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Seeking Recommendations for Data Versioning and Change Tracking in Esri

05-18-2023 11:08 PM
New Contributor

Dear Esri community,

I'm currently working on a project that involves managing spatial data. I would like to know if there is a recommended approach for handling data versioning and effectively tracking changes over time. My goal is to maintain data integrity while still allowing for updates and modifications as needed.

I understand that data versioning can be a complex task, especially when dealing with large datasets and multiple users. Therefore, I would greatly appreciate any insights or best practices you can share regarding data versioning in Esri. Are there specific tools, workflows, or techniques that you have found effective in managing and tracking changes over time?

Additionally, I'm curious about any considerations or challenges to keep in mind while implementing data versioning in Esri. Are there any potential pitfalls or common mistakes that I should be aware of?

Thank you in advance for your expertise and guidance. Your assistance will be immensely valuable to me.

Thanks & Regards 


5 Replies
Regular Contributor

There are several things to consider when creating versions for the data and database that you are working with.

  1. Have a parent/default version that every version reconciles to.
  2. Determine how many editors will be editing the data.
  3. Determine how many versions you need to have? (Ex: version for field/external editors, version for internal editors, main qa/qc version, etc...?
  4. How do you want to set up your versioning.
    1. Versioning Tree: Combination of several child versions and parent versions under the default version
    2. Vertical versioning (Bottom to Top versioning): Child version to parent version to default version
    3. Combination of tree versioning and vertical versioning
  5. What kind of edits will each version be allowed to make (Ex: Complete or partial editing capabilities)?

So there isn't a "recommended" approach simply because the way your organization is set-up can have many factors as to how to create the versions that you need/want. One of the many ways that helps determining how to create the versions is figuring out the importance of the data that you are working with using something similar to the method below. 

  1. Determine your data's critical components. If you are the type of organization that has local/state/federal requirements, then you would need to figure out how to address those first.
  2. Determine what your needs and wants are. This will, in-turn, determine how to define the hierarchy for the versions that address those needs/wants/critical components.
  3. Based on the hierarchy, you can then decide whether to specify the version and how each version in the hierarchy will edit the data.

The other key thing is you don't want to setup your versioning in such a way that you have too many editing versions nor too little editing versions. Having too many could cause roadblocks and having to little could have errors creeping into the default version.

So lots to consider when wanting to create versions.

Esri Contributor

Hi @CeciliaCecilia 

I am providing resources for you that can assist in what approach you may want to take.

Enterprise Data Management Strategies


Traditional Versioning Scenarios


Branch Versioning Scenarios


Geodatabase Administrations Tasks


Tracking Archived Data



New Contributor II

Hi @CeciliaCecilia! Adding to the above answers, you can also enable editor tracking on your feature classes. It automatically records information about any inserts and updates that are made. It maintains a record of the editor who created or modified the data and a timestamp of when the edit occurred.

0 Kudos
New Contributor III

Few more weblinks that could be helpful in future. 

Versioning 101

Discover what version is dependent on a given state of the database

Why does the compression of states take so long for large state_lineages tables?

How does the state tree change during an edit session?

Compress a versioned database to state 0


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Esri Regular Contributor
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