With the recent production release of ESRI’s new Utility Network, many are wondering…”How do I get my data into a utility network”? This question is especially relevant for Smallworld customers. Well, with the upcoming initial release of EpochSync Pro, that question is now answered.
EpochSync Pro is a ground-up rewrite of Epoch Solution Group’s EpochSync software. This product has existed for a number of years and is used by Epoch’s customers to continuously (i.e., initial full data sync, and then only changes thereafter) bring their Smallworld data into an ArcGIS format to allow them to take full advantage of the ArcGIS suite of functionality (web and mobile being the prime drivers). It was created as a somewhat Smallworld-centric application…Smallworld data to ArcGIS data (and vice versa, in some instances), and was built using the ArcObjects API.
With the advent of the Utility Network, many utility customers are excited to get their data into a utility network model to take advantage of all the functionality that is not available out-of-the-box with a geometric network…functionality such as containments, structural attachments, non-geometric connectivity, and schematics, to name just a few. However, the Utility Network functionality is only accessible via ArcGIS Pro, so this has driven a re-think and re-architecture of the EpochSync approach, culminating in EpochSync Pro.
The software is architected much differently than EpochSync. The “middle tier” of EpochSync Pro is a C# application that is technology-agnostic. It encapsulates “connectors”, which are technology-dependent readers and writers for different data formats, and through an XML configuration file, allows for the mapping of data from one connector to another. Any given connector can be written as a reader, a writer, or both. The mapping allows for data transformations in the middle tier, which breaks a large part of the dependency on Magik development for data manipulation purposes when Smallworld is in the mix. The software also supports either full syncing or change-only syncing through the middle tier, provided the source connector supports change detection.
The initial release of EpochSync Pro is very functionality-focused, and so does not come with a user interface for performing the mappings (this is targeted for a future release).
Highlights of functionality included in the initial release include:
- ArcGIS Pro connector built using the ArcGIS Pro API (i.e. no ArcObjects). Read, write, and change detection support.
- Smallworld connector. It no longer uses the deprecated TICS module but instead uses the core Magik TCP/IP classes. Read and change detection support.
- Much of the Smallworld-centric configuration has been genericized and pulled into the middle tier. For example, where before the alternatives against which EpochSync worked were configured in Magik, they are now specified as ‘versions’ in the mapping file (as are ArcGIS versions).
- Plugin architecture for connectors. A C# developer can add custom connectors.
- Plugin architecture for middle-tier ‘transform’ classes. A C# developer can add custom middle-tier transform classes.
- Console application for running full initial syncs and delta processing only.
- The console also supports generation of data model reports and sample data viewing for configured connectors.
- Built-in ability to map to utility network containments, structural attachments, and non-geometric connectivity.
- For the initial population of utility network feature classes, the ability to write to the classes in a file geodatabase and write the attachment information to a text file, allowing the use of the ESRI-specified Append and Import Utility Network Attachment tools to get the initial set of data into the enterprise geodatabase utility network.
- For changes being written to a utility network, the ability to write directly via the services configured in an SDE file.
- As the ArcGIS Pro connector has both read and write capabilities, the ability to map from one ArcGIS database to another! This could allow, for instance, a continuous push of data from a geometric network set of feature classes to a utility network set of feature classes.
- The ability for the middle tier to run Smallworld directly, instead of having to manage it as a somewhat separate application.
- Mapping support for add-only field values and delete variants.
- Various built-in data transforms, including value maps.
This is just the initial release. While much of the future direction of EpochSync Pro will be based on customer feedback, items planned for future releases include:
- A user interface for creating and maintaining mapping files.
- More out-of-the-box middle-tier transforms.
- Smallworld write support.
- More connectors (e.g., Oracle Spatial).
- Data auditing and comparison between connectors based on mappings.
- Automated creation of target schemas based on source schemas/mappings.
Speak to your Epoch Solutions Group sales representative to find out how EpochSync Pro can help you take advantage of the ESRI Utility Network!