I need to make a countdown based on symbolization. Let's say I have several groups of sections with a Date field in it. I have when the section is due in the date field. Can I get it to dynamically hatch close lines as the date nears?


Well, I think what you're asking is if there is a way in the symbology tab you can use a dynamic date range. I don't know of anything that is exactly what you are asking for, but I can think of a couple of options, so here they are:

First, you could add a field, something like DaysUntil. Then write a field calculator expression to calculate that by subtracting due date field from today's date. You could write a python script to nightly run that field calculate expression and thus nightly keep your data up-to-date with a current days until due count which you could use as normal as a numeric range of values to range and symbolize based on as you would any other data with various numeric data you wanted to display in this manner. This has the advantage of just being one layer in your map to manage, but depending on size of data, that could be a lot of edits to be making nightly, and if you're using replicating and/or versions, that could create even more issues with the edits being made to one version but not seen by everyone, etc... This is possible and may be useful for a quick, simple, probably temporary solution, but I would recommend you reading on to the other option for a longer-term solution.

The other option I see as a possibility is that you could simply create several layers in your mxd all pointing at the same source feature class. You could then use a SQL query such as


to limit each layer to just show features within a certain date range. You would obviously have to change the field name, but that above statement is a definition query where the feature has a DATE_CREATE field value that falls within the last 30 days (dynamic checking against the system's current date). You could create one that has features within the last 30 days, another where between current date-30 and current date - 60, and another where the < current date - 60. Again, you'd have to customize to your situation, but hopefully that gives you an idea. Then for each layer you'd set up a single symbol (for less than 30 days left you could do solid red, for others you could do hashed orange, etc...

Hope it helps.

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