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I'm new to the GIS world, and I'm trying to work out what tool I should start with in order to analyse some data and run custom spatial queries on it.

I have a data set representing the recording of a construction site vehicle and its activity over a period of time. Each record in the data contains such fields as lat/long, timestamp, and various parameters describing what activity the vehicle was performing at that particular point in time.

Without spending weeks developing my own tool, I would like to be able to display a map, select a start and end time (to filter out the relevant records), and render a trace of where the vehicle went and somehow indicate what it was doing where. Eg, it may be a grader machine, and I simply want to display whether the blade was engaged to the ground or not (on/off). Maybe just green points where it was engaged, and red points where it was not.

I'd also like to be able to run some spatial queries, eg within a certain bounding box, how much time was spent with the blade engaged to the ground. Or how far did the vehicle travel during a certain time period, and for how much of that distance was the blade engaged. Simple queries like that.

A bonus would be if I could achieve an animation of the activity, ie a play-back of the vehicle moving and plotting its route and activity, but this is not necessary.

Could I achieve this with something like QGIS, or what tool would you recommend, if any?

closed as too broad by PolyGeo Feb 14 '16 at 10:32

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    The question is too broad for this format, but Postgres/Postgis is definitely where to start. For animation, Leaflet or OpenLayers would work. – John Powell Feb 14 '16 at 6:55
  • Maybe this duplicate and the referred question is of some use for you. – bummi Feb 14 '16 at 8:04
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All the stuff and requirements that you write about (custom spatial and attribute queries, basic symbolization based on attributes, time animation), are standard functionalities of ArcGIS and QGIS, or available through commonly used plugins (e.g. TimeManager for QGIS).

There is no need to go down to the PostGIS database level to do this, or to install webmapping or rendering frameworks like Leaflet. You can do this right in your GIS, just start reading the Help pages to find the relevant info, or do some of the available tutorials to familiarize yourself with the GIS software package of your choice.

  • Thanks @Marco_B, that's the sort of answer I was hoping for - just giving me a nudge in the right direction. I didn't want to go down the track of reading up on some tool that in the end wouldn't be able to help me do what I need to do. QGIS looks promising. Just wanted to confirm. Thanks again. – some one Feb 14 '16 at 22:14

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