A geographic information system (GIS) displays features in their real-world positions, and feature coordinates are described by a coordinate system. You can't control where features are placed in relation to one another, since this is determined by their real-world locations. Often in a networked system, such as those used by a distribution utility, it is more important to know what devices are upstream and downstream of one another rather than how far apart they are. In such cases, a layout that emphasizes connectivity, rather than positional accuracy, is preferred.
Schematics is a way to display a network so the connectivity of the features is maintained while making the best use of the available screen real estate and white space. The nodes of the network are positioned according to a predetermined set of rules governing optimal positioning and layout and to emphasize clarity and legibility in the display without regard to a referenced coordinate system. ArcGIS Schematics provides a set of refining tools and layout algorithms to lay out your schematic diagrams.
Before laying out a schematic diagram or refining its content, an edit session must be started on this diagram. Editing diagrams is done using ArcMap. The next topics detail how to refine a schematic diagram or lay out a schematic diagram when an edit session is already started on it.
To learn more about how to manage editing sessions on schematic diagrams, see the Editing a schematic diagram help topic.