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If I am looking to build a network based on road features and attributes, is Network Analyst my best bet?

Is it my only bet?

The world of FOSS (Free and Open Source) is new and exciting to me, but I find it difficult to navigate as a newbie.

My intended uses would include tracing the network, finding intersecting features at given locations along the network, and creating network decision rules for route creation.


Answers so far have been great, but could anyone share their personal experiences and preferences as far as routing interfaces are concerned?

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If you are mostly interested in traversal/routing, go with pgRouting.

If you don't find what you need to do there, networkx has a freakishly large number of algorithms for graphs and now loads shapefiles out-of-the-box using OGR.

nx_spatial extends networkx in some minor ways mostly related to utility networks.

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You might want to browse this post:

and look through the previous posts using the Network and Routing tags

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spatiaite has routing capabiliies with a GUI. I have never tried it. http://www.gaia-gis.it/spatialite/spatialite-network-2.3.1.html

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GRASS GIS also has network analysis toolkit, take a look at the v.net.* modules and a detailed tutorial here

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In Alpha release but looks promising:

GeoDaNet (Alpha) - Spatial point pattern analysis on networks (based on PySAL Ptyhon library, concieved in GeoDa centre).

(Slides, manual, download.)

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Not open-source, but I have been using RouteSmart for some time, and recommend it highly. It's specifically designed to solve "high density" routing problems, i.e., those involving a very large number of points that must be serviced regularly. It is not an open-source product but imho worth investing to.

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(Disclaimer: developer plug for my own free product) sDNA

It's not intended to replace network analyst, but to compute higher level statistics on networks (closeness, betweenness, severance, centrality etc). The analyses are quite customizable.

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