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Spatial Data Diagnosis: Data Age is Not Just a Number


Blog series on reviewing spatial data and identifying broken files and issues, including finding data based on the age of files.

Do you remember that old saying? You know, the one that goes to the tune of, “Age is just a number”. It is an apt motto for many things in life, like that person you are dating, that couch in your living room with the 70’s fabric, or that burrito in your fridge from last week.


There are situations where the age of a thing is just another quirk in its character or a mere fact, rather than those exceptions where it is a point of necessary detail for consideration. Unfortunately for metadata evangelists, data falls into that category of exceptions to this age-old rule. Every pun intended.


When it comes to spatial data, knowing its age is essential. It helps in determining frequency of use, relevancy, and potential health. It aides in prioritizing what information should and should not be of focus in your team’s maintenance plan. It is a topic of frequent conversation, and one we have chatted about here a lot.


Finding the age of data – as well as all those files who fall within an age range – is easy enough. Thanks to applications like Integrated Marco Studio this just got even easier. Integrated Marco Mystic, in particular, handles this with true ease.


If we imagine a sample scenario where you are on the hunt for data at a ripe old age of more than five weeks, how would you propose answering this? Well, Integrated Marco Mystic has a couple answers.


VIP Access to the CMAs


Within the Integrated Marco Mystic interface, one of the quickest ways to determine age is through the Sort menu of the Search Results Panel. Although keyword relevancy is the default option for viewing results, there are a couple options to aide in the quest for finding these details. This includes a ticket to the CMA’s. I’m not talking Dolly Parton or a slew of cowboy boots. Instead, I’m talking about creation, modification, and access.


As shown below, results may be viewed by Created Ascending/Descending, Modified Ascending/Descending, and Accessed Ascending/Descending.


View of search engine for Geographic Information System GIS spatial data in Integrated Marco Mystic web application.

Filter, Filter, Filter


View of filters options for search engine for Geographic Information System GIS spatial data in Integrated Marco Mystic web application.

If view order does not quite satisfy your hunt, there is always the Filter Panel. The options for Date Created, Data Modified, and Last Accessed all allow you toggle the time span of datasets until you find exactly what you need.


Age in Layman’s Terms


Looking for production and use details for a specific dataset or ArcGIS Map Document? The individual details page for each file has it all. Creation, modification, and access are all spelled out to include date and time in a format that is quick to read. Even better? Time Since Last Access reads the current date comparative to its last access, showcasing this time-frame to take one more task off of your To Do list.


View of spatial data file details as shown in Integrated Marco Mystic web application.

All these options are handy ways Integrated Marco Mystic helps you in determining key features about your data. After all, you cannot ask every ArcGIS Map Document to present its ID before it walks in the door.



Explore the Series


When it comes to reviewing your Geographic Information System (GIS) data and inventories, there are questions you should have at the ready. Discover common questions we ask of our spatial data to get the most out of these resources - and better yet, how we actually achieve answers. Explore the cheat sheet here and dive in to each post in the series below.

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