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I have a shapefile with all the buildings of the region. In the attribute table I have a field containing the date that the individual buildings have been built. I need to count how many buildings have been built in the region in certain years.

How can I change the specific dates (e.g. 15.2.2008) (the field is text form, not numeric) into year (2008)?

I use both QGIS and ArcGIS (ArcInfo), so any tips for either programme would be great.

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    What software are you using for this? – jbchurchill Jun 16 '16 at 13:33
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One way is to create a new field containing your year, so you can count on it, and keep the full date for a later use. Use the function 'right' to fill your new field with the last four characters of your date field (only the year) :

right(  "dateField" , 4 )

This works with QGIS, but equivalent functions exists in other softwares.

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Assuming you are using QGIS because you mention "attribute table", as Pierre states , you can add a new field and populate it with the year. Another function that is available is YEAR(date):

From the expression dialog:

function year

Extract the year part from a date, or the number of years from an interval.

Date variant

Extract the year part from a date or datetime.

Syntax

year(date)

Arguments

date a date or datetime value

Examples

  • year('2012-05-12') → 2012

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