An overview of time animation

Visualizing temporal data over time allows you to observe patterns or trends that emerge in your data as time passes. For example, you can visualize how the ocean temperature varies over time or observe the patterns in the population growth over time. A time animation allows you to visualize such changes in your temporal data over time.

A time animation is similar to what you can achieve using the Time slider available on the Tools toolbar. However, you can choose to use either of these tools depending on how you want to visualize your data over time.

When to use the Time Slider

If you are simply interested in visualizing temporal data in ArcMap, ArcScene, and ArcGlobe, you should use the Time slider available on the Tools toolbar. The Time slider is an easy-to-use control that allows you to proceed through each time step of your time-enabled data. However, the Time slider does not allow you to manipulate other objects (such as the camera, map view, and layers) over time to create dynamic visual effects.

Learn about enabling time on your data

Learn about using the Time Slider

When to create a time animation

If you want to add other animated effects while visualizing your temporal data over time, you should create a time animation, which can be played alongside other animation tracks. For example, if you want to create a camera flyby while visualizing your data over time, you should create a time animation track to alter the time of the display (map, scene, or globe) and a camera animation track to move the camera. These two tracks can then be played together using the animation controls.

Learn more about creating time animations

Also, you can create a time animation, which can be advanced through your temporal data at varying time steps.

Learn about varying the time steps of a time animation

How to create a time animation?

Using a time animation, any supported time-enabled layer or table can be animated temporally. After enabling time on your data, you can create a time animation by clicking the Create Time Animation button on the Animation drop-down menu of the Animation toolbar. You can then play the animation, using the Animation Controls dialog box, or preview a particular time slice on the Time View tab of the Animation Manager.

Learn more about creating time animations


Time Layer animation tracks created in ArcGIS 9.x are no longer supported. When opening an existing ArcGIS 9.x document with Time Layer animation tracks, these tracks will be automatically converted into the new Time animation tracks. Also, time properties of the time layer associated with the existing Time Layer track will be set automatically on the Time tab of the Layer Properties dialog box. The new Time animation tracks allow you to control the time of the view (map, scene or globe).

Published 6/7/2010