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Configure time settings

Spatial phenomena collected with time information may allow map users to see what happened at a specific time, or what may happen in the future. By animating time-based data, you can visualize it at each step and see patterns or trends emerging over time. Examples of phenomena with data that is well suited for this purpose include hurricanes, tornadoes, and other meteorological events; population migrations; land-use and environment change; or wildfire or flood event progression.

Some map layers are time enabled; they contain spatial datasets that have different information for the same location at different times. If a map contains time-enabled layers, it is time-aware, and the display can be configured to show the data during a specific period of time or to animate the data over time. Time animation can be enabled in Map Viewer for feature layers (hosted and ArcGIS Server feature layers), map image layers, and imagery layers, provided the layers are configured to support time animation.

Verify a layer contains time data

You can find out if a layer in the map is time enabled by referring to the REST endpoint.

  1. Open the map in Map Viewer.
  2. Click Details and click Contents.
  3. Browse to the layer that contains time data, click More Options More Options, and click Show Item Details.
  4. On the Overview tab, scroll to the Layers section and click the hyperlinked text to open the layer description. If a layer is time enabled, you will find a section called Time Info on the web page that opens.

Enable time on layers

You can set time properties on feature and imagery layers in ArcMap and in ArcGIS Pro before you publish a feature layer, imagery layer, or map image layer (map service) to an ArcGIS Server site. You can configure these time-enabled ArcGIS Server web layers to display time animation when you add them to Map Viewer.

You can also publish hosted feature layers that include temporal data and enable time on them from the layer's item page. This allows you and your organization (if you share your features) to use your temporal data to create time-enabled maps.

To enable time on hosted feature layers, the hosted feature layer owner or an administrator can follow these steps:

  1. From the My Content tab of the content page, open the item page for a hosted feature layer with temporal data.
  2. In the Layers section of the Overview tab, click Time Settings.
  3. Check the Enable time check box.
  4. Choose to record the time data as specific events in time or time ranges with a start and end time.
  5. Choose the time field or fields in your data.
  6. Click OK.

When this hosted feature layer is added to Map Viewer, time animation is enabled.

Configure time settings

  1. Open the time-aware map in Map Viewer and click Time Settings Time Settings to the right of the slider.
  2. Click Show Advanced Options. From here, you can make the configurations below. To preserve the configuration changes, you need to save them to the map.
  3. Click OK when finished configuring time settings.

Playback speed

The default speed is two seconds per time interval. You can adjust this by moving the slider toward Slower or Faster. People viewing your map can change the default speed you set.

Time span

The Time Span section shows the timeline, or time period, of each time-enabled layer in your map. You can see how the timeline of a layer compares to the other layers, and you can change the start and end times of the map. By default, the time span of the map is set to the union of timelines of all your time-enabled layers.

Time Span handles configuring the display of historical data only, where the time layers have timelines that have already completed. It doesn't handle time data that is still being accumulated. The start and end times for the time span are explicitly set.

Do any of the following to change the time span:

  • Drag the handles on the slider in the Layer Time Lines section to manually set the start and end times of the map.
  • Select explicit values in the Start Time and End Time fields.
  • Click a layer's timeline to set the start or end time of the map to the start or end time of the layer.

Time display

Use the Time Display section to specify how much data to display as time passes. This includes setting a time interval, which is the duration after which the map will be refreshed to display the data valid at that time. In addition to the time interval, you must specify whether to display cumulative data or only data in the current time interval. You must also specify whether you want to start the time animation at the beginning of the time span or at the time position last saved with the map.

  1. Enter a numeric value for the time interval.
  2. Choose the units for the time interval from the drop-down list. The units that appear in the drop-down list depend on the timelines in the layer data. To change these units, you must edit the layer properties of your data.
  3. For As time passes, choose one of the following:
    • Choose only display the data in the current time interval to show only the data that falls within the time interval. For example, if you have data representing hurricane paths over a 10-year period and you want to show the paths of all hurricanes that occurred within a given year, you would choose this option (and specify 1 Year as your time interval). As the map animates, you see the hurricane paths for the first year, the second, the third, and so on. Each year of data displays independently of the other years.
    • Choose progressively display all the data to show all the data over time. For example, if you have data representing hurricane paths over a 10-year period and you want to display all the hurricane paths that occurred over the 10-year period in successive years over the previous years, you would choose this option (and specify 1 Year as your time interval). As the map animates, you see the yearly hurricane paths cumulatively over 10 years.
  4. For Start playback at, choose one of the following:
    • Choose start time to start the time animation at the beginning of the specified time span.
    • Choose playback position saved with map to start the time animation at the time position last saved with the map.

Disable time animation

If you do not want the time slider to appear on your map, you can disable time animation on the time-enabled layer.

  1. Open the time-enabled map in Map Viewer.
  2. Click Details and click Contents.
  3. Browse to the layer you want to change, click More Options More Options, and click Disable Time Animation.
  4. Click Enable Time Animation to display the time slider you previously removed from the map.
  5. If you own the layer and want to save the time animation setting as the default property of the layer, click Save Layer.