How to track changes in a geodatabase under ArcGis

From the moment you are not any longer alone to manage data, it is important to be able to track data changes: who did what and when?

If you work with geodatabases enterprise you know that you have at your disposal the versioning as well as archiving options to perform this task , provided you count with a Standard or Advanced license .

We will address the available tool with ArcGis 10.2 and above in Basic version to perform this task in personal geodatabases and file: tracking publisher.

Compared to the archiving tools, the great difference is that the publisher tracking only keeps track of the records changes present. If you delete records, there is no trace of who performed the transaction or when.

What it has in common is the storage of the user name and the date and time updates records in the geodatabase.

Let’s first discuss what it is the editor tracking

The tracking editor

With the tracking editor, ArcGIS saves automatically the following information for each entity or table record in a geodatabase dataset   :

  • Username that created the entity or the record
  • Date and time of creation
  • Username that performed the update.
  • Date and time of the last update.

This information is recorded in the attribute fields directly in the data set. For example, you can track the last user who has edited an entity, as well as the date of the last update. At any time you can see who the person responsible for changing the display in course of the database is.

In order to research the volume of updates made over time, you can also follow the date of the last update and creation date. It can be useful to identify trends and make correlations with the date.

Tracking updates works when the elements of the Geodatabases personal, geodatabases file, and geodatabases ArcSDE are modified in ArcGIS for Desktop. In addition, you can also track updates performed on the data released as entities services in ArcGIS Server.

Let’s discuss now how to put in place the tracking.

How to activate the publisher tracker.

You have three ways to put in place the publisher tracker.

1-With the default settings. The fastest way to enable the editor tracker consists in using predefined settings. Right click on a dataset, tick Manage, and then click EnableTrackingpublisher.

A message appears listing the fields that will be added to the dataset.

By clicking OK you can create the default fields. CVeux appears at once in the attribute table of the tracked layer.


2-With a customization of the tracking fields.

To enable the tracking publisher with your own field names or to record the hours in the database time, use the Properties dialog box of the dataset.

You must create tracking fields in the table, before enabling the publisher tracking. For the username fields, create Text type fields. To update the date fields, create Date type fields. To use the Properties dialog box of the class entity or properties of the table,right click the class set entity in the Catalogue window , and then select properties in the context menu . Click on the tab Followedpublisher and tick EnableTrackingpublisher

 Define the fields that will be updated when creating or modifying an entity.

 Keep in mind that fields must exist previously. If this is not the case, you can click on the tab Fields to define a new field before activating the publisher tracking.


Finally, specify if the dates will be recorded as UTC time or in database time.

If you choose UTC, you can avoid a later problem. If you choose database time (Local time) you will face a few problems if you try to use the table or layer for the WEB. Use UTC whenever possible. The table appears as follows:


3- With the Toolbox tools

The tool Enable Tracking editor allows adding new fields and activating the editor on these fields simultaneously. To use the geoprocessing tool, open the tool EnableTrackingeditor in the toolset Data ManagementTools-> Controls. Define the fields and others settings to your convenience. If these fields are missing, check the option Addfieldsif theydonotexist to create the tool execution.


Operation of the tracking publisher

You have two available paths:

  • tracking changes
  • tracking creations

Whenever you change a record cell, the username, the date and the time are registered in the two fields provided for the modifications.

In the case of the geodatabases file and personal updates with ArcGIS for Desktop clients and geodatabases ArcSDE which you connect when authenticating with the operational system, the username recorded matches the operational system identifier. The value used is defined by the text entered by the user when connecting. Every time you create an entity, the username, the date and time are registered in both fields provided for creations as well as for modifications. A creation is also a modification. So we will have the same date and time for the creation and modification. However, if you fill in the attributes of the entity at its creation, it will be the date and time of the last modification (the last attribute entered ) that will appear as date and time of last modification



How to disable the Tracking publisher.

You have the option to disable the tracking editor with the following three activation procedures: the menu in the Catalogue window, the dataset properties or the execution of the Disable tracking publisher tool.

To use the Catalogue window, click the right button on the set of data, check Manage, and then select Disable tracking publisher.

To use the Class Properties dialog box entity or Properties Table, click the right button on the class game entity   in the Catalogue window then select properties in the context menu . Click on the tab Followed publisher. To turn off the monitoring editor for a given field at a given time, click the type of monitoring publisher, for example author or the creation date, and set it to < None >. To disable completely the tracking publisher, uncheck Enable Tracking publisher .

To use the geoprocessing tool, open the tool Disable tracking editor in the toolset Data Management Tools -> Controls. Check the types of monitoring publisher that you want disable . When all types are checked to be disabled, tracking editor is completely disabled.  Disabling the Tracking does not erase the tracking fields or their latest content.


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