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Need an Auto - TIMESTAMP field as a field type for attribute tables


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  • It would be very useful to have an attribute field type be a timestamp field.  In other words, every time a record is updated/created, the current date/time would be populated in this field.  Having the ability to have a field type for USERNAME (using your login from your pc) be an option would be great as well.
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    Posted by   dpettittva  to ArcGIS DesktopGeodatabaseProduction Mapping (PLTS) May 7, 2010

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Nov 21, 2014
If you do not want to enable Editor tracking, Attribute Assitant can do this in an edit session with the EXPRESSION and CURRENT_USER methods set up in the Dynamic Value table.  Many other automated editing updates are possible in real time with Attribute Assitant beyond just edit tracking.  Check out its methods here.  You can download it with the Address Data Managment tools here or other Local Government Informatoin Model (LGIM) tools.  You don't have to use the LGIM set up to use Attribute Assistant.

Feb 15, 2012
This is functionality has been added at 10.1. With Editor tracking you can optionally capture 4 different pieces of information for each record in a table or feature class:
  1. The name of the user who created it
  2. The date and time it was created.
  3. The name of the user who last editied it.
  4. The date and time it was last edited.
To use this functionality you enable editor tracking on the feature class or table and specify the fields that will be used to track these pieces of information. The user name used will be your windows login if you edit from the Desktop client in file or personal geodatabases and ArcSDE geodatabases using operating system authentication. If you connect to ArcSDE using database authentication it will use the name used to connect to the database.

For more information on this new functionality please check out the following help doc:

Jan 10, 2012
Also a auto username using the windows username of the logged in user.

Jun 11, 2011
The BLM has a extension for doing this.

It is pretty neat.  I can see if this is allowed to be shared outside if others are interested.

Here is the description.

BLM Editor GIS Extension, Version 1.0

Purpose of tool. The tool works within an ArcMap edit session to check for the existence of 5 fields and autopopulate them if they exist. The 5 fields are Create_By, Create_Date, Modify_By, Modify_Date, and GIS_ACRES. The Create_By and Modify_By fields are populated with the Active Directory username, Date fields are populated with the current date at the time of the edit session. The value for GIS_ACRES is calculated using BLM standard methodology as described in data standard implementation guidelines.

Tool requires ESRI ArcMap version 9.3 or 10.0 and Microsoft .Net framework 3.5 SP1.

Apr 27, 2011
This is very difficult to implement in SDE at the site level, I am told by our DBA. I suggest that these fields(userid & date/time) have an option to make them secure (uneditable) and cumulative: every edit is recorded. These options help with worlflow tracking and error analysis.

Mar 9, 2011
I agree with sunem  below that a calculated column in the GDB would be the best option - calculated field would give options for the field to be used for date / user name etc while holding this within the GDB would allow access from all ArcGIS clients as opposed to just from Desktop.

Jan 25, 2011

I wouldn't want to deal with the headaches this could cause.  If I do a field calculate across 10,000 records, it's going to update two other fields with my username and timestamp?  That'll take some time.  And if I'm in an edit session, and perform an Undo, how would it possibly know the previous values?  And when it writes the old values back to the database, won't that auto-calc kick in and rewrite it with the new timestamp and username, again overwriting the old one?  ESRI's software would also have to magically disable the ability to add more than one auto-timestamp field to a database.  And what would happen if some records of that database were exported to a new layer or table?  Would it keep the old values, or would the auto-calc kick in and create new values since they are brand new rows?  And what if the other fields are modified by third-party software?  And what if the person who edits the feature doesn't have permissions to edit the timestamp field, will it change anyway?  And IF the auto-calc field is not read-only, can I just type new values, or use Field Calculator to create new values?  And what would happen if I symbolize off an auto-calc field?  Will the display always refresh when I make a change to a different field?  And, if people log in using the same name, will the auto-calc username mean anything?  And, what time zone will the auto-calc field be in?  Do we have to convert it to our own time zone using a display format?

In short, there are too many design questions to answer, which means a difficult design process, whiich means ESRI would work really hard to give us what we want and yet a great percentage wouldn't be happy because it's not what they, themselves, had envisioned.  Seems too error-prone to me.  Also seems REALLY hard to automatically test since such a test suite couldn't hard-code what to look for.

Jan 21, 2011
You can already do this by addin in the timestamper .dll extension..

Jan 12, 2011
I've had to write this funtionallity many times using class extensions, esditor extensions, database triggers etc. It would be great to see it as a field type. The four field types I would live to see added as core data types are: CreatedBy, CreatedDate, ModifiedBy and ModifiedDate.

Jan 7, 2011
Or, at the very least, could we get SQL Server triggers enabled and accessible from with the ESRI products.  Right now, a work-around is to go in and manually write a trigger to do this, but, the problem is, it has to be written on the Delta tables.  So, if a dataset gets unregistered as versioned, such as to try and resolve orphaned version issues, the custom trigger on the delta tables is lost.  At the very least ESRI, please allow us access to the SQL triggers so we can at least write some of this functionality into the database ourselves.

Dec 9, 2010
Simply stated I would like to see it implemented as a calculated column (SQL Server term) at the GDB level . I donø't wan't it to be just available when editing from the Desktop.

Nov 24, 2010
We use a versioned system, and not all those with Edit permissions are in the same physical location.  Man, how much time it would save if we were all able to instantly see who did what edits, and when.  Those with Edit permissions are long-timers - we should still be around if anyone needs to ask about the reasons for what was done.  Right now, not even the date is automatic after every kind of edit.  Please make automatic entry for date/time/EDITOR_ID a choice available to data managers.

Nov 2, 2010
If there is one thing I hate its adding code to something that is not complete.  This option is a must especially if ESRI wants time enabled data to do anything.  A majority of the users can't script or dont' want to.  If it was an option when you created a FC to turn off timesamp or turn it on by default it would make things much more simple.  I see endless possibilities by making this part of the core product.

Nov 1, 2010
 I wrote an AddIn that does a lot of this (right around the same time as Infrastructure Editing Template for ArcGIS 10 was released) , but I haven't gotten around to writing any documentation for it.

There is a toggle button, so you can disable it.

It's configurable with an XML file ( global or a featureclass specific replacement value template).

Built in: 
{WKB} (Well-known binary)
{GEOHASH} (geohash point features only).

On the TODO list:

Download Location:

Oct 22, 2010

We presently use one of the scripts from the ESRI script site (although I don't know which one).  One added feature would be the capability to disable it temporarily.  The example I have is where you need to perform a mass update on a field.  When you calc the field for the entire feature class, every feature has the current date & editor.  In most cases this isn't what's desired.

Sep 15, 2010
 You can accomplish this and much more with ArcGIS 10 Production Mapping extension and ArcGIS 9.3.1 PLTS Foundation extension.

We have updated the attribute assistant, which is part of the tax parcel template, for ArcGIS 10.  We have released this update as part of the Infrastructure editing template.  The Attribute Assistant can timestamp, grab the current user, plus do a ton of other things.  This blog explains some of the customs rules you can implement.

Template -

Blog -

Sep 12, 2010
Not only would it be good to capture the time, but who did the update.  A companion field for "Updater" that captured the login id would be quite helpful.  Many times when an update was needed in a hurry the time and initials were ignored.  This kind of update is usually happens by the backup team while the main data support person is on vacation.  At the end of vacation there is a need to find out what went on and at times untangle some of the updates.

Aug 19, 2010
Some of the templates available from ESRI can actually make use of something like this. The fact that ESRI's own developers need this for their templates should be an indication to ESRI that this would be useful for everyone!

Aug 19, 2010
 I was hoping for this functionality in 10. I would think this would be a common function for all data managing software, but sometimes ArcGIS seems to have the oddest things missing. Allowing expressions to be set as default values (like MS Access) would be a good solution for this, and would allow a lot of extra customization for automatically populating records (beyond just timestamps).

Aug 17, 2010

You can create an auto time date stamp with the following script.  It is not perfect, but it works.

Aug 10, 2010
Let the machine do the work so the humans can make fewer mistakes.

Jul 19, 2010
I agree, this would be a nice enhancement.  Just FYI, you can get this functionality by using the Tax Parcel Editing Template from ESRI.  I've used the tool just for the timestamp function before and it works well for that.

Jun 24, 2010
That should be mandatory in every GIS.

May 28, 2010
This would be nice.

I know that at 10.0, ESRI is introducing system variables, such as current date/time, for map layouts.  I don't know if this extends to data entry or not. 

Could you implement this by using a trigger to automatically enter the current date/time, and locking the field so that only the system can enter the value?

This will be a great enhancement...

May 17, 2010
 This will be a great enhancement... also the data can be used for time series analysis..

May 14, 2010
I'll add that more than one municipality in the Midwest has already paid for ESRI to develop a custom tool to do this. It would be a nice return on our investment to see this functionality in a standard release.

May 10, 2010
We had custom code written by ESRI to do this very thing.  It would be great if it was a standard option.

May 8, 2010
Sign me up for this one. While possible to dig up a script that did this in the 9.x arcscripts, native support, would be nice.

It is not fun at all to go digging into the tables to find out who did something.............



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