I have a points dataset of fire incidents, where each incident's date is recorded.

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I am currently counting the number of incidents per year, by selecting features by expression - using the expression ACQ_DATE LIKE '%2001%' , ACQ_DATE LIKE '%2002%' etc for each year from 2001-2021.

I wish to do this automatically using one expression, which outputs a CSV that looks like the following.

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2 Answers 2


The easiest way would be to use a virtual layer :

  • Go to : > Layer > Add Layer > Add/Edit Virtual Layer...
  • In the "Create virtual Layer" dialog click on import and choose your point dataset
  • In the query part make an SQL query like this one : SELECT year(ACQ_DATE) as year, COUNT(ACQ_DATE) as 'number of incidents' FROM YOUR_LAYER GROUP BY year(ACQ_DATE); (replace "YOUR_LAYER" by the actual layer name of your point dataset)
  • Click the "Add" button

This will add a table with two column : year and number of incident, you could easily export this table as CSV by right clicking on it and choose Export > Save Feature As...

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  • I have need replace year(ACQ_DATE) with strftime('%Y', ACQ_DATE) for it to work. My date field is type date in a postgres db
    – BERA
    Sep 26, 2021 at 10:10

Use this expression. Normalle, if using field calculator, it calculates the same list (each year + number of entries per year) separately for each feature. To avoid that, simply select one feature and then run field calculator with the box checked next to Only update 1 selected features.

If your date is indeed formatted as date (not as text), instead of left (ACQ_DATE,4) you can use year (ACQ_DATE).

replace (
    array_to_string (
        array_sort (
            array_distinct (
                array_agg (
                    left (ACQ_DATE,4)  || ': ' || 
                            to_int (left (ACQ_DATE,4)), 
                            group_by:=to_int(left (ACQ_DATE,4))
                    ))  || '\n'

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  • When I click ok nothing happens? The counts appear in the preview however
    – Stuey17
    Sep 28, 2021 at 15:23
  • 1
    Are you sure nothing happens? Did you set Output field type to text (and make sure it's long enough)?
    – Babel
    Sep 28, 2021 at 15:26

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