Create a time/date stamp in the animation tool for each frame output in Tracking Analyst

Last Published: April 25, 2020


Tracking Analyst for ArcGIS 8.3 has no functionality to add a time/date stamp to the output file of the animation tool.

Instructions provided describe how to create a feature class to provide this functionality.


Instructions provided describe how to add a year stamp to the animation file output. See the notes in the steps that need to be modified for other time/date format stamps.

  1. In ArcCatalog, create a new feature class.

       a. Make it a point feature class.
    b. Import Spatial Reference from an existing feature class in the data frame.
    c. Add three new fields.

    1. One string field – length 5 (Event_id)
    2. One short integer field – length 10 (Label)
    3. One string field – length 10 (Date_stamp)

    Modify these fields as needed to accommodate the desired time/date stamp.

  2. Add the new feature class to an .mxd file, and add a layer from the original .mxd file.

    Use the layer with the largest extent. This layer is added to provide a guide for the placement of the point features.

  3. Start editing the point feature class.
  4. Set snapping to edge of point feature class (from the Editor menu). This results in all new points being added in the same location.

    For further information regarding setting the snapping environment, see the ArcGIS Help > Contents tab > Editing in ArcMap > Creating new features > Using the snapping environment.

  5. Use the sketch tool to add points at the location of the desired date stamp.
  6. Stop editing and save edits once there are enough points for the time range desired.
  7. Use the field calculator to populate the Event_id field with the same value. Use the following expression:


  8. Use the field calculator to populate the Label field with sequential values. Use the following expression, where x is the first year of data - 1:


    Modify this expression to use a format other than a year stamp.

  9. Use the field calculator to populate the Date_stamp field with a date based on the label field. Use the following expression:


    Modify this expression to use a format other than a year stamp.

  10. Open the original .mxd file and add the point feature class as temporal data. Use the Date_stamp field as the temporal field, and the Event_id field as the track field.
  11. Right-click the new temporal layer and select properties to set the display properties of the new layer.
    a. Select the Temporal tab, and select Display only the most current events in the layer.
    b. Select the Symbology tab, and change the color of the point symbol to No Color.
    c. Select the Labels tab, set the label field to Label, and set the symbol as desired.
    d. Place a check mark next to 'Label most current features in this layer.'
  12. Test the stamp by running the Playback Manager.

Article ID:000006189

  • ArcMap 8 x

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