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My Four Favorite Features in ArcGIS Q1 Release — for ArcGIS Professionals (2 of 2)

June 19, 2019

By Robert Krisher
Senior GIS Consultant, POWER Engineers

The second of two articles on the latest release of ArcGIS, Esri’s mapping and analytics platform.

With the recent Q1 Release of ArcGIS, which includes ArcGIS Enterprise 10.7 and ArcGIS Pro 2.3.2, I wanted to recap some of the best new features that didn’t make the release notes but have added some major pieces of functionality to the platform. There were so many new features that I had to break up this article into two pieces.  You can find my first article here.

#1: Data Quality

Esri has been preparing for this mobilization of the Enterprise GIS by previously introducing many new tools and techniques for reviewing and validating data, including several mechanisms for configurable validation rules, the ability to persist errors between sessions and the introduction of “dirty areas” and “dirty subnetworks.” With the latest release of ArcGIS Pro, Esri has introduced the final piece of the puzzle, the Version Changes Tool.  This tool is a critical piece of most QA/QC workflows as it allows a user to see exactly which features and attributes have been edited, when, and by whom. The fact that this tool can be run at any point in time, against any version, and does not require the presence of “dirty areas” and “dirty subnetworks,” means it’s also an invaluable tool for administrators or for data reviewers who are responsible for performing a final review and approval that may occur hours or days after another user has performed all of the normal validation and QA/QC processes.  I’ve included a screenshot of the Version Changes tool below:

#2: Maintaining Legacy Maps

One of the biggest challenges with implementing the Utility Network has been the constraints it has placed on publishing services. This has made it difficult for many legacy applications and maps to interact with Utility Network features without significant modifications. Examples of these challenges  include integrating with asset management systems like Maximo or replicating maps that allow their users to separate data using attributes like install dates, different materials and manufacturers, or even to create special purpose maps like switch maps.

The new release of ArcGIS Enterprise finally includes some changes to the architecture that allows for services that support these capabilities. If the service does not need access to the new Utility Network feature service capabilities like creating versions or performing traces, you can now publish services that contain definition queries or have the same feature class represented multiple times. This is great news for many of us who have been working around these limitations in prior releases and even better news for all those organizations out there who have just started kicking off their upgrade projects.  The following screenshot shows a Utility Network service we’ve published to track construction station in our mobile applications. It includes multiple layers with definition queries, something that we couldn’t do before!

#3: Mobile Solutions

One of the major benefits of these new “Utility Network Lite” services is that they’ve made it much easier to publish services that allow users to edit Utility Network features in Collector. While we are still a few minor releases away from offline support for the Utility Network, this is still a huge leap forward for all the mobile Esri applications, whether you’re doing inspections with Survey123, field corrections with Collector, or incident response with Workforce.  The following screenshot shows the as built service shown in the previous section being used to capture proposed and under construction features in Collector for ArcGIS.

#4: Multiple Definition Queries

With the sudden influx of data from different sources, ArcGIS Pro 2.3 has overhauled the way that definition queries work. In previous releases, every layer showed a predetermined set of features. Changing them was a tedious operation. In the latest release, the administrator can define multiple definition queries for each layer. All the end user must do to change their view is to select their layer and change how they want to view it. It gets even better because Esri has also added functionality so that you can apply definition queries to multiple layers at the same time! This is a huge leap forward. There are several customizations I have written for ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro that are now replaced with this one feature. In the following example (and in every map I make from now on) I have definition queries set up on all my features (as shown in the graphic below) that allow me to toggle between showing all layers, only proposed features, and only as built features:

What Next?

The Q1 update to ArcGIS is one of the largest ArcGIS updates in recent memory and the next release is right around the corner! I can’t wait to see all the new functionality they announce at the user conference in July. If you’re in San Diego, I encourage you to drop by booth 312 in the utility section of the expo. I’d love to  know what you think. If you can’t make it to the conference, feel free to reach out to me if you have questions about ArcGISPro desktop, mobile or web applications.