ESRI ArcMap tools for cable placement

The Editor Toolbar is essential for creating or editing features in your network. The default tools on the toolbar are the bare-bones possibilities available to you. There are actually around 100 tools nested under the Editor toolbar in the Customize window. Below are a few that we believe can help improve the precision of cable placement within your network. 

There are two ways to access the Customize window:

1. Click on Customize in the main menu > Customize Mode 


2. On the far right end of the toolbar itself is a small black down-arrow on a dark gray tab. Click on this to bring up the Customize button. Click to open the Customize window. 

In the Customize window > select the Commands tab > scroll down the Categories list on the right side panel to Editor > scroll down the Commands on the left side panel to view all the tools nested under the Editor toolbar. 

To move a tool to the toolbar for quick access simply select it from the Commands panel and drag it up to a position on the toolbar. It can be attached to any toolbar or you can create a new toolbar if that is preferred.  


Editing Cables:

Disconnect - especially useful when editing feature classes participating in a geometric network, such as splice point and cables within the CrescentLink geodatabase. This tool removes the connection properties of a point from a line or a line from another line to safely move or delete one without affecting the other. 

Split - Just as it implies, this tool will split one line into two. The Start and End vertices should remain the same. This functions the same as when a new splice point is created on a cable. 

Merge - Mostly useful during a data conversion when line features may be unintentionally split into multiple parts while importing into the geodatabase format (especially true with the CAD to GIS conversion). During the process the user will need to select a target feature that contains the preferred attributes for the merge. It’s possible that the start and end vertices will switch depending on which feature was selected as the target. It may be useful to Disconnect splice points from cable segments before the merge to prevent them from moving if the endpoints switch.

Note: The Merge tool is located in the Editor Toolbar drop-down menu. The features to be merged should be the ONLY ones selected. The CrescentLink gdb does not allow multi-part features. (a feature that has several parts that do not connect).



Creating Cable Methods:

Setup Note:  If the sdm_Cable feature class participates in a Geometric Network, such as sdm_gnSDM, it will only be able to accept new features in an editing session if the Data Frame that you are working in has the same Coordinate System as the feature classes participating in the Geometric Network. If the Coordinate Systems are misaligned then the Create Features template will not be visible for sdm_Cable. 

Manual Digitizing - The most basic method of creating a cable feature uses the cursor to click and drop the cable. This manual digitizing approach requires the user to be signed-in with their CrescentLink credentials and to have selected the Start Editing option in the Editor drop-down menu. Navigate to the Create Features window and select the template with a line symbol under the Cable feature name. Click in the map to place the start point. Next, a single-click will place a segment vertex that enables you to change directions along the line feature. Once the end point is reached double-click to place the terminating vertex.

Trace - When creating networks where multiple cables run along the same path its useful to offset them visually in ArcMap. The Trace tool creates a cable at a preferred distance from an adjacent cable.

Select cable from the Create Features window > select Trace button > right-click and open Trace Options window > enter preferred offset > hover the mouse over a cable in the map to be traced > click once to start the trace moving the mouse over the desired length > double-click to end trace and complete the creation of the new cable feature. Note: “Trace selected features” option limits the trace to only the length of any selected feature.

An alternate method to trace is found by right-clicking on the cable that will be traced (red dashed) while currently creating a new cable (blue dashed). The drawback to this option is that it only works between vertices of the existing cable. 


Copy Parallel - This tool works very similarly to the Trace tool except it copies a segment exactly. The length, vertices, and attributes will be copied, as well. 


Working with Segments:

Arc Segment and Bezier Curve Segment: These tools are very similar to the Adobe Illustrator pen tool. The Arc Segment tool creates a curve between to vertices that follows along the circumference of a circle. The Bezier Curve Segment tool creates a curve to the user’s discretion instead of along the arc of a circle. After the feature is created the Bezier curve can be edited by moving the handles attached to vertices. Some vertices will have two joined handles. To move only one of them hold the Ctrl key while clicking and moving it with the mouse. 

To use the segment tools:

1. select cable from the Create Features window

2. click on the Arc Segment tool

3. click on the map once to start the line

4. click a second time at the desired mid or endpoint location

5. move the mouse to adjust the curve

6. click once to begin the next part of the segment. At this time its possible to change the segment type between the vertices. 

7. double click to finish sketch.

Editing Shortcut: While editing a cable > right-click on a segment > select Change Segment. 

Some other options are the Straight Segment, which is the default, the Tangent tool creates a curve opposite of the last segment (aerial cables), and the Right Angle tool creates a segment exactly at 90 degrees from the previous segment.  

See also, esri's list of Keyboard Shortcuts that can be used while editing.

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