Over the last several weeks and while at the Esri UC, one significant and common question has been at the forefront of my thoughts … it is in regards to using ArcGIS Pro without the Utility Network! I believe people are seeing the possible change management involved when migrating from ArcGIS Desktop and the Geometric Network to ArcGIS Pro and the Utility Network, and are looking into getting prepared early. I have to say, it is exciting for me to learn that customers are willing to test ArcGIS Pro and get a head start on the learning process. However, the follow-up question I receive is, "How, Juul? I’m not ready for the utility network just yet, so is it currently possible to test ArcGIS Pro with my ArcFM data? And If so, how is that achieved?"
Well, I have good news for you testers: this is indeed possible!
Here are a few methods that can be implemented to do just that:
- Feature Services
- Direct SDE Connection
Before we continue, following are two items that might be beneficial for you to know in regards to ArcGIS Pro:
- ArcGIS Pro encourages editing through a feature service.
- This is true for editing within the Utility Network as well. While direct SDE connections are possible, the Utility Network editing functionality will only be fully supported through a feature service in Portal for ArcGIS, which leads to the next point.
- ArcGIS Pro does not contain built-in Geometric Network editing functionality.
- Direct Geometric Network editing through an SDE connection is not supported within ArcGIS Pro. Instead, ArcGIS Pro’s network tools are completely built around the Utility Network Editing.
Acknowledging and understanding those principles are the key to understanding the bridge between the Geometric Network and Utility Network. So, what were those methods I mentioned earlier, specifically in relation to ArcFM?
- ArcGIS Pro can view ArcFM data through an SDE Connection.
- This can be achieved by installing ArcGIS Pro on the same machine that contains ArcGIS Server and either ArcFM Server or ArcFM Object Reader 64bit. Note, though, that this setup is for testing only, and just “works.” I personally have run some analysis tools, made field changes, and created map packages. In theory, the Object Reader should provide the same viewing experience as in later versions of ArcMap.
- ArcGIS Pro can edit ArcFM data through a feature service with ArcFM Server.
- Feature services with the ArcFM Server Extension are supported within ArcGIS Pro. As with any feature service, all the REST requests from ArcGIS Pro are operated by ArcGIS for Server.
What would such a deployment look like?
- Create a map (or use an existing Stored Display) with ArcFM data in ArcMap.
- Publish it to an ArcGIS Server that contains the ArcFM Server SOE.
- Enable the Feature Access and ArcFMMapServer capabilities.
- Add the Feature Service to Portal for ArcGIS as an item.
- Add it to your ArcGIS Pro project.
As a summation to these methods, they do have limitations. For example, your stored displays, snapping configuration, or other familiar tools will not show up within ArcGIS Pro. These methods are only provided to assist you in becoming familiar with ArcGIS Pro. However, I encourage you to try ArcGIS Pro for yourselves. It can be quite fun!
As you might have surmised thus far, ArcFM as it is today at 10.2.1d is not going to be the same in ArcGIS Pro. The ArcGIS Pro solution you are going to need is ArcFM Editor XI! It is specifically designed for the Utility Network in ArcGIS Pro to solve utility editing problems. To get a head start, I would encourage you to try and test the Utility Network Beta. Get the requirements (Portal for ArcGIS 10.5 and ArcGIS Pro 1.4) and submit a request to your Esri account manager. From a data perspective, the data migration poses a significant task due to the high fidelity requirements of the Utility Network. Furthermore, from my experience within the support group, I can say that data model requirements will be unique for most of our customers. There will also be configuration required, such as data model mapping, terminals, custom propagators, specific connectivity validation rules, attribute rules, and more. However, once you have migrated a subset (or all) of your data into the Utility Network, all native ArcGIS Pro and future ArcFM Editor XI Tools operate as designed. Furthermore, if you are ready to test with the Utility Network in ArcGIS Pro, we are launching our ArcFM Editor XI Alpha program to collect your feedback. More information will be posted on the Alpha program soon, so stay tuned!