Apply a time offset to data

The time offset feature allows you to display data in a time-enabled dataset using time values that are offset from the time values at which the data was recorded. Applying a time offset to data does not affect the date and time information stored in its source data. It only affects how the time slider displays the data, allowing you to view it as if it were happening at a different time.

Imagine you have data from two different time periods that you want to compare side by side. It may be useful to play back the two sets of data as if they were happening at the same time. This allows you to look for similar patterns or differences in the datasets. For example, you can compare the hurricane seasons for two consecutive years by applying a temporal offset of exactly one year to the data from the first season. Then you can play back the two hurricane seasons together as if they were happening in the same year. This allows you to look for patterns of when and where hurricanes are occurring between the two years. This example is illustrated below:

Time offset on a map


  • Using a time offset works best when the temporal datasets you are trying to visualize or compare side by side do not overlap.
  • To distinguish between the temporal datasets you are visualizing, you can apply a different symbology on the layers. Also, you can apply a transparency on one of the layers.

To apply a time offset, such as a side-by-side comparison of hurricane data from two consecutive years, you can enter a duration of exactly one year to offset the data for the first year.

  1. Double-click the temporal dataset in the Contents pane to open the Properties dialog box.
  2. Click the Time tab.
  3. Under the Filter using time heading, choose the Filter layer content based on attribute values option.
  4. Configure the layer properties based on attribute values.
  5. Under the Time Zone and Time Offset section, specify values for the Time offset duration and units.

The time offset option is not available for layers configured with a fixed time extent. For a fixed time extent, the start and end dates need to be adjusted individually.

Related topics