Utility Network: Simplify Enterprise Business Processes

Simplifying Editing Workflows Using Out-of-the-Box Tools

One of the benefits of implementing Esri’s Utility Network is the extensive set of tools and workflows it provides to efficiently create and update data. My Critigen project team is working with a large enterprise client to help them take advantage of these capabilities. We are also configuring a service-based synchronization between the enterprise GIS and the client’s work order management system to view common assets and work orders.

For editing, we configured functionality in ArcGIS Pro to eliminate waste and “mistake-proof” the information at the point of entry. Additionally, we configured Utility Network rules to validate the network topology after spatial edits have been completed.

Our approach includes using out-of-the-box tools such as feature templates and attribute rules to simplify editing workflows and couple them with Python scripting. By doing this, we were able to eliminate errors at the point of data entry, reduce much of the “busy work” of manual attribute updates, and automatically populate key fields required for the work order system integration. In this post, we’ll outline the three key elements of this approach.

  1. Feature Templates
  2. Attribute Rules
  3. Python Automation

Simplified and Repeatable Editing Processes Using Feature Templates

To create a feature, a user selects one of the predefined templates stored in their ArcGIS Pro Project. These templates house all the information that is required for the feature being created. Furthermore, the template has default values that are stored and will be populated when the feature is committed to the database.

Once the user has placed their asset, they can view and confirm all the pre-defined values in the attribute table. Additionally, these templates can be saved as layer files and shared across the enterprise to ensure data entry standardization across the organization.

Enhanced Data Quality with Attribute Rules

At the database level, attribute rules were leveraged to populate mandatory fields for the work order management system. These rules are hidden to the end user but automatically populate attributes based on updates, inserts or a combination thereof. From an end user’s perspective, the only action they need to take is to place the asset in the proper location.

These rules will then automatically populate the attributes and will not impede other points of data entry during an editing session. For example, when adding assets, a rule was built to add the next sequential asset identification number, concatenate address fields and calculate X and Y coordinates.

Streamlined Workflows with Python Automation

The final piece to the updated workflow was combining custom Python scripting on-top of the attribute rules. These scripts were developed to calculate attributes and perform spatial modifications whenever a user edits a record. One example of this automation tells the work order management system that there is a needed update to the system.

The script will look for features where the required update field is set to “yes” which informs the work order management system that there are updated or new records to be synced. These behind-the-scenes prompts and scripting processes are the key components to the database synchronization which guarantees data created in GIS is accessible in the work order system.

Maximizing Potential Value

Simplifying the enterprise is about maximizing potential value with less and eliminating waste in the process. By mistake-proofing their data at the point of entry, our clients are spending less time reviewing inaccurate data, making more cost-effective decisions and ensuring that their work order management system is always in sync with their enterprise GIS.

Like this post? Check out more from our series about using and maintaining the Esri Utility Network for gas: