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Getting started with Qgis

Start Qgis from the Upper Ubuntu Bar selecting : Application > Science > Qgis
The Qgis GUI is basically composed by:

  • main menu Main qgis menue;
  • a map visualization window to navigate and visualize maps

Visualization window

  • toolbars to access different gis functions

 Qgis toolbars including as an example the map navigation toolbar Map Navigation Toolbar to zoom in and out maps.

  • panels such as the layer panel to organize uploaded data

Layers panel
or the coordinate capture panel to select locations and know their geographical coordinates.
Coordinate caputre panel
Different Panels and toolbars exists and we can visualize it or not selecting them from the Qgis Main menue > Views.

Qgis plugins

Several GIS functions are provided by Qgis plugins. To access plugins we can download them and install them from the Main menue > plugins > Fetch python plugins

Import data

Qgis allows to import all Gdal/Ogr map format and immediately reproject them on the fly to the same geographic reference system for a quick visualization. On the lower right side of qgis gui click on the CRS status logo QGIS CRS status function to access the project properties > Coordinate Reference System tab and be sure to have active the tab on the enable 'on the fly' CRS transformation.

Import raster data

  • From the Qgis menu select: Layer > Add raster layer .. or click on the menage layers toolbar icon
  • click on browse and search for the GLC2000eastafrica.tif file located in the

~/ost4sem/exercise/basic_qgis/data/raster/GLC2000/ folder and select it

  • click on open

Import vectors

  • From the Qgis menu select: Layer > Add vector layer .. or click on the menage layers toolbar icon
  • click on browse and search for the EastAfrica.shp file located in the ~/ost4sem/exercise/basicqgis/data/vector/administrative folder, select it
  • click on open



The administrative boundary for East Africa are derived by a selection of the original world administrative boundary available to download from the UNEP geodata web portal. The land cover of east Africa raster map is derived by a portion of the JRC's Global Land cover year 2000 map Download here


Working with vectors

Query and clipping vectors

We now open the administrative boundary of East Africa, select the administrative layers of Tanzania and create a new vector layer inclusive of the newly selected Tanzania administrative boundary.

  • On the Layer panel → Left click on the East_Africa data, then → Open attribute table
  • The attribute Table pops up type Tanzania in the Look for option and select in CNTRY NAME and click the search button; click on the Show selected records only and close the Attribute Table window
  • Click on Layer > Save vector layer as .. > brows the target folder for the output and write a name of your choice (ex.: ~/ost4sem/exercise/basic_qgis/data/vector/administrative/tanzania.tif )

Join attributes tables and query

We open a new point vector layer corresponding to populated places in Tanzania, we merge the attribute table to the administrative boundary in Tanzania and select cities within the regions of Morogoro, Pwani and Dar es Salaam. Afterwards we can create a new vector layer inclusive of the selected cities.

  • Open the citytanzania.shp and tanzania.shp files in the ~/ost4sem/exercise/basicqgis/data/vector/administrative folder
    Visualize maps and play with colors and legends double clicking on maps names in the layer panel. Try to create the map shown below.
    City in zanzania
  • From Qgis menue select vector > Data Management Tools > join attributes by location
  • In the Join attributes by location pop up windows select city tanzania in the Target vector layer option
  • Select tanzania in the join vector layer option;
  • Select take attributes of first located feature as Attribute Summary option
  • Browse ../vector/administrative folder and write cityadmintanzania as output file name then click on OK (see below)


    Now we have created a new point vector layer called cityadmintanzania.shp including cities and administrative boundary attributes. We use this last layer to query by a sql statement the cities of a particular administrative region:
  • Left click on the cityadmintanzania layer → Open attribute table
  • Click on advanced search and type or click the following query in the search query builder
ADMIN_NAME = 'Morogoro' OR ADMIN_NAME = 'Pwani' OR ADMIN_NAME = 'Dar es Salaam'
  • In the qgis menu go to layer → Save selection as vector file …
  • Browse the ~/ost4sem/exercise/basic_qgis/data/vector/administrative folder and save the file as morogoropwanyDeScities.shp.
  • The final map should look like the one below.

Cities of Morogoro, Pwani and Dar es Salaam

Load X Y coordinate point data from txt file to vector file

Frequently vector point data are provided in text files with formats looking like the one here below:

ID,x,w,attribute\\
1,170000,8671000,white\\
2,169600,8671000,blue\\
3,169200,8671000,white\\
4,169600,8672000,black\\
…

To import such text file we can use the delimited text plugins of qgis:

  • Select Plugins > Delimited text > Add delimited text layer from the qgis menu
  • From the Create a layer from a Delimited text pop up window type a space in the delimiter string option
The space string is used for our text input file, otherwise the string can be tab or comma or semicolon accordingly to the input data availability.


  • Browse and select the input text file as an example the ../Data/Point/FieldPlotsdemo.txt
  • Select the x and y field and an output file name and path and click on OK as shown below



Working with rasters


Clipping rasters

  • Load the tanzania.shp vector layer and the GLC2000eastafrica.tif raster file
  • Zoom in using the icon and select a limited area from East Africa including Tanzania
  • Select in the menu Raster > Clipper > Output file; browse to ~/ost4sem/exercise/basicqgis/data/raster/GLC2000/ folder and write a name at your choice such as GLC2000tanzania.tif
  • Select a limited area from East Africa area corresponding to Tanzania ; go back to the raster Clipper window and click ok
  • Double click on the GLC2000tanzania layer in the Layers panel
  • Go to symbology > colour map and select colormap > Load style
  • Brows to ~/ost4sem/exercise/basicqgis/data/raster/GLC2000/GLC2000.qml select it click to apply and OK
    Try to reproduce a final Land cover map of Tanzania including country borders and landcover classes like the one here below.
wiki/wikiqgis/startqgis.txt · Last modified: 2021/01/20 20:36 (external edit)