Properties dialog box appears.

  6. In the Layer Properties dialog box, click the Network Properties tab.

    Utility Network Properties

    The Network Properties dialog is a centralized location to view information about the current state and configuration of the utility network. As you work with your utility network, any changes you make are reflected here.

  7. In the Network Properties pane, expand and review the various sections of network properties.

    The pane provides access to general information on the network creation date, details on the current state of the network topology, and configuration of the domain and structure networks.

    This is also where the rules, network attributes, and their assignments and current configuration metadata of the utility network are recorded. Network rules dictate which features can be connected or associated.

    There are five types of network rules:

    • Junction-Edge Connectivity (geometric coincidence)
    • Edge-Junction-Edge Connectivity (geometric coincidence)
    • Junction-Junction Connectivity Associations
    • Structural Attachment Associations
    • Containment Associations

    These rules are imposed at the feature class level for specific asset groups and asset types. Since these are stored at the utility network level, features can connect and associate across different domain networks if desired.

    In a utility network, features can connect and associate as long as feature restrictions are respected and network rules exist to allow such relationships. You'll use the Junction-Edge Connectivity rule as an example.


    For easier viewing, double-click Layer Properties: GettingToKnow Utility Network to expand the dialog box.

  8. In the dialog box, expand Rules, and expand Junction-Edge Connectivity.

    Review network topology rules.

    A table of rules governing connectivity between junction and edge features in your utility network appears. These rules were created for the Electric Distribution domain network during initial configuration of the utility network by your administrator or consultant, based on the organization's business needs. However, you can create, delete, or modify the set of rules using the Add Rule and Delete Rule geoprocessing tools.

  9. In the Junction-Edge Connectivity rules list, click Sort By and choose From Class/Asset Group/Asset Type Descending.

    Sort network rules.

    The rules list updates to display rules in descending order.

  10. In the sorted Junction-Edge Connectivity rules table, scroll to review rules in the following scenarios:

    • The From Class is identified as ElectricDistributionJunction.
    • The From Asset Group is identified as Connection Point.
    • The To Class is identified as ElectricDistributionLine.
    • The To Asset Group is identified as Medium Voltage.
    • The To Asset Type is identified as Single Phase Overhead.

    This rule is identified with an ID of 482.

    Identify a junction edge rule.

    Without this rule configured, it would not be possible to connect the Single Phase Overhead Medium Voltage lines with Connection Point features. Features with a different Asset Group and Asset Type field always require a rule to connect.

  11. Review additional connectivity rules.
  12. When you're finished, in the Layer Properties pane, click OK.

In addition to configuring rules, your administrator or consultant has enabled the network topology. This will allow you to start editing new network features to explore the utility network’s capabilities.