ArcGIS Pipeline Referencing (APR) is an extension to Esri’s ArcGIS platform that provides an event-based GIS, with native support for linear referenced systems (LRS), through standard Esri tools. APR allows pipeline operators to standardize data management and take advantage of established patterns for connecting this data with other business systems.


APR addresses many challenges pipeline operators have faced over the years. From consolidating multiple editing environments to providing a single solution that caters to gathering, midstream, transmission, and distribution assets, APR is enabling companies to get more from their investment in spatial data. Coupling this extension with the ArcGIS platform provides a level of integration and visibility previously unrealized in this space.

Why does it exist?

Linear referenced GIS exists across multiple industries, including roads and highways, pipelines, rail, and water/wastewater. While there are differences in how LRS is implemented within these industries, the core principles are the same: provide linear features representing the location of the asset to the Earth (the centerline); provide a standard method to reference features on the line (the linear referencing); and locate appurtenances to the line (the events).

Through the years, proprietary implementations of LRS systems have been built across many verticals. This has resulted in a complex and fragmented approach managing linear referenced data in a GIS. APR provides consolidation to this landscape, and lays the foundation for next-generation solutions.

What are the benefits to operators?

Operators stand to be the biggest benefactors of Esri providing a native pipeline referencing solution.

Standardization: With the history of divergent data model implementations in the pipeline space, operators are limited to software that supports their underlying LRS. APR is disrupting the status quo, and establishing a new baseline, ultimately allowing you to select the most effective solution for your needs, without the restriction of compatibility to your data model implementation.

Data Governance: The tight coupling of GIS and linear referencing benefits those relying on high-quality, accurate data. With the rise in GIS, and Esri driving the adoption, many GIS technicians and analysts are already knowledgeable in how to manage spatial data with Esri technology. Standardizing on APR provides operators with access to a broader range of technical staff that are capable of managing LRS data.

Consolidation: With APR, multiple linear referenced systems can be supported in the same model. Many operators manage assets across a large supply chain. Long-haul transmission lines have established patterns relying on engineering stationing, while those overseeing gathering and distribution assets tend to forgo true engineering stationing in lieu of routes and measures. Before APR, this meant implementing multiple data models, bringing with it varied methods for managing the data. Now you can consolidate: one system, one model, and one set of editors can manage all assets with the same tools.

What is UPDM (Utility and Pipeline Data Model) and how does it relate to APR?

UPDM is an accompanying data model to APR with a focus on unifying the implementation of vertically-focused operators. While UPDM provides an effective data repository, it is not the only data model compatible with APR. For example, the PODS Association is building the Next Generation model in compliance with APR. 

The question then becomes, what data model should you choose for your implementation? I will be following up this post with a deep dive into the many data models that are available, and hopefully I can help you make better sense of these options.

Why are we engaged in this conversation?

Latitude Geographics provides solutions to gathering, midstream, transmission, and distribution clients around the world. In the past year, we’ve seen a sharp rise in the number of operators implementing and embracing APR. Geocortex has been 100% compatible with every implementation we’ve worked on, providing immediate value for clients leveraging PODS and UPDM. 

With the release of powerful linear referenced toolsets, Geocortex can further your success with APR. Please reach out to for more information.