Learning the FOSS4g Stack: QGIS 3.0 Desktop
4.3 (31 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
127 students enrolled

Learning the FOSS4g Stack: QGIS 3.0 Desktop

become an expert in the open source GIS stack with QGIS 3.0 desktop.
4.3 (31 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
127 students enrolled
Created by Arthur Lembo
Last updated 8/2019
English [Auto]
Current price: $20.99 Original price: $29.99 Discount: 30% off
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This course includes
  • 7 hours on-demand video
  • 1 downloadable resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Understand the basic features that QGIS offers as a complete desktop GIS.
  • Also, you'll learn how to use advanced capabilities in QGIS including plug-ins, statistical tools, modeling tools, and database capabilities.
  • You'll work on actual real-world projects, with real data, to understand the GIS workflow with QGIS.
  • Utilize QGIS to perform raster, vector, and database manipulation
  • Understand how to complete a number of GIS projects from start to finish
  • Some understanding of GIS.
  • Students should download QGIS from the QGIS website
  • Students should be excited about using GIS to solve real world problems, as we'll be using real data (warts and all), and not just pretend data that is perfect all the time.

This course is part of an entire curriculum based on Free and Open Source GIS (FOSS4g) software, and represents one of the most comprehensive curriculum on FOSS4g.  The curriculum are grouped into the categories of Desktop, Server, and Developer parts of the FOSS4g stack.  For this course, you will learn the most popular open source desktop GIS: QGIS.  We'll start with a basic understanding of QGIS, and move on to more sophisticated uses of the software. 

This course uses real data from Tompkins County, New York, and seamlessly integrates with other gisadvisor courses that will teach you Postgres/PostGIS, GDAL, Geoserver, and Python.  You'll be working alongside me as we explore the functionality of QGIS, working with raster, vector, and attribute data.  And most importantly, after you learn the basics of QGIS, we'll simulate some real-world examples of GIS projects and spatial analysis.

Whether you need to learn QGIS for your job, or want to get spun up on FOSS4g to nail that big interview, this course will prepare you to work with the ins-and-outs of QGIS, and give you confidence as you interact with other GIS experts. 

The curriculum is designed so that you can start with either this course, or any of the other courses.  They will refer back and forth with one another, and because we are camping out in the same geographic area, all the courses will use the same data.   As you move through each course, you are going to have experience with all the different parts of the FOSS4g stack. 

Who this course is for:
  • GIS professionals excited to add open source software to their skillset.
  • Computer analysts looking to expand their skill into the open source GIS arena.
  • Students who want to learn what a GIS is, and how it can be used to solve spatial problems.
  • Professionals who know how to use other GIS software, but want to learn how to use QGIS
Course content
Expand all 35 lectures 07:02:23
+ Introducing the course, getting the materials
3 lectures 10:34

This is a general introduction and welcome to the class.  We'll discuss our prerequisites, learning objectives, and other expectations. 

Preview 02:15

In this lecture you'll download QGIS and install it on your local computer.  The current directory for downloading QGIS is located at https://qgis.org/en/site/forusers/download.html

Simply follow the video to download the software, and remember - QGIS is big!  This is going to take some time to complete. 

Installing the software


We're not going to use some small, lame, "everything works perfectly" , training data set.  That's not realistic.  When you take a training course with small, perfect data, you won't have the necessary skills to apply your use of QGIS in the real world.   So, we'll use a real data set of raster, vector, and attribute data from Tompkins County, NY.  This is data for a 900 square mile county, and includes hundreds of megabytes of data.   When you are done with this course, you'll have confidence to know that you can work with your own data.

In addition to the data we provide for this course, you'll obtain a substantial amount of data from cloud-based sources - again, that's something that you have to do in the real world. 

To better understand the tasks ahead of us, we'll have a look at our data so that you understand the context of the different types of GIS processes we'll perform with QGIS.

Make sure to download the tompkins.zip file and place that in a directory called c:\training\tompkins\ 

Preview 05:48
+ Getting started with the QGIS interface
7 lectures 01:44:20

Making sure you can operate at peak performance is a critical piece of good GIS analysis.  The project menu allows us to set the parameters for effectively using QGIS.  You'll learn how to set project properties, set up security parameters, and present data to your users in an intelligent way.

Managing the project: overview of the project menu

Map navigation in QGIS goes way beyond panning and zooming.  QGIS has sophisticated tools for interacting with your data by identifying features, selecting data based on queries, variables, and obtaining high-level statistical summaries.  In this video, we'll see how to interact with both the vector and attribute data.  This of course is limited to the map canvas and navigation tool bar - we'll dive into some really sophisticated capabilities later in the training, but this section will help you master the basic navigation tools you'll perform 90% of the time.  And, if you already use other GIS software, you'll be impressed with the flexibility you have in QGIS.

Moving around the map canvas: overview of the View menu

You can't use a GIS if you can't get data into it.  QGIS has some of the most sophisticated ways to access data.  Whether it's reading basic GIS files like ESRI shapefiles and geodatabases, or reading spatial objects out of enterprise class spatial databases, or even pulling data in from the cloud, QGIS is incredibly powerful, and puts most commercial GIS software to shame.

In this section, you will learn how to bring in raster and vector data from multiple sources, and begin working with many disparate data sources.  In many ways, QGIS is a keystone to accessing all your different data formats, and this video will help you to confidently work with the various sources of data in GIS.  In fact, at the end of this lecture you'll have brought in file based GIS data from shapefiles, kml, and geodatabases, enterprise level data from Postgres, and cloud-based data from multiple, remote servers, proving that QGIS is one of the most powerful data integrators in the GIS field. 

Working with layers, part 1: loading data from external sources.

QGIS has outstanding capabilities to bring in basemaps from all over the world, including Open Street Map, Google Maps, and Bing.  This short lecture is going to show you how to bring in these beautiful cartographic products into your QGIS environment. 

Working with layers, part 1a: adding Open Street Map

QGIS allows you to manage your layers in a very sophisticated manner.  In this section you'll learn how to copy, duplicate, change zoom parameters, group, and filter layers.  These capabilities are really important for managing your data, especially when it gets large. 

Working with layers, part 2: managing layers in a QGIS projejcjt.

QGIS allows you to query attribute data, just like any other GIS.  But, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised when you see how powerful the attribute capabilities are.  In a QGIS environment, you can query both your attributes and geometries within the same query tool.  You'll also see the flexibility of the field calculator. 

Working with layers, part 3: layer attributes

QGIS has really powerful capabilities for symbolizing data - choropleth maps, pie charts, labeling, and advanced classification.  This lecture will provide an overview of the many capabilities for symbolizing GIS data in QGIS. 

Working with layers, part 4: layer symbology
+ Editing data using QGIS
2 lectures 16:12

Like any good GIS, QGIS has a lot of sophisticated tools for editing vector data.  This lecture is going to introduce you to many of the editing capabilities that QGIS has.  Keep in mind, this will only scratch the surface of the kinds of editing tools that QGIS has.  But, the tools we'll look at will be enough to get you through 90% of the kinds of editing you might perform in a GIS project. 

Editing vector data in QGIS: overview of the edit menu

If you edit vector data, you obviously will need to edit attribute data.  This lecture is going to review the attribute editing capabilities in QGIS including how to restructure tables as well as changing individual attributes.

Editing attribute data in QGIS
+ Geoprocessing capabilities in QGIS
4 lectures 52:47

QGIS has tons of classic vector GIS operations, easily accessible from the menu bar.  In this lecture, we'll explore a few of the classic vector GIS operations.  Keep in mind, there are other, really sophisticated vector operations that QGIS performs, and we'll explore those later.  But for now, these might be considered the easily accessible bread and butter vector GIS operations.

Vector GIS analysis: overview of the vector menu
Raster GIS analysis: overview of the raster menu
Raster GIS analysis: overview of the raster menu - part 2

No GIS can do everything.  But, in the case of QGIS, there are thousands of users out there who have created their own solutions, and made them available by way of plug-ins.  With plug-ins, you can find all kinds of interesting GIS solutions that other users have made available. 

In this lecture, we'll look at a few of the plug-ins that are available.  But, we are going to do something different: I'm going to choose plug-ins that I've never tried before, and start working with them 'live', warts and all.  It is a great way for you to not only see some cool capabilities available through the plug-ins, but you'll also see how easy these plug-ins are to use, given that I'm going to be testing them out with you. 

Expanding GIS capabilities: adding plug-ins
+ The Processing Toolbox - can QGIS really do that?
7 lectures 01:27:59

You do not want to miss these next lectures.  If you only stick with the menus in QGIS, you are going to miss most of the really incredible functionality that you have access to.  In fact, most users think the only capabilities within QGIS are what is found in the main manu.  Sadly, many users stop utilizing QGIS because they simply don't realize the vast number of sophisticated GIS tools are right at their fingertips.

The processing toolbar gives you access to over 100 different spatial and non spatial tasks.  And the cool thing is that it isn't just limited to QGIS.  You can use processes from other products like GRASS, SAGA, and GDAL to perform GIS related tasks.  A survey of all the tasks available through the processing toolbox would take hours.  So instead, we'll look at some of the more interesting processes that you have access to.  Keep in mind, you can always scroll through the tasks, read the descriptions, and even click on the "help" button to learn more about what each task does.

Like the title of this section says, if you wonder if QGIS actually can perform a task, the chances are it can, and the more likely place to find it is in the processing toolbar.

Preview 09:28
The processing toolbox: cartography, file management, and network analysis
The processing toolbox: raster capabilities
The processing toolbox: vector analysis
The processing toolbox: vector analysis (general)
The processing toolbox: vector geometry
The processing toolbox: QGIS, and accessing functions from other FOSS4g products
+ Advanced data manipulation in QGIS
2 lectures 37:15

Did you know that QGIS can work interactively with third-party enterprise databases like Postgres and SQL Server.  And when we say work interactively, we don't mean that it can just look at data.  We mean that we can perform full-on spatial SQL.  That means if you can write SQL, you can have QGIS act as a display module for these enterprise databases! 

But, that's not all - QGIS can connect to SQLite and the Spatialite library, so you can also issue spatial SQL against SQLite databases. 

But, what might be the most amazing capability, is that once you bring a layer in from another data source (whether it is a shapefile, KML, or geodatabase), you can start issuing SQL and spatial SQL on those layers too.  That's right!  QGIS can issue spatial SQL commands against and ESRI spatial database!  This is really a game changer in the way that spatial data analytics performs - you can use QGIS to connect to multiple data sources, and issue spatial SQL commands with ease.

The takeaway - You need to learn spatial SQL if you want to truly master spatial data analytics.  This lecture is just a start, and will get you on your way to performing spatial analytics with SQL and QGIS.

Advanced SQL database capabilities in QGIS: overview of the database menu.

This lecture is going to show you how to create a graphical model in QGIS.  This is a similar capability you find in other GIS products like Model Builder within ArcGIS.  QGIS models allow you to define data variables and algorithms.  When you learn how to create a model, you can run that model over and over, store it in your project, or send it to a colleague so that they can run the model on their own data.  With a model, your users no longer have to worry about the underlying functionality within QGIS, but can simply run the model and have sophisticated capabilities run for them. 

Preview 18:51
+ Practical spatial problem solving in QGIS
7 lectures 01:24:06

In this lecture we are going to use a number of spatial tools to perform a land use change analysis.  Specifically, we are going to read land use / land cover data for Tompkins County over the cloud, correct missing data in the database, perform a topological intersection of the data, and then create a cross tabulation matrix using the GROUP STATS add-in.  This is a sophisticated analysis that will really demonstrate the power of QGIS to perform some really advanced GIS work.

assessing land use change, pt. 1: group statistics and cross tabulation matrices

This is the second part of the assessing land use change application.  In part 1 we prepared the data.  In this lecture, we will run the analysis and interpret the results.

assessing land use change, pt. 2: group statistics and cross tabulation matrices

Watersheds are a critical part of environmental analysis. We often need to know the boundaries of a watershed in order to assess the impact that external processes may have to an ecological area. Similarly, we might be assessing a point location, and want to understand he characteristics of the upslope area. 

Given the importance of watersheds, we are going to learn how to create watershed boundaries and upstream contributing areas using digital elevation models and the raster tools available in QGIS and SAGA.

creating watersheds

Now that we understand the process for creating a watershed using SAGA and QGIS together, we are now going to try and turn those steps into a single model.  Once completed, we'll have a model that merges DEMs together, fills the sinks, and generates the upslope area for a particular point.

Creating watersheds with a model

In this lesson, you'll learn how to obtain the Dot Density plug-in from QGIS and create a dot density map.  Also, we'll get our data directly from the web.  Dot density maps are powerful tools for communicating counts of data within areas, so this is a great tool to learn how to use.

creating dot density maps

Did you know that QGIS has the ability to perform sophisticated routing using the OpenStreetMap open route service?  It's really incredible - you can perform least cost paths, creating isochrones, and even  create distance matrices.  You'd think something like this would take a long time to explain, but you'll be amazed that one of our shorter videos can show you how to do all this sophisticated routing using QGIS.

Preview 12:36

As we've previously seen, QGIS has a lot of raster capabilities.  For this lecture, we are going to combine what we previously learned into a map algebra analysis for defining an ecological habitat.  This is another example of tying in those menu items we learned about previously, into an actual working project with real data.  You'll see that QGIS has the same capabilities as other GIS programs for performing raster analysis.

Raster analysis: identifying an ecological habitat
+ Presenting your data to users
3 lectures 29:10

More and more results for GIS analysis are finding their way on the web.  It is a great way to collaborate with others, and QGIS makes it easy with their qgis2web plug-in.  This video will show you how to use qgis2web to create web enabled results from your QGIS projects and analysis.

Putting your data on the Internet with qgis2web and qgiscloud

QGIS has the capability to produce high-quality cartographic products.  This video is going to be short - very short.  But, the point of it is to show you some of the basic cartographic tools available in QGIS as part of the Layout capabilities.  We're only going to introduce basic things like legends, scale bars, grids, titles, and thematic rendering.  This is a nice start to learning how to create more sophisticated maps in QGIS.

Basic cartography: the QGIS Composer

All the gisadvisor.com courses have your learning in mind.  There is a method to the madness.  We focus on the complete FOSS4g technology stack, including the desktop, server, and developer aspects of GIS.  Also, we have decided to stick with a single community: Tompkins County, NY.  This way, you'll see how to use all the different FOSS4g tools with the same data, and we'll even solve the same problems using both desktop GIS tools, SQL queries, and python scripting.  That way, you'll know the benefits that each technology stack brings to your problem solving toolbox. 

You can jump in to any class, at any time.  Just visit www.gisadvisor.com to get access to the courses.

Finally, it gives me no greater joy than to hear the wonderful stories people tell me about how these courses helped them in their job, or helped them to obtain another job because of the skills they've learned.  So please, send me an email about how these courses have helped you become a better GIS professional.

Preview 07:23