The Evolving Local Government Information Model and its Impact on Water Utilities

In March 2017, we made changes to the Local Government Information Model and as a result we’ve received several questions from the water, wastewater and stormwater ArcGIS user community.  We thought it would be useful to answer some of your questions in a blog.

What Changed?

With the March 2017 ArcGIS Solutions release, the water, wastewater, and stormwater feature datasets (along with the associated feature classes, domains, tables, and relationships) were removed from the Local Government Information Model.  The feature datasets to support water, wastewater, and stormwater were moved into a series of geodatabases that are included with individual ArcGIS for Water Utilities configurations.

For example, LocalGovernment.gdb was removed from the Water Utility Network Editing and Analysis configuration and was replaced with WaterUtilities.gdb and RefrenceData.gdb.  WaterUtilities.gdb is structured with the schema to implement the configuration as-is and contains sample water, wastewater, and stormwater data.  ReferenceData.gdb contains sample base mapping data.

We also removed LocalGovernment.gdb from the Capital Improvement Planning configuration and replaced it with WaterUtilities.gdb and CapitalImprovementPlanning.gdb.  CapitalImprovementPlanning.gdb contains the schema to implement the configuration as-is with the Capital Planning Add-In.

A data dictionary for WaterUtilities.gdb has been published and is available here: http://solutions.arcgis.com/utilities/water/help/network-editing/DataDictionary/DataDictionary.Htm

If you compare the feature datasets in WaterUtilities.gdb now to the previous version of LocalGovernment.gdb you’ll notice that the feature datasets for water, wastewater, and stormwater are the same in both.  Also, it is important to note there was a vertical coordinate system added to WaterUtilities.gdb.

Why Did We Make This Change?

Before we cover the reasons for this change it is helpful to understand what the Local Government Information Model (commonly called the LGIM) is, the current state of ArcGIS deployments at water utilities and new capabilities for managing utility networks coming soon to ArcGIS.

The Local Government Information Model was designed to organize geographic information to help deploy the ArcGIS for Local Government and ArcGIS for Water Utilities configurations. Since many local governments operate water, wastewater, and stormwater systems, these utility networks were included in the LGIM when it was originally developed seven years ago.

The LGIM was never designed to be implemented “as-is” for local governments or water utilities. GIS professionals configure the LGIM schema to fit their unique organizational needs.  The LGIM is a living data model that changes as the ArcGIS platform evolves and new configurations are added to ArcGIS for Local Government and ArcGIS for Water Utilities.

The LGIM has historically been supplied as a geodatabase schema.  At the time of the LGIM’s inception, a geodatabase was the most popular way to store data in ArcGIS for local governments and water utilities.  Delivering the LGIM as a geodatabase also enabled Esri to create ArcGIS configurations that were easy to deploy for local governments and utilities.

With today’s popularity of hybrid Web GIS style implementations local governments and water utilities are frequently using both geodatabases and hosted feature services.  Some of the ArcGIS Solutions that Esri is releasing now use hosted feature services only and we are publishing service catalogs that can be cloned to create new hosted feature services. We also recently released the ArcGIS Solutions Deployment Tool to automate deployment of configurations that use hosted feature services.

Increasingly we hear from water utilities that they don’t use most of the schema included in the LGIM and are just using the parts of the schema for water, wastewater, and stormwater networks.  This seems to reflect the focused implementation of GIS to support the specialized operation of a water utility as opposed to the comprehensive nature of a centralized local government implementation that the LGIM supports.  Since we ship sample data with all our ArcGIS Solutions removing the sample data for the entire LGIM and just supplying sample data for water networks significantly reduces download sizes for water utilities.

When thinking about water, wastewater, and stormwater GIS it’s also important to consider the Utility Network, which is part of the new utility network management framework coming soon to ArcGIS.  The water, wastewater, and stormwater configurations Esri will supply for the Utility Network necessitate providing network dataset schema outside of the LGIM.  Removing water utility dataset from the LGIM now lays the foundation for continued development of ArcGIS Solutions that utilize the Utility Network.  You can learn more about the Utility Network by reading the Road Ahead for Network Management White Paper.

So, there were multiple reasons to remove the water, wastewater, and stormwater feature datasets from the LGIM:

  • Make implementations more modular.  The LGIM is designed to support the needs of a local government and has a many feature datasets that water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities were not using.
  • Make implementation of ArcGIS for Water Utilities configurations less complicated for water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities by providing a utility focused schema rather than a more comprehensive schema that can support an entire local government.  Water utilities that need some or the entirety of a local government schema can still download and use the LGIM as necessary.  Similarly, a local government that wants to support a water utility can use the WaterUtility.gdb schema as necessary.
  • Reduce download size of the ArcGIS for Water Utilities configurations by removing LGIM sample data.
  • Quicken Esri’s pace of development for ArcGIS for Water Utilities configurations.  Multiple Esri development teams building configurations around the LGIM meant considerable time spent coordinating and testing.
  • Laying the groundwork for the transition to the Utility Network.  As stated earlier, the nature of deploying industry specific configurations for the Utility Network would not allow us to include water, wastewater and stormwater schema in the LGIM.  This separation had to happen by the release of the Utility Network. By doing it now we can more easily pivot to developing ArcGIS for Water Utilities solutions that leverage the Utility Network.

How Does This Affect Current Water Utility Implementation that use the LGIM schema?

If you choose to update an existing ArcGIS Solution that you’ve already deployed, like Water Utility Network Editing and Analysis, you may have to do a small amount of additional configuration work.  Deployment instructions are now written for WaterUtilities.gdb, so you’ll have to do a little work to point to the appropriate features in your geodatabase.  The same concept applies if you choose to deploy a new ArcGIS Solution like Capital Improvement Planning.

What Should I do if I’m Doing a Data Conversion Now?

We recommend that you use the WaterUtilities.gdb schema as our documentation is now written for that approach.  Remember the water, wastewater, and stormwater feature datasets in the previous version of the LGIM are exactly the same as WaterUtilities.gdb at the March 2017 Solutions release.  Also, be aware that WaterUtilities.gdb has a vertical coordinate system assigned while the previous version of the LGIM did not.

Where do I get started today if I’m new to ArcGIS for Water Utilities?

If you are new to ArcGIS and want to configure it to manage water, wastewater or stormwater networks start with the WaterUtilities.gdb schema as our documentation is written for that approach.

Summary

We hope explaining this change and rationale behind it was beneficial.  If you have further questions we suggest you ask them in GeoNet.

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2 Comments

  1. jpacosta says:

    What dataset did the wLeaks featureclass move to? It use to be part of the InfrastructureOperations dataset, but I just viewed the latest data dictionary for the LGIM gdb and wLeaks no longer exist. It doesnt seem to be in the new water Utilities gdb either.