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I have two feature classes in a FGDB each with a set of time stamped points. Let's call them fc1 and fc2. Between these two feature classes one or the other does not consistently have a greater number of points, sometimes fc1 will have more and other times fc2 will.

I want to create two new feature classes (fc1_join and fc2_join) that only contain matching records based on the timestamp. In the end fc1_join and fc2_join should have an equal number of features, correct?

And what steps would be taken to do this?

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The two output feature classes would only have equal number of records if the relationship based on the time stamp was always one-to-one.

If you ever had, for example, three records in fc1 with a the same time stamp, which also matched a single record in fc2, then fc1_join would contain two more records for that match than fc2_join would.

Assuming the time stamps were always unique (which would mean only one-to-one joins would be possible) here is how to do do these joins in ArcMap.

  • Right-click on fc1 in the table of contents window and choose Joins and Relates > Join..., which opens the Join Data dialog box:
  • Keep Join attributes from a table in the first drop-down
    1. Choose the time stamp field in fc1
    1. Choose fc2
    1. Choose the time stamp field from fc2
  • Keep only matching records
  • OK
  • Now export the data by right-clicking fc1 in the table of contents and choosing Data > Export Data... from the context menu. This will export a new feature class (you can name it fc1_join) containing only those features from fc1 that had a time stamp match in fc2, along with the joined attributes from fc2.
  • After you've exported fc1_join, right-click fc1 in the table of contents and choose Joins and Relates > Remove Join(s)....

To create fc2_join, repeat the steps above but invert fc2 for fc1.

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  • The time stamps are always unique in each feature class. Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 16:52

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