Is it me, or are the date functions in the file geodatabase a total nightmare.

Anyway, I am trying to set up a fairly simple definition query that contains a subquery with a date comparison. My definition query looks like this:

"OBJECTID" IN (SELECT "assetid" from dummydata WHERE "restoretime" < CURRENT_TIME)

According the ESRI SQL Reference, the current time function is defined as CURRENT TIME (no underscore) but that breaks the definition query altogether. With the underscore, I dont get any errors, but the selection set is always null. Every row in dummydata has a restoretime value set which is definitely older than the current time. What am I doing wrong here?

FYI - ArcMap 10 SP4

UPDATE: Some sample rows from the dummydata table

OID     assetid     outagetime               restoretime
1            1      5/10/2012 3:06:59 PM     5/10/2012 3:07:04 PM
2            2      5/10/2012 3:06:59 PM     5/10/2012 3:09:14 PM
  • Are you sure that your restoretime field actually contains time information and not just the date? Will your query work if you replace CURRENT_TIME with CURRENT_DATE? Are your sure that your FGDB is of v10 flavor as it seems that the CURRENT_TIME function is new as of v10 as it is not mentioned in the 9.3 documentation - webhelp.esri.com/arcgisdesktop/9.3/… Commented May 10, 2012 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


Since the field you are basing your definition query on contains both date and time, you cannot just use the "CURRENT_TIME" function as the comparison. You have to use a function that compares both date and time. The ArcGIS desktop help states that queries use standard SQL syntax: SQL reference for query expressions used in ArcGIS

If you look at the SQL.org website for Date/Time Functions and Operators, you see a reference for CURRENT_TIMESTAMP.

Here are what the different functions return:
CURRENT_TIMESTAMP: Complete date and time expression: 2001-12-23 14:39:53
Current_TIME: Current Time: 14:39:53
Current_DATE: Current Date: 2001-12-23
Section 6.8.4 of that page specifically discusses the Current Date/Time functions.

So your expression should probably look something like this:

"OBJECTID" IN (SELECT "assetid" from dummydata WHERE "restoretime" < CURRENT_TIMESTAMP)

The one thing you want to ensure is that the field you are querying against is defined as a date/time field, or else the comparison won't work. From the look of the sample data you included, it probably is, so you shouldn't have a problem.

Hope this helps.

  • thanks for the response. however, it looks the CURRENT_TIMESTAMP not available until 10.1 - forums.arcgis.com/threads/…
    – user890
    Commented May 11, 2012 at 12:17
  • so is there any solutions to comparing date in 10.0?
    – jonleech
    Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 2:10

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