Populate processing history in metadata automatically

Idea created by atmabharathi on Jan 29, 2012
    The problem:
    The final GIS data in any large project would have passed through several geoprocessing tools. At each step the corresponding tool modifies the data in a particular way. By looking at the final result, it is very hard at present to trace each individual step that created this result. In other words, one does not know the entire list of processing history and this is especially true for raster images.

    The solution:
    Each tool in ArcGIS should automatically populate the metadata of output dataset with the tool parameters, time stamps and detailed environment variables. When another output is generated from this dataset, the processing history should be inherited. This facility should be implemented no matter how a tool is utilized (through GUI, Model builder or python window). This way the end result would have the entire list of processes that yielded the dataset.

    A bigger idea:
    For most of my projects I use multiple geospatial software. It would be very beneficial if this concept of automatic metadata population is implemented by all geospatial software. A company like ESRI should work toward implementing a protocol for creating and manipulating metadata files that are interoperable across multiple software.