In my organization, it is very important that we have documentation from an authoritative source to support every feature that we add to our data and every edit that we make to each feature. Currently, our organization keeps an excel file on which we track every change we make and include links and file paths to the documentation that supports the change. Lately, these excel spreadsheets have become a bit cumbersome.

I am curious if anyone else deals with this level of documentation, and how they do it. I know about metadata and the track edits tool, but neither seems to provide the level of detail that we need to maintain data lineage and documentation for every single feature.

Is there a tool or a preferred method for dynamically linking each feature in a feature class to detailed information about it's lineage and documentation?


  • 2
    If you're using a database server you may consider creating a history table to which features are copied into via triggers on update or create operations. By storing a unique tracking number for each feature, you can track the feature's history. You can add begin and end dates to the features to make this a spatio-temporal database. It's also common practice to use issue tracking software, like JIRA, to keep track of work you've performed on software, but you could make it work for data as well. You could tie the two together using issue number as field in the feature class. Just my two cents.
    – akthor
    May 31, 2014 at 4:42

2 Answers 2


Editor Tracking was introduced at ArcGIS for Desktop 10.1. It allows to track the user name, as well of the date and time, of created and edited features.

Additionally, I would create a fields to store the link to supporting documentation for each feature (e.g. Edit_Link). Finally, if you are using an enterprise geodatabase, I would use geodatabase archiving to keep track of instance when features are modified multiple time.


I'd recommend looking into GeoGit. I believe it has just the functionality that you're looking for.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.