I have a shapefile of crime reports that includes the time a call was received and the time officers arrived on scene. I want to create response times from the difference in these two values. I know QGIS has support for the difference between dates, but I need the difference between two times in hh:mm format. Is there a way to do this in QGIS specifically? I am running QGIS 2.0 standalone version.

  • Are the two times stored in string/text fields just like "hh:mm"? I'm curious about the field type because it really determines how the field calculator needs to be used.
    – SaultDon
    Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 22:40
  • They are currently string fields.
    – cbunn
    Commented Jan 11, 2014 at 16:58
  • You can check out a sample of the dataset at github.com/chadbunn/SLO-Crime/blob/master/timestamp
    – cbunn
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 20:39

2 Answers 2


You can try the hour() field calculator function with a nested age() function:


That should output the difference in hours. But you might have to re-create your input field as Date type and format them like YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS if not already.

I'm not sure if you can use more nested Conversion functions like tointerval() or hour()/minute()/second() in the above expression if field calculator in QGIS doesn't recognize the fields you input because they might be strings.

hour() and age() function for qgis field calculator

  • I am going to give this a shot since I have a year and date field.
    – cbunn
    Commented Jan 11, 2014 at 16:59
  • OK I am having trouble creating new date fields that combine the date with the time_recei, and another with the date and time_arriv. I am unfamiliar with how to create a date type column in QGIS but I see that it is possible. I have put a sample of the dataset at github.com/chadbunn/SLO-Crime/blob/master/timestamp in case you want to check it out. Any help or ideas would be very helpful!
    – cbunn
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 20:37
  • @cbunn Sure, having a peek.
    – SaultDon
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 20:49
  • If you want the shapefile I can email it to you.
    – cbunn
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 20:59
  • @SaulDon I had a thought that I could convert my hh:mm fields to the minute equivalent (i.e. hh*60+mm) to get a total minute count and then derive response times in minutes. Is there a good way to create this formula?
    – cbunn
    Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 22:00

I was not able to do this in QGIS, but I was able to do it simply with Excel and edit my .csv file with a new response time category. I'm sure there is a way to do it in QGIS but I could not figure it out.

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