Our Insights

Configurable Facility ID Creation Using the Utility Network

August 7, 2018

by Robert Krisher
Senior Consultant at POWER Engineers

One of the greatest new features in the 10.6.1 release of ArcGIS is the ability for Arcade Expressions to call database sequences. This may sound like something nerdy your GIS admin would say (or maybe you’re that nerdy GIS admin). However, the practical implications are that all over the world, utilities can now delete hundreds of thousands of lines of custom code that were responsible for simply creating a unique identifier when a feature is placed. What follows is a brief example of how to get started with these new sequences. To follow this guide, you’ll need access to ArcGIS Pro and a 10.6.1 ArcGIS Enterprise database.


I have several types of features in my database that need new unique numbers generated for them as they are entered into the system. To start with, I want to make sure that every time a pad, manhole or other underground structure is placed in my database, it gets a unique identifier. Furthermore, I want each of these types of structures to have its own unique format (PAD-15, MH-21, etc.) that are numbered independently.


First, I will create three separate database sequences in my database called “UG_STRUCTURE_PAD”, “UG_STRUCT_MH”, and “UG_STRUCT_OTHER”. The documentation for creating database sequences can be found here: http://pro.arcgis.com/en/pro-app/tool-reference/data-management/create-database-sequence.htm

Screenshot of the three database sequences created

Second, I will create an Arcade Expression design that is called whenever an underground structure is placed. The documentation for how to call sequences in Arcade can be found here: https://developers.arcgis.com/arcade/function-reference/data_functions/#nextsequencevalue

Screenshot of the Expression Builder window

Next, I will assign this Arcade Expression to the appropriate table in my database. The documentation for adding attribute rules can be found here: http://pro.arcgis.com/en/pro-app/tool-reference/data-management/add-attribute-rule.htm.

Last, I need to test it!

Sreenshot of Python window when testing


With everything configured, I can now test out this new functionality.I sneak a copy of a plan for a new subdivision away from a nearby desk and decide to put in all the manholes, pads and pedestals into my test database. All my structures have been automatically numbered using nothing but a little configuration!

Screenshot of completed numbered structures



As you can see, Arcade Expressions are getting more powerful with every release. I expect that sometime in the next year, Esri will be adding enough new functionality that customers will be able to replace most custom code for validating and updating features with Arcade Expressions. I’ll be writing articles on this new functionality as it comes out, so every time you see my post about a new release, you can be sure I’m already writing my next article about all the great stuff it can do for you!

About the Author:

Robert is a Senior Consultant in POWER’s Geospatial and Asset Management group with over 10 years of industry experience. Robert excels at pushing the boundaries of what is possible with GIS and related technologies at utilities, often by repurposing proven technologies and methods in clever ways. As an active member of many early access programs across the industry and author of more than a dozen published articles, Robert is a recognized expert with Esri’s latest technology including ArcGIS Pro and the new Utility Network. He loves finding innovative solutions to complex challenges and sharing his insights with the GIS community. If you have any questions or comments for Robert, you can contact him at robert.krisher@powereng.com.