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Timezones (TZ) and Daylight Savings Time (DST)

Q has two built-in functions ltime and gtime which can be used to get the UTC time or local time according to the TZ shell environment setting.

One solution for more comprehensive timezone calculations is to have a table that contains the timezones, their UTC offsets, and the datetime of any DST changes. e.g.

timezoneID    gmtDateTime                   gmtOffset            localDateTime                
Europe/Zurich 2006.03.26D01:00:00.000000000 0D02:00:00.000000000 2006.03.26D03:00:00.000000000
Europe/Zurich 2006.10.29D01:00:00.000000000 0D01:00:00.000000000 2006.10.29D02:00:00.000000000
Europe/Zurich 2007.03.25D01:00:00.000000000 0D02:00:00.000000000 2007.03.25D03:00:00.000000000
Europe/Zurich 2007.10.28D01:00:00.000000000 0D01:00:00.000000000 2007.10.28D02:00:00.000000000
Europe/Zurich 2008.03.30D01:00:00.000000000 0D02:00:00.000000000 2008.03.30D03:00:00.000000000
Europe/Zurich 2008.10.26D01:00:00.000000000 0D01:00:00.000000000 2008.10.26D02:00:00.000000000
Europe/Zurich 2009.03.29D01:00:00.000000000 0D02:00:00.000000000 2009.03.29D03:00:00.000000000
Europe/Zurich 2009.10.25D01:00:00.000000000 0D01:00:00.000000000 2009.10.25D02:00:00.000000000
Europe/Zurich 2010.03.28D01:00:00.000000000 0D02:00:00.000000000 2010.03.28D03:00:00.000000000
Europe/Zurich 2010.10.31D01:00:00.000000000 0D01:00:00.000000000 2010.10.31D02:00:00.000000000
Europe/Zurich 2011.03.27D01:00:00.000000000 0D02:00:00.000000000 2011.03.27D03:00:00.000000000
Europe/Zurich 2011.10.30D01:00:00.000000000 0D01:00:00.000000000 2011.10.30D02:00:00.000000000
Europe/Zurich 2012.03.25D01:00:00.000000000 0D02:00:00.000000000 2012.03.25D03:00:00.000000000

and then, using three functions, where t is the timezone table:

lg:{[tz;z] exec gmtDateTime+gmtOffset from aj[`timezoneID`gmtDateTime;([]timezoneID:tz;gmtDateTime:z);t]};
gl:{[tz;z] exec localDateTime-gmtOffset from aj[`timezoneID`localDateTime;([]timezoneID:tz;localDateTime:z);t]};

one can transform between local time and UTC and vice-versa, for any specified timezone.

q)lg[enlist `$"Europe/Zurich";enlist 2010.03.28D01:00:00.000]
q)gl[enlist `$"Europe/Zurich";enlist 2010.03.28D03:00:00.000]

and local times between timezones

q)show ttz[enlist `$"America/New_York";enlist `$"Europe/Zurich";enlist 2010.03.28D03:00:00.000]
q)show ttz[enlist `$"America/New_York";enlist `$"Europe/Zurich";enlist .z.P]

Generating Reference Data

Via TimeZoneDB

TimeZoneDB provides a CSV generated from IANA tz database which can be downloaded from here. Please check any current license details here;

The time_zone.csv can be loaded as follows:

q)t:flip `timezoneID`gmtDateTime`gmtOffset`dst!("S  JIB";csv)0:`:time_zone.csv
q)delete from `t where gmtDateTime>=10170056837;      / remove any unix timestamps greater than our max timestamp
q)update gmtDateTime:12h$-946684800000000000+gmtDateTime*1000000000 from `t; / change datatype timestamp
q)update gmtOffset:16h$gmtOffset*1000000000 from `t;  / change datatype to timespan
q)update localDateTime:gmtDateTime+gmtOffset from `t; / create localtime when change occured
q)`gmtDateTime xasc `t;
q)update `g#timezoneID from `t;

Via Java util

The timezone information can be generated using a brute-force approach in Java, and written to a CSV file using:


Date Period

The above Java code creates times between years 1900 and 2100, and can be edited for different date periods

Import into kdb+ and save to a binary file using

q)t:("SPJ";enlist ",")0:`:tzinfo.csv;
q)update gmtOffset:`timespan$1000000000*gmtOffset from `t;
q)update localDateTime:gmtDateTime+gmtOffset from `t;
q)`gmtDateTime xasc `t;
q)update `g#timezoneID from `t;
q)`:tzinfo set t; / save file for easy distribution

A previously generated CSV can be found at:

KxSystems/cookbook/timezones/ – zipped tzinfo.csv

Via Unix zdump

Alternatively you can use the zdump Unix command.

Valid timezones supported by the system can be found in /usr/share/zoneinfo/ e.g.

q)system"zdump -v Africa/Cairo"
"Africa/Cairo  Fri Dec 13 20:45:52 1901 UTC = Fri Dec 13 22:45:52 1901 EET isdst=0"
"Africa/Cairo  Sat Dec 14 20:45:52 1901 UTC = Sat Dec 14 22:45:52 1901 EET isdst=0"
"Africa/Cairo  Sun Jul 14 21:59:59 1940 UTC = Sun Jul 14 23:59:59 1940 EET isdst=0"
"Africa/Cairo  Sun Jul 14 22:00:00 1940 UTC = Mon Jul 15 01:00:00 1940 EEST isdst=1"

for example, to load a table based on info from Africa/Cairo:

t:([] timezoneID:(); gmtDateTime:(); gmtOffset:(); localDateTime:(); abbr:(); dst:());
  prepend:{if[1=count x;:"0",x];x};
  x:" " vs ssr[x;"  ";" "];
  t1:12h$value "" sv (x[5];enlist".";mon`$x[2];enlist".";prepend[x[3]];enlist"D";x[4];".000000000");
  t2:12h$value "" sv (x[12];enlist".";mon`$x[9];enlist".";prepend[x[10]];enlist"D";x[11];".000000000");
  y upsert (`$x[0];t1;t2-t1;t2;`$x[13];1h$parse @["=" vs x[14];1]);
poptz:{[x;y]uptz[;`t] each system "zdump -v ",x;};