The Leading Open Source GIS : QGIS

The Leading Open Source GIS : QGIS
The Leading Open Source GIS : QGIS

QGIS is the Leading open source, user-friendly, cross-platform and freely downloadable Geographic Information System (GIS) desktop application that is licensed underneath GNU and it helps viewing, editing, and analysis of geospatial data.

Anybody with an internet connection can visit Quantum GIS homepage and download the required package files based on their OS. It will not cost you anything but just your valuable time as it’s Free to use.

Interested user can download its Package for Mac, Windows, and Linux, its installation package is available for all three OS.

Quantum GIS is the best alternative to commercial GIS desktop software such as ESRI’s ArcGIS suite software due to its user-friendly interface and is currently translated into more than 40 languages.

QGIS Desktop: Powerful desktop GIS software for creating, editing, visualizing, analyzing and publish geospatial data.

QGIS Server & Web Client: Publish OGIS projects and layers as OGC compatible WMS and WFS services.

A brief history of QGIS

Version 1.0, called Kore was released in early 2009 although it was originally developed by Gary Sherman in early 2002, and was adopted as an incubator project of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation in 2007.

QGIS at first wrote in C++ and it makes broad utilization of the Qt library.In addition to Qt, required dependencies of QGIS include GEOS and SQLite. To access additional data formats in QGIS, GDAL, GRASS GIS, PostGIS, and PostgreSQL are also recommended.

Updates and bug fixes are regularly released by a group of volunteer developers who maintained Quantum GIS Application. QGIS has an active user and an active developer community that has translated Quantum GIS software into more than 40 languages and the application is currently used internationally in academic and professional environments. Several companies offer support and feature development services.

Supported Data Formats

Quantum GIS supports many raster and vector formats, by using OGR library QGIS can read and write vector data formats including ESRI shapefiles, MapInfo and MicroStation file formats, AutoCAD DXF, PostGIS, SpatialLite, Oracle Spatial and MSSQL Spatial databases. GRASS vectors and PostgreSQL support is supplied by native QGIS data provider plugins which are written in Python or C++ language.

For using external data sources Web Map Service and Web Feature Service are also supported.

There is a large number of Plugins that are supported by QGIS. By using these plugins anyone can perform basic to advance level GIS task, geocode or can do geoprocessing functions within Quantum GIS application.

Key Features

QGIS provides a huge number of capabilities provided by core functions and plugins.

Customizability: User has the freedom to customize the application as per their needs, from Customs data Input forms to personalized user interfaces and workflows.
Extensibility: QGIS support C++ and Python for creating scripts or stand-alone applications based on the QGIS API.
Interoperability: support a huge range of file formats, databases as well as web services.

Implemented Standards in QGIS

  • Web Map Service (WMS)
  • Web Feature Services (WFS)
  • Catalogue Service for the Web (CSW)
  • Web Coverage Service (WCS)
  • Web Feature Service Transactional (WFS-T)

By Using QGIS Software you can create, edit, manage and export vector and raster layers in several formats. QGIS offers the following:

• Support for editing OpenStreetMap data.
• Can Georeference Raster using a plugin and Georeferenced Images can be saved as screenshots.
• Tools available for OGR supported formats and able to edit shapefiles and GRASS Vector layers.
• Using GPS tools the user can import and export GPX format, and can also convert other GPS formats to GPX.
• Using DB Managers Plugin, User can create spatial database tables from shapefiles.
• DXF Export tool helps to perform CAD-like functions.

Learning QGIS

To learn Open Source GIS application like QGIS, user needs to download the installer packages, which makes it easy to get the software loaded onto their computer. QGIS support groups also available to get help.

Some of the tips on how to get started with QGIS Application:

To Start with, Download the QGIS application for your operating system based on the architecture and make sure it loads properly. Refer the online documentation section of QGIS and download the appropriate user guide.  Make use of the sample data available in the user guide. Follow the steps mentioned in the guide to familiarize yourself with QGIS basic functionality.  Also take advantage to Video Tutorials available in YouTube Platform.

The best way to learn anything in life is to learn by trial and error. Do some experiment with your input data. The more you try, the more you learn. Try some mapping project idea that you can perform on QGIS.

Take advantage of the User Group to get the right help. The QGIS forum is a great place to get help or any task related to QGIS, if you are stuck after consulting user guide and other online QGIS documentation.

Core Plugins included in QGIS:

  1. Topology Checker (Find topological errors in vector layers).
  2. fTools (Analyze and manage vector data).
  3. DB Manager.
  4. Dxf2Shp Converter.
  5. eVIS.
  6. Metasearch catalogue client.
  7. GDAL Tools.
  8. Georeference GDAL.
  9. GPS Tools.
  10. GRASS (Integrate GRASS GIS).
  11. Heatmaps.
  12. Interpolation Plugin (Interpolate based on vertices of a vector layer).
  13. SPIT Tool (To Import shapefiles to PostgreSQL/PostGIS)
  14. Offline Editing (Allow offline editing and synchronizing with databases).
  15. Oracle Spatial GeoRaster.
  16. Processing (formerly SEXTANTE).
  17. Road Graph Plugin (Analyze the shortest path network).
  18. Zone Statistics Plugin.
  19. Spatial Query Plugin.
  20. Coordinate Capture.
  21. Raster Terrain Analysis (Analyze raster based terrain).

Stable Release


Operating System

Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD Compatible



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