Through editor tracking, ArcGIS can automatically record the following information for each feature or table record in a geodatabase dataset:
- The name of the user who created it.
- The date and time it was created.
- The name of the user who edited it.
- The date and time it was last edited.
This information is recorded in attribute fields directly in the dataset. Editor tracking can help you maintain accountability and enforce quality control standards.
For example, you can track the last editor and optionally the last edit date to see who was responsible for specific edits in the current view of the database. To learn the volume of edits over time, you can track the last edit date and the creation date. This can help you identify trends and make correlations with the date.
Edits are tracked when items in personal geodatabases, file geodatabases, and ArcSDE geodatabases are edited in ArcGIS for Desktop. In addition, you can also track edits made to data served as feature services in ArcGIS Server. Before you can track edits, you need to enable editor tracking on the dataset.
When values are recorded
ArcGIS automatically records new editor tracking values whenever a feature or record is inserted or modified in any way. This includes modifications to user-defined attribute columns, system columns not defined by the user, and the shape column that stores feature geometry.
Most types of operations record tracking values, including those that automatically update data behind the scenes. For example, deleting an origin in a simple relationship automatically updates the foreign key column in the related feature, and so records new tracking values for the related feature.
Operations that involve schema changes, where you don't modify column values in the process, do not record new tracking values. For example, adding or deleting a field does not update editor tracking values for the features in a feature class.
Editor tracking applies to operations on existing datasets only. It does not apply to operations that create new datasets. For example, performing any of the following operations will not update editor tracking values in the new datasets that are created as a result:
- Copying and pasting a feature class
- Importing XML Workspace Document
- Copying data with the Extract Data wizard in ArcMap
- Creating a replica
- Converting labels to annotation
Similarly, creating replicas and synchronizing changes do not update editor tracking values. Values from the source dataset are preserved in the target.
Depending on your organization's needs, you can also utilize archiving to create a complete history of the dataset's edits. Through archiving, you can also record information about deleted features and the original creator of the feature.
Specifying how user names are recorded
For file and personal geodatabases edited with ArcGIS for Desktop clients, and ArcSDE geodatabases you connect to through operating system authentication, the user name written is the operating system login. The value used is set by the text typed by the user when he or she logs in. If he logs in as John, John writes as the user name. If the next day he logs in as john, john writes as the user name.
For ArcSDE geodatabases you connect to through database authentication, the user name is the name you use to connect to the geodatabase.
If your data resides in an ArcSDE geodatabase and you connect through database authentication, you can choose to append a realm (for example: @esri.com) to the name of the user who makes the edit. For example, if you have a user named John in your Denver office and a user named John in your Seattle office, you can track their edits as John@denver and John@seattle, respectively, so that you can be certain which John made each edit.
To set the realm for an ArcSDE geodatabase, you must have administrator privileges on the database. In the Catalog window, right-click the connection to the geodatabase, click Properties, and click the Editor Tracking tab. You can then choose whether to use the default realm or apply your own.
You can also choose to append a realm to edits made through a feature service. For more information, see Editor tracking for feature services.
Specifying how times are recorded
When you enable editor tracking on a dataset, you can record the dates of the edits in either UTC or the database's time zone.
If you'll be copying or replicating data across time zones, or if you're planning on editing through a feature service, use UTC, a standard that is unaffected by differences in time zones. Since editors can apply edits from potentially anywhere in the world, UTC works well.
Recording in the database's time zone is recommended only if you are certain all edits will be performed within the same time zone.
When edits are applied to a version, the date values are when the edits were made and not when the reconcile occurred. For example, if an editor made a change to a row yesterday and it was reconciled and posted into the default version today, the last edit date for the row in the default version will be yesterday.
In the case where you reconcile and there are no conflicts, the values in the editor tracking fields are applied to the edit version like values from any other fields. If there are conflicts, the values in the editor tracking fields that are applied to the edit version depend on the conflict resolution policy. Differences in editor tracking fields alone do not trigger conflicts.
Working with different ArcGIS releases
ArcGIS 10.1 and subsequent clients record editor tracking information. ArcGIS 10.0 and 10.0 Service Pack 1 clients can access datasets that have editor tracking enabled, but any edits made in these releases are not tracked. You should avoid making schema changes when using these clients because doing so will disable editor tracking on the dataset. ArcGIS 10.0 Service Pack 2 and subsequent 10.0 service pack clients cannot access datasets that have editor tracking enabled.