1.2. About the exercises

Now that you know why you want to use QGIS, we can show you how.


This course includes instructions on adding, deleting and altering GIS datasets. We have provided training datasets for this purpose. Before using the techniques described here on your own data, always ensure you have proper backups!

1.2.1. How to use this tutorial

Any text that looks like this refers to something that you can see in the QGIS user interface.

Text that looks ► like ► this directs you through menus.

This kind of text refers to something you can type, such as a command.

This/kind/of.text refers to a path or filename.

This+That refers to a keyboard shortcut comprised of two buttons.

1.2.2. Tiered course objectives

This course caters to different user experience levels. Depending on which category you consider yourself to be in, you can expect a different set of course outcomes. Each category contains information that is essential for the next one, so it’s important to do all exercises that are at or below your level of experience.

★☆☆ Basic

In this category, the course assumes that you have little or no prior experience with theoretical GIS knowledge or the operation of GIS software.

Limited theoretical background will be provided to explain the purpose of an action you will be performing in the program, but the emphasis is on learning by doing.

When you complete the course, you will have a better concept of the possibilities of GIS, and how to harness their power via QGIS.

★★☆ Intermediate

In this category, it is assumed that you have working knowledge and experience of the everyday uses of GIS software.

Building on the instructions for the beginner level will provide you with familiar ground, as well as to make you aware of the cases where QGIS does things slightly differently from other software you may be used to. You will also learn how to use analysis functions in QGIS.

When you complete the course, you should be comfortable with using QGIS for all of the functions you usually need for everyday use.

★★★ Advanced

In this category, the assumption is that you are experienced with GIS software, have knowledge of and experience with spatial databases, using data on a remote server, perhaps writing scripts for analysis purposes, etc.

Building on the instructions for the other two levels will familiarize you with the approach that the QGIS interface follows, and will ensure that you know how to access the basic functions that you need. You will also be shown how to make use of the QGIS plugin system, database access, and so on.

When you complete the course, you should be well-acquainted with the everyday operation of QGIS, as well as its more advanced functions.

1.2.3. Data

The sample data that accompanies this resource is freely available and comes from the following sources:

Download the prepared dataset from the Training data repository and unzip the file. All the necessary data are provided in the exercise_data folder.

If you are an instructor, and would like to use more relevant data, you will find instructions for creating local data in the Preparing Exercise Data appendix.