Learning outcomes

At the end of this 30 minute overview you will be able to:

Intro to Quantum GIS (QGIS)

QGIS logo

QGIS logo

QGIS is a free and open GIS tool that can be used across many different platforms. You can think of it as ESRI’s ArcGIS but it plays nicely with MACs and PC’s!

QGIS is:

QGIS is an ideal tool to explore geospatial data. Naturally it can also be used for geospatial processing and analysis however keep in mind that these workflows can also be performed in R and Python and make even more reproducible!

NOTE: you can script QGIS analysis in Python.

You can do just about anything you can do with ArcGIS in QGIS including:

  1. data visualization and exploration
  2. Make maps
  3. Edit / Manipulate / create and save new data

Harness greater powers

QGIS plugins

QGIS is an open source product and as with many open source, tools, there are people constantly creating new features via PLUGINS to this tool. To install a plugin, use the Plugins drop down and select manage and install plugins. You will then see a list of plugins - similar to the list below.

QGIS plugins

QGIS plugins

A few favorite plugins:

Note: that there is also a python console tool that can be used to add command line access to the tool.


Create a map of the Gulf of mexico.