ArcGIS Enterprise 10.8.1 released July 2020

Unpacking what’s new in ArcGIS 10.8.1 for asset-intensive organisations

Michael Krome News & Announcements, Opinion

Esri recently announced the worldwide release of several new product versions including ArcGIS Enterprise 10.8.1 and ArcPro 2.6, which come packed with new features, stability enhancements, and improved functionality.

I see a variety of improvements around content and user administration, particularly for organisations actively developing their digital engineering capability, or those, like water utilities, who are considering their asset data model future. In this post, I’d like to share the highlights of this latest ArcGIS release and related products as we see them for our clients where GIS and asset management go hand-in-hand.

Firstly, this update builds on the recent changes to the User Type licensing model . ArcGIS Enterprise 10.8.1 offers enhancements at both the server level as well as user interface level. It is also a “Long-Term Support” version, which means Esri will provide six years of product life support and four years of patches & updates. Unlike the intervening “Short-term Support” versions, this makes 10.8.1 a good choice for longer-term support and stability.  

Portal for ArcGIS

At the heart of the ArcGIS Enterprise solution is Portal for ArcGIS, which has some key enhancements released in version 10.8.1.  The GIS Administrator’s first impression will be the redesigned user experience. Portal now offers a more consistent look and feel that aligns with the rest of the Enterprise suite when viewing and editing user account settings. 

The new version also supports default licenses and groups, allowing new users to be added based upon rules based user types and roles, as well as default add-on licenses assigned to the group.

Version 10.8.1 also has a new function for versioned editing management, where Portal members can be assigned new privileges to manage branch version locks and view, edit and delete branch-versioned data in ArcGIS Server feature services.  The benefit of this is that users can be assigned “Version Administration” permissions but do not need to be Portal Administrators to do so.  e.g. Subject matter experts.

Possibly the biggest game changer functionality released in Portal 10.8.1 is the “Migration Tool” which allows content from groups to be migrated between multiple ArcGIS Enterprise Portals.  This allows web applications, associated web maps and hosted feature layers to be exported through the portal’s REST API endpoint, which can then be imported into a second portal environment.

This is a fantastic feature if you are uplifting content from the DEV to TEST to PROD environments, with a minimum of fuss.

New tools provide the ability to migrate content between groups in different ArcGIS Enterprise Portals

New tools provide the ability to migrate content between groups in different ArcGIS Enterprise Portals


I’d like to dive into a few of the key topics that we feel will particularly benefit our asset-rich clients, and share our thoughts on how and when to bring this innovation into your organisation:-

Trace Network Solution

With ArcGIS Pro v2.6, Esri have released the Trace Network solution, to meet the needs of the traditional geometric network users who’s assets dont need the detail and complexity of the utility network.  New functionality in ArcGIS Pro offers the functionality to simply convert Geometric Networks to the Trace Network allowing organisations to transition from the ArcMap Geometric Network technology to ArcGIS Pro Trace Network.

The big question we are often asked is “Can we operate our asset network like water / wastewater in the new Trace Network?” 

Unfortunately for our utility clients, the Trace Network solution is designed around simple linear networks such as waterway streams or railways. It does not support more complex utility networks that have relationships between pipes and point assets, like valves and hydrants. 

If your workflows require interactions between numerous assets, such as network isolation traces, then you really need to plan for the Utility Network Model. We’ll be exploring this topic in more detail in future blog posts.

How do I start planning my migration to Utility Network Model? 

Due to the complexities of not only changing database schemas and GIS tools, Clarita offers a Pilot Project to help identify the integration, workflow and user impacts of the change.  If this is of interest, please contact us for an obligation free discussion on how to go forward.

ArcGIS Pipeline Referencing

For our pipelining clients, Esri’s upgrades to the Pipeline Referencing solution will be of interest, including new tools and capabilities to support intersections and the ability to view and configure Linear Referencing System (LRS) hierarchies.  

Enhancements include new functionality to generate and configure intersection feature classes in ArcGIS Pro.  Unlike the ArcMap extension, ArcGIS Pro generates only one intersection point at each pipeline intersection location, simplifying how to manage your assets represented in GIS.

Desktop users can now view the hierarchy in the LRS dataset using the Catalog pane to determine which types of networks exist in your LRS and which events are associated with each network.

These new capabilities within ArcGIS Pro provide full equivalency with the Pipeline Referencing capabilities within ArcMap. Esri have just announced the ArcMap extension for Pipeline Referencing has now been deprecated and all users should start transitioning to ArcGIS Pro technology.

Digital Engineering – Built Information Model (BIM)

Over the past two years, Esri has been building upon their partnership with AutoDesk to enable more seamless interactions between GIS and BIM.  With the recent release of ArcGIS Pro ver 2.6, this has been extended with some new functionality being made available:-

  • GIS can present Textures and colours read natively from BIM model files
  • BIM360 – cloud storage integration with ArcGIS Pro
  • Users can now edit directly into BIM files stored locally or in BIM360
  • AutoCAD CIVIL3D data can be imported natively which offers the opportunity to seamelssly convert new asset records from CAD to a GeoDatabase or Utility Network

For more details on how to incorporate your new assets coming from BIM into your Asset Ecosystem (GIS and EAM), we are more than happy to provide further insight into some of the innovative projects currently underway with our existing clients.

Looking to Upgrade?

Contact Clarita's location team for advice and support.