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Network Analysis Solution for ARCGIS 8x

By Priti Mathur, President, ARCBridge Consulting & Training Inc.

Earlier in the month of October 2003, Virginia-based ARCBridge Consulting and


Training Inc. (ARCBridge) released “NETSolv” a Network Analysis toolbox for
ESRI’s ArcGIS 8x. ARCBridge is an ESRI business partner and developer, offering
software products and services to the GIS community nationwide. CRIMESolv for
crime incident analysis, FIRESolv Net for fire department station service area analysis,
and FIRESolv Plan for fire incident analysis, are some of the other products developed
by ARCBridge that are currently in use by agencies like District of Columbia; Fairfax
County, Virginia; and Montgomery County, Maryland, among federal and local agencies
nationwide.

The release of NETSolv has in many ways come at a good time. There was a growing
demand for network analysis tools for ArcGIS and with the current hectic production
schedules; ESRI is not planning on a release until Version 9x. NETSolv can meet the
demands of many ArcGIS users that are seeking network analysis solutions similar to
the functionality that was available in ESRI’s Network Analyst for ArcView 3x.

NETSolv works within the ArcGIS environment as an extension. It offers comparable


functionality to ESRI’s Network Analyst. The purpose of this article is to compare the
functionalities of the two products so that users can evaluate the usability of
ARCBridge’s NETSolv.

The three main functionalities of NETSolv are:


• Best Route
• Closest Facility
• Service Area
Figure 1: Visual Comparison of ESRI Network Analyst and ARCBridge NETSolv *1

NETSolv comes with an installation program. The installation program creates a


shortcut on the Windows desktop. By Clicking on this icon, an instance of ArcMap is
initiated. ArcMap is loaded with a NETSolv menu providing access to all the above
functionality.

Fig. 2 - NETSolv Icon

Fig. 3 – NETSolv Menu


The Best Route Module:

NETSolv has the capability of deriving the best route on a network using time or
distance as a cost factor. The stops may exist as a shapefile, or can be picked graphically
using the Graphic Pick Tool.

Figure 4: Best Route options

An analyst can choose the user-defined order for stops option, select the sorted order
option, or define a closed route, meaning that the route must end at the original starting
point.

The system allows the user to change the order of stops, add stops, and delete stops.
Once a route is generated, the system is able to provide street-by-street driving directions
as well as a saveable text file.
Figure 5: Directions

Closest Facility Module:


The closest Facility Module determines the closest facility, or facilities, to an
event. This module needs a both facilities layer and the streets layer. The event
itself may be a shapefile containing a number of points, or a graphic pick for a
single point. The Closest Facility Module is able to determine either a selected
number of closest facilities to the event, and the corresponding best routes to get
to them, or the closest facility to a number of events. The closest facility route is
rendered by cost to visually display the closest facility or facilities. The system
also provides the directions to or from events.
Figure 6: Closest Facility Module

Service Area Module:

The Service Area Module requires the street network file and facilities file(s). A user
specifies a cost in either time or distance, and based on that parameter, the system selects
all the streets around the facilities which are within the specified cost, and color codes
them.

The result from the Service Area Module is two layers that are generated, selected streets
and the corresponding bounding polygons. The cost is defined in terms of time or
distance.
Figure 7 – Service Area Module

Create Nodes:
Network analysis requires a clean street network file with the nodes correctly numbered.
If the network files are not topologically correct, it is not possible to get an optimized
route . NETSolv, has a “Create Nodes” module that lets a user select this option to “re-
node” or re-number any given street file nodes. This option is equivalent to the Re-node
option available in Arc/Info.
Product Release & Availability Information:

NETSolv is ready for shipment in November 2003.

Address all trade inquiries to:

ARCBridge Consulting & Training Inc.


203 Elden Street
Suite 303
Herndon, Virginia 20170

Contact Gary Siorek, GIS Business Development Manager


Tel: 703-834-6511 ext. 127
Fax: 703-834-6514
Email: garys@arcbridge.com
Web: www.ARCBridge.com

ESRI, ArcView, ArcGIS, ArcMap, and Network Analyst are trademarks of Environmental Systems
Research Institute, Redlands, California.

NETSolv, CRIMESolv, FIRESolv Net, and FIRESolv Plan are trademarks of


ARCBridge Consulting and Training, Inc., Herndon, Virginia