As I’m sure you’ve been reminded of at least a few dozen times, Esri’s new data model for managing utility and telecom networks has arrived. There are a lot of changes that come with this new data model, many of which have been highlighted in other articles by Esri and Esri Partners. Essentially, the Utility Network is a data model change that will allow for network modeling, connectivity, containment and attachments of assets as well as web service support.
As a company focused on data integrity and integration between Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) systems, we have received a lot of questions about how integration will be impacted by this data model change. The short answer is, unless you have a fully supported product that is compatible with the Utility Network (like GeoWorx Sync), your integration will break.
That being said, there is a lot to consider when it comes to existing integrations and your upgrade. Even if you do not plan to upgrade right away, there are a few things you should start to contemplate. We’ve put together a list to help you get started.
The good news? You have some time to plan. Esri has announced that they will continue to support the geometric network until January 1, 2024.
3 Things to Consider Regarding Integration as You Plan Your Upgrade to the Utility Network:
1. Consider Enterprise Grade Integration Products VS Bespoke Solutions
If you have a fully supported product for integration, like GeoWorx Sync, you will experience minimal impacts when it comes to implementing the new Utility Network. Before purchasing a solution, check to make sure that the solution will remain up-to-date with the current versions of both Esri and the system you wish to integrate with. Custom solutions as well as many vendor solutions will require extensive enhancements to become compatible with the Utility Network Model, and that ends up coming out of your pocket.
2. Decide How You Want to Leverage Associations in Your Integration
Since the Utility Network is an entirely different data model, there are new opportunities to consider when you think about integration. For example, you will have the opportunity to leverage associations. Associations allow you to model relationships and possible connectivity between features that are not geometrically coincident. This will enable you to model the structural support of assets (transformer attached to a pole) as well as features encased within another feature (transformer contained in the bank).
3. Find a Good Partner
In order to ensure you are prepared for the transition to the Utility Network, and all of its impacts – including integration – it is important to seek out the right resources. There are many companies that specialize in GIS Strategic Planning and can help analyze your current state, plan for the Utility Network, and even help you make the transition.
As a fully supported, productized solution, GeoWorx Sync supports the latest and greatest when it comes to Esri and EAM technology, so you don’t have to worry about upgrades. Furthermore, GeoWorx Sync has already added support for associations, so when you’re ready to take advantage of what the Utility Network has to offer, our solution is ready for you. Finally, although we do not specialize in GIS Strategic Planning, we’ve been in the industry long enough to have some great partner organizations that we can recommend. Feel free to reach out if you have questions concerning integration or are looking for someone who can help plan your move to the Utility Network.