I need to develop my own GIS software, and I have no GIS background. However, I am willing to learn. This is what I want to do:
I want to develop a transportation routing program and combine it with USA County boundary information. Essentially, this is the way it should work:
I am on the phone with a truck driver, and I am trying to roughly input his annual routing history. For example, the driver may make 15 to 20 trips during the year from one city to another, and then make the return trip. I input the Origin City and Destination City. The program makes a reasonable guess as to the route taken, based on available highway data, and keeps track of the time the trip takes based on my input of average speed. Every county in the USA has been assigned a value (based on a predetermined, fixed criteria) between 0 and 100. At the end of the trip, the program prints out a list of every county “crossed” during the entire route.
Additionally, the program would choose and print out each county (and its predetermined value) that the driver was in based on a specified time interval. For example, I would like to list every county the driver was in AT precisely 24 hour intervals, so that if a trip took 3 days, the output would be 3 counties – each being the “calculated” county the driver was in after 3 intervals of 24 hours of driving. Lastly, the program would total the three predetermined county values to one sum. The program would be able to easily make the same calculations for the return trip, and then duplicate the entire round trip information for the number of times the entire round trip was made during the year.
Specifically, I would like some feedback on how I would go about developing this program from the “ground up”. Thoughts regarding the feasibility of using Quantum GIS? Also, I found County geodata at a US Census Bureau site www.census.gov/geo/www/cob/cs_metadata.html . The two file formats that might seem feasible are ARC/INFO Export (.e00) format and ArcView Shapefile (.shp) format. Would these file formats be usable by Quantum GIS?
Any other suggestions on accomplishing this project would be greatly appreciated. Thank You