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QGIS offers many common GIS functionalities provided by core features and plugins. As a short summary they are presented in six categories to gain a first insight.

View data

You can 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 MSSQL Spatial, Oracle Spatial, vector formats supported by the installed OGR library, including ESRI shapefiles, MapInfo, SDTS, GML and many more, see section Working with Vector Data.
  • Raster and imagery formats supported by the installed GDAL (Geospatial Data Abstraction Library) library, such as GeoTiff, Erdas Img., ArcInfo Ascii Grid, JPEG, PNG and many more, see section Working with Raster Data.
  • QGIS processing framework to call hundreds of native and third party algorithms from QGIS, see section Processing Introduction.
  • GRASS raster and vector data from GRASS databases (location/mapset), see section GRASS GIS Integration.
  • Online spatial data served as OGC Web Services, such as (WMS, WMTS, WCS, WFS, WFS-T, ...), see section Working with OGC Data.
  • OpenStreetMap data, see section OpenStreetMap.

Explore data and compose maps

You can compose maps and interactively explore spatial data with a friendly GUI. The many helpful tools available in the GUI include e.g.:

  • QGIS browser
  • On-the-fly reprojection
  • DB Manager
  • Map composer
  • Overview panel
  • Spatial bookmarks
  • Annotation tools
  • Identify/select features
  • Edit/view/search attributes
  • Feature labeling also data defined
  • Change vector and raster symbology also data defined
  • Add a graticule layers to create an atlas map composition
  • Decorate your map with a north arrow scale bar and copyright label
  • Save and restore projects

Create, edit, manage and export data

You can create, edit, manage and export vector and raster layers in several formats. QGIS offers e.g. the following:

  • Digitizing tools for OGR supported formats and GRASS vector layer
  • Create and edit shapefiles and GRASS vector layers
  • Geocode images with the Georeferencer plugin
  • GPS tools to import and export GPX format, and convert other GPS formats to GPX or down/upload directly to a GPS unit (on Linux, usb: has been addedto list of GPS devices)
  • Visualize and edit OpenStreetMap data
  • Create spatial database tables from shapefiles with DB Manager plugin
  • Improved handling of spatial database tables
  • Manage vector attribute tables
  • Save screenshots as georeferenced images

Analyse data

You can perform spatial data analysis on spatial databases and other OGR supported formats. QGIS currently offers vector analysis, sampling, geoprocessing, geometry and database management tools. You can also use the integrated GRASS tools, which include the complete GRASS functionality of more than 400 modules (See Section GRASS GIS Integration). Or you work with the Processing Plugin, which provides powerful geospatial analysis framework to call native and third party algorithms from QGIS, such as GDAL, SAGA, GRASS, fTools and more (see section Introduction).

Publish maps on the Internet

QGIS can be used as a WMS, WMTS, WMS-C or WFS and WFS-T client, and as WMS or WFS server (see section Working with OGC Data). Additionally you can export data publish them on the Internet using a webserver with UMN MapServer or GeoServer installed.

Extend QGIS functionality through plugins

QGIS can be adapted to your special needs with the extensible plugin architecture. QGIS provides libraries that can be used to create plugins. You can even create new applications with C++ or Python!

Core Plugins

  1. Coordinate Capture (Capture mouse coordinates in different CRS)
  2. DB Manager (Exchange, edit and view layers and tables; execute SQL queries)
  3. Diagram Overlay (Placing diagrams on vector layer)
  4. Dxf2Shp Converter (Convert DXF to Shape)
  5. eVIS (Event Visualization Tool)
  6. fTools (Tools for vector data analysis and management)
  7. GDALTools (Integrate GDAL Tools into QGIS)
  8. Georeferencer GDAL (Adding projection information to raster using GDAL)
  9. GPS Tools (Loading and importing GPS data)
  10. GRASS (GRASS GIS integration)
  11. Heatmap (Generating raster heatmaps from point data)
  12. Interpolation plugin (interpolate based on vertices of a vector layer)
  13. Mapserver Export (Export QGIS project file to a MapServer map file)
  14. Offline Editing (Allow offline editing and synchronizing with database)
  15. Open Layers plugin (OpenStreetMap, Google Maps, Bing Maps layers and more)
  16. Oracle Spatial GeoRaster
  17. Processing (formerly SEXTANTE)
  18. Raster terrain analysis (Raster based terrain analysis)
  19. Road graph plugin (Shortest Path network analysis)
  20. Spatial Query Plugin
  21. SPIT (Import Shapefile to PostgreSQL/PostGIS)
  22. SQL Anywhere Plugin (Store vector layers within a SQL Anywhere database)
  23. Topology Checker (Finding topological errors in vector layers)
  24. Zonal statistics plugin (Calculate count, sum, mean of raster for each polygon of a vector layer)

External Python Plugins

QGIS offers a growing number of external python plugins that are provided by the community. These plugins reside in the official plugins repository, and can be easily installed using the Python Plugin Installer (See Section Loading an external QGIS Plugin).

Python Console

For scripting, it is possible to take advantage of an integrated Python console. It can be opened from menu: Plugins ‣ Python Console. The console opens as a non-modal utility window. 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.

For further information about working with the Python Console and Programming Py|qg| plugins and applications, please refer to http://www.qgis.org/html/en/docs/pyqgis_developer_cookbook/index.html.