Visualizing temporal data over time allows you to observe patterns or trends that emerge in your data as time passes. For example, you can visualize how the ocean temperature varies over time or observe the patterns in the population growth over time. A time animation allows you to visualize such changes in your temporal data over time.
A time animation is similar to what you can achieve using the Time slider available on the Tools toolbar. However, you can choose to use either of these tools depending on how you want to visualize your data over time.
When to use the Time Slider
If you are simply interested in visualizing temporal data in ArcMap, ArcScene, and ArcGlobe, you should use the Time slider available on the Tools toolbar. The Time slider is an easy-to-use control that allows you to proceed through each time step of your time-enabled data. However, the Time slider does not allow you to manipulate other objects (such as the camera, map view, and layers) over time to create dynamic visual effects.
When to create a time animation
If you want to add other animated effects while visualizing your temporal data over time, you should create a time animation, which can be played alongside other animation tracks. For example, if you want to create a camera flyby while visualizing your data over time, you should create a time animation track to alter the time of the display (map, scene, or globe) and a camera animation track to move the camera. These two tracks can then be played together using the animation controls.
Also, you can create a time animation, which can be advanced through your temporal data at varying time steps.
How to create a time animation?
Using a time animation, any supported time-enabled layer or table can be animated temporally. After enabling time on your data, you can create a time animation by clicking the Create Time Animation button on the Animation drop-down menu of the Animation toolbar. You can then play the animation, using the Animation Controls dialog box, or preview a particular time slice on the Time View tab of the Animation Manager.