I am new to GIS data.
Our organization uses ArcGIS to map parcels of land used for agriculture. The lowest addressable level is currently a single polygon, representing a parcel. Throughout the year, these parcels may change in size or name.
We are importing shapefile data to extract parcel data, and all information associated with each parcel. We are storing this information in SQL Server, merging it with work data, and tracking changes using a data warehouse framework and slowly changing dimensions, but we have run into a problem I can't seem to solve.
Consider this scenario.
Yesterday we had a five acre parcel named A, and work was performed in said parcel. Today, management changed its name to B, and more work is performed. We track those changes, and show parcel A as being in existence until today, when parcel B sprang to life. When we aggregate acres for parcels in which work was performed, we have a total of 10 acres, when in reality, it's the same five acre parcel.
Currently, the parcel name is the key, and needs to be visible for the users to make sense of their data. They know it was named A, but is now B, and want to see the cost per acre of both A and B. The challenging bit is they want the current acres to be accurately represented as 5; not 10.
From a data perspective, I have no way to know this is the same land.
Is there a way to make the physical land be the key instead of an arbitrary name?
I'm envisioning a data store filled with lat/long coordinates for each square foot (or whatever is the smallest addressable unit), and extracting each addressable unit from the parcel polygon. That way, the parcel name is simply an attribute of each addressable unit, and can change as business needs evolve. With this approach, I can see tracking changes over time being easier, as we would track the land rather than the arbitrary labels.