Ways to edit network datasets

Once a network dataset is built, it can be edited. The following list provides some examples of ways you can edit the network dataset:

Changes to the schema of the network datset are made in the Network Dataset Properties dialog box.

The Network Dataset Properties dialog box

In addition to the changes in the schema of the network, the basic network can be edited by editing its sources. If a new road has been added, creating a new feature in the streets source and rebuilding the network will ensure that the network dataset is updated. If the speed limit field value on certain roads has changed and that affects the travel_time network attribute, rebuilding the network will ensure that the correct values for travel_time are stored for the roads in question.


It isn't possible to rename the source feature classes of a network dataset. If renaming them is required, you need to delete the network dataset, rename the feature classes, and re-create the network dataset.

Editing source features

Since network elements are created from features of network sources, all edits must be made to the sources.

Once the source features are edited, the network should be built to incorporate the changes. ArcGIS uses dirty areas to track the parts of the network dataset that need to be built due to edits. Dirty areas serve various purposes, including the following:

You can view any dirty areas using ArcMap or ArcCatalog.

Dirty areas appear as rectangles and, by default, have purple outlines with purple hatching inside.

Editing source features in an ArcSDE geodatabase

Data must be registered as versioned if you plan to edit the source features of a network dataset that is stored in an ArcSDE geodatabase. As with any source-feature edits you make, they will eventually need to be built into the network dataset. In a multiuser environment, dirty areas function as part of the mechanism for resolving conflicting edits and make it possible to version network dataset data.

If you are familiar with dirty areas in versioned topologies, the concept of dirty areas in versioned network datasets is similar.

Learn more about dirty areas and versioning of network datasets

Prior to ArcGIS 10, network datasets didn't support dirty areas or versioning. For this reason, you could edit source features with or without registering the data as versioned. With the release of ArcGIS 10, however, this changed, and now source features must be registered as versioned before they can be edited.

Copying network datasets

In ArcCatalog or the Catalog window of ArcMap, you can copy and paste a geodatabase-based network dataset from a feature dataset into another feature dataset with the same spatial reference. All feature classes that participate in the network dataset are also copied over. The new network dataset must be built before it can be used.

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