Style Files :: Water and Storm Sewer products for ArcGIS Integration and Advanced Discussion

One concept that I’ve had a lot of users ask about is how they can get WaterGEMS or SewerGEMS for ArcMap to use the same element symbology that we have in standalone. Normally, when you load a model file in WaterGEMS or SewerGEMS for ArcMap the pipes, pumps, junctions, valves, tanks, etc… come in with default ArcMap symbology, such as a 12 point size purple circle to represent junctions or a 2 point width blue line for pipes, which tends to look generic and boring. In ArcMap, cartographers or most users want a way to distinguish points so they can be visually identified for what they represent in reality. In the WaterGEMS and SewerGEMS products we give you a way to do that by utilizing previously created ArcMap style files that are located in the program files folder for each application (ex. “C:\Program Files (x86)\Bentley\WaterGEMS”). There is a process that can be applied to have the style files autopopulate the WaterGEMS or SewerGEMS layers that populate the table of contents when a new file or existing file is opened.  The concept behind having the layers autopopulate when you open a file is simple. All that needs to be done is when you create your style in the style manager you make sure to give the style layer the same name the layer will have in the table of contents. For WaterGEMs and SewerGEMS these names or labels are already pre-determined because they are named in the product’s database file.

If you don’t like the styles that we offer though you can make your own file. A Google search using “create a style file in ArcGIS” will return results. For me the fun part comes next when you have to find the picture that you’d like to use for the symbology, choose a program to create the icon in, then import the icon into ArcMap to size and construct the layer’s style. One free program that I’ve personally tried is a web tool called ico convert ( It’s 5 simple steps and the icon is created for you. If you’re looking for something more advanced you use one of the Adobe products like Illustrator or Photoshop or try a freeware product like GIMP, which is similar to Adobe Photoshop.  There are a few ideas that immediately come to my mind here like using an actual image from the field to represent a tank or manufacturers pictures to represent valves. You could get as creative as you like here, but this is concept that can be applied to make a good piece for a presentation that can be presented to a client or submitted to at a conference, such as Bentley’s Annual “Year in Infrastructure”, which this year happens to be hosted in London from November 1-3rd. (That was an easy plug for our conference, which I couldn’t resist.) I hope this helps with your future water modeling and if you have any comments on the article please feel free to post them in the comments section below. If you have a topic for discussion, please create a new post on our forum and I’ll be glad to discuss it in more detail there.

The screen shot below is an example of a stylized WaterGEMS model using the style file located in the WaterGEMS program files folder.