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Introduction to QGIS
(Adding GIS data, attribute table, identity tool,
symbology and creating maps)

Kapil Oberai, IIRS

About QGIS (

QGIS is a user friendly Open Source Geographic

Information System (GIS) licensed under the GNU
General Public License.
QGIS is an official project of the Open Source
Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo).
It runs on Linux, Unix, Mac OSX, Windows and Android
QGIS aims to be a user-friendly GIS, providing common
functions and features
Supports numerous vector, raster, and database formats
and functionalities.

About QGIS Contd

The project was born in May of 2002

Latest release is QGIS 2.10 Pisa (26.06.2015).
Pisa was the host city to our developer meet up in
March 2010.
QGIS is developed using the Qt toolkit and C++.


Its free- No initial fee, no recurring fee, nothing.

Its free, as in liberty
Its constantly developing- QGIS never stagnates
Extensive help and documentation is available

QGIS Features
QGIS offers many common GIS functionalities provided by core
features and plugins

View data: view and overlay vector and raster data in different formats
and projections without conversion to an internal or common format.
Supported formats include:
Spatially-enabled tables and views using PostGIS, SpatiaLite and MS SQL
Spatial, Oracle Spatial, vector formats supported by the installed OGR
library, including ESRI shapefiles, MapInfo, GML etc.
Raster and imagery formats supported by the installed GDAL (Geospatial
Data Abstraction Library) library, such as GeoTIFF, ERDAS IMG, ArcInfo ASCII
Integration with GRASS GIS GRASS raster and vector data from GRASS
Online spatial data served as OGC-compliant Web Map Service (WMS) or
Web Feature Service (WFS),
OpenStreetMap data

QGIS Features Contd

Explore data and compose maps
Allows to compose maps and interactively explore spatial data with a friendly GUI. The
many helpful tools available in the GUI include:

QGIS Browser

On-the-fly reprojection

DB Manager

Overview panel

Spatial bookmarks

Annotation tools

Identify/select features

Edit/view/search attributes

Feature labeling

Change vector and raster symbology

Decorate your map with a north arrow, scale bar etc

QGIS Features Contd

Create, edit, manage and export data
QGIS offers the following:

Digitizing tools

Ability to create and edit shapefiles

Georeferencer plugin

GPS tools to import and export GPX format, download/upload to a GPS

Support for visualizing and editing OpenStreetMap data
Ability to create spatial database tables from shapefiles with DB Manager

Tools for managing vector attribute tables

QGIS Features Contd

Analyse data

spatial data analysis on spatial databases and other OGR supported formats.

Vector/raster analysis, geometry and database management tools.

Use the integrated GRASS tools, which include the complete GRASS functionality of
more than 400 modules.
Processing Plugin, which provides a powerful geospatial analysis framework to call
native and third-party algorithms from QGIS, such as GDAL, SAGA, GRASS etc.

Publish maps on the Internet

publish your data on the Internet using a

Webserver with MapServer or GeoServer installed.

QGIS can also be used as a WMS or WFS client

QGIS Features Contd

Extend QGIS functionality through plugins
QGIS provides libraries that can be used to create plugins.
Even create new applications with C++ or Python.
Core Plugins
o Coordinate Capture
o DB Manager (Exchange, edit and view layers
and tables; execute SQL queries)
o eVIS (Visualize events)
o fTools (Analyze and manage vector data)
o GDALTools (Integrate GDAL Tools into QGIS)
o Georeferencer
o GPS Tools (Load and import GPS data)
o GRASS (Integrate GRASS GIS)
o Oracle Spatial GeoRaster
o Metasearch Catalogue Client

o Processing (formerly SEXTANTE)

o Raster Terrain Analysis
o Road Graph Plugin (Analyze a
shortest-path network)
o Spatial Query Plugin
o SPIT (Import shapefiles to
oTopology Checker (Find topological
errors in vector layers)
o Zonal Statistics Plugin

External Python Plugins- official Plugins Repository; provided by the community

QGIS Features Contd

For scripting, it is possible to take advantage of an integrated

Python console, PluginsPython Console.
For interaction with the QGIS environment, there is the
qgis.utils.iface variable, which is an instance of QgsInterface.
This interface allows access to the map canvas, menus, toolbars
and other parts of the QGIS application.


packages are available
for Windows and Mac
packages (rpm and deb)
Get the latest information
on binary packages at the
QGIS website at
You can now open QGIS
from your Start Menu.


QGIS Browser

Create, edit, visualise, analyse


Browse and preview your data

and metadata


1. Menu Bar
2. Tool Bar
3. Layers List / Browser Panel

4. Map Canvas
5. Side Toolbar
6. Status Bar

Loading Vector Data

Add Vector Layer button

OR Layer Add Layer Add vector layer

The by-default filter is *.shp file. But there are many choices such as *.kml,
Microstation, GML,GPX etc

Vector Properties Dialog

Provides information about the layer, symbology settings and labeling options

Identify features

Schema/Fields, add a new field

Table Joins

the data from the other file has

been successfully joined to


Attribute Table

Attribute Table Contd

Attribute Table Contd

Field Calculator
perform calculations on
the basis of existing attribute
values or defined functions,
e.g., to calculate length or
area of geometry features.
results can be written to a
new attribute column, or
they can be used to
update values in an existing

Query Builder Window

Layer menu -> Query
Query Builder allows to define
a subset of a table using a SQLlike WHERE clause
display the result in the main
query result can then be
saved as a new vector layer.

Create Separate Layers

Loading an ArcInfo Binary Coverage

toolbar button to open the Add Vector Layer dialog
Select Directory as Source type

Delimited Text Files

OpenStreetMap Vectors

Select Vector-> OpenStreetMap -> Download Data

You can then open the .osm file using
the Add Vector Layer button.

PostgreSQL/PostGIS Layers

Spatial Bookmarks

Spatial bookmarks are and easy and quick way of navigating around
different areas of the map canvas that you are working on.
If there is a particular area you need to keep revisiting it is best to create a
bookmark for this location.

Zoom in on the area you want to bookmark

Click the New bookmark icon

Name the bookmark

To revisit this click the Show Bookmarks icon and select the one you want

You can delete bookmarks in this directory when they are no longer useful

Loading raster data in QGIS

QGIS uses the GDAL library to read and write raster data formats,
including ArcInfo Binary Grid, ArcInfo ASCII Grid, GeoTIFF, ERDAS IMAGINE
Raster layers are loaded either by:

Layer -> Add Layer ->Add Raster Layer or

Raster Properties Dialog

Creating Maps- QGIS Print Composer

Print Composer provides layout and printing capabilities.

It allows to add elements such as the QGIS map canvas, text labels, images,
legends, scale bars, basic shapes, arrows, attribute tables and HTML

Allows to size, group, align and position each element and adjust the
properties to create your layout.
The layout can be printed or exported to image formats, PDF etc

Open a new Print Composer Template

Before starting with the Print Composer, load some raster and vector layers
in the QGIS map canvas and adapt their properties

Project New Print Composer or

prompted to choose a title for the new Composer

Creating Maps Contd

Adding a current QGIS map canvas to the Print

Drag a rectangle onto the Composer canvas with
the left mouse button to add the map
Move the map by clicking and dragging it around
Adding a title, legend, scalebar, table, frame, grid
Exporting your map

Creating Maps Contd

Your Map

as SVG
as PDF

Make sure the save paths setting is on relative not absolute this will allow the
project you save to remember where all the files are (if you open the project on
another computer or from another directory and it comes up with an error saying
it cant locate the layers this is probably the problem).


Plugins add new functionality to

They are written in C++ or Python
Can be dynamically loaded and
unloaded from the GUI

Plugins-> Manage and Install Plugins

QGIS as OGC Data Client

SPIT Plugin

QGIS processing framework

geoprocessing environment enables to

call native and third-party algorithms
from QGIS, making spatial analysis tasks
more productive and easy to accomplish.
The graphical modeler

Opengeo Explorer Plugin

eVis Plugin

Enables to easily link photographs, and other

supporting documents, to vector data in QGIS.

Some Useful Links
Ujaval Gandhi
Learning QGIS 2.0 by Anita Graser