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How To: Represent data temporally for a non-temporal sequence of years

Summary

With minor data manipulation, the Transpose Fields tool may be used in conjunction with the Convert Time Field tool to create a temporal dataset for use with the time slider.

Procedure

This assumes the data does not have any time field(s) but requires displaying the data in a time range, such as several years or several months. Additional fields must be added to the data so it has time contained within separate fields or columns.

  1. For example, if the user has three years of data for the years 2000-2002, add three new fields called Y2000, Y2001, and Y2002. Add a Y in front of the year so the values for the fields can be type String. Enter the values for the respective years. For example, if the data reflects paving and resealing operations, populate the values as Sealed or Repaved.
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  2. Use the Transpose Fields tool to transpose the columns. Select the appropriate fields and enter a value (for Y2000, enter a value of 2000, and so forth). Enter a new transposed field, which is used to store field name values of the fields selected to be transposed.
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  3. Select a Value field, such as 'Action', to represent the change occurring and for display purposes (these are the values that are populated for our years, paved, resealed, and so forth).

    Note:
    Check 'Shape' in the Attribute Fields list if the tool should return a feature class output.

  4. Click OK to run the tool. The resulting feature contains data with transposed records showing all the years and the operation carried out for those years.
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  5. Convert the time field using the tool of the same name. Specify the input time field (in this case, Year). Change the Output Time Field if desired, and ensure the output time type is set to 'DATE'.
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  6. Run the tool. This gives a new field with a valid date. Symbolizing the data using the action field shows a value temporal representation of the data when enabling time on the layer under the Layer Properties > Time tab. The newly created time field can be specified as a result of the Convert Time tool.
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