Advice on Storing Multiple Temporal/Time-Aware Attributes

08-09-2016 07:29 PM
New Contributor

Are there any best practice / advice on storing multiple temporal attributes in geodatabases (SQL or file)?

We have a feature class that have multiple attributes that change over time. For example, a "Cities" feature class can have attributes of "Population Size", "Pollution", "Accident Counts"... etc that change over time (per year). We want to show the attribute changes over time as a time-aware layer in ArcMap and a JavaScript API app.

What would be the best way of storing such information? So I will have a "Cities" feature class. Should I have separate tables such as "CitiesPopulationSize" and "CitiesAccidentCounts", or should I use one single table storing all the time-based attributes? We can have many time-aware attributes for the several feature classes.

Anyone got any ideas/experience with this?

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4 Replies
Esri Contributor

Hi Henry,

Have you checked archive option in geodatabase. Here is the web help link:

The archive process—ArcGIS Help | ArcGIS for Desktop

It helps to keep track of chnages of feature in time.

Hope this helps.



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Esri Esteemed Contributor

I would probably use separate featureclasses for each attribute ("Population Size", "Pollution", "Accident Counts", etc), since the change in time may take different time intervals. Enable time according to the specifics for each attribute.

Do you have single dates per feature or start and end dates? I assume that a city has multiple features each with its own measurement (or projection of the data into future).

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New Contributor

Hi Xander, most of them will have a single date value based on year, some will have start and end dates (also based on year).

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MVP Legendary Contributor

Then keep everything separate and bring the pieces together as you find a need for them.  Since you seem to have a disparate collection of information, there is little to be gained by aggregation into a fixed structure until you know what you wish to do with the data.  Nothing is stopping you from aggregating at a later stage, since the aggregation structure may become more apparent as you get more data.