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A brief introduction to QGIS

In these pages, you will learn how to use the QGIS OpenSource GIS software. If you do not have access to expensive software such as ArcGIS, you will see that it is possible to make maps with free tools and data.

What is open source software?

Open source software is one in which the computer code that makes up the program is published freely, so that anyone can read it and modify it. This means that anyone can find and fix bugs in the software, which can make it more stable and less susceptible to bugs or computer viruses. Free software is also (almost always) free, which is an added advantage.

The disadvantage of open source software is that they have a reputation for lacking user-friendly interfaces, and being difficult to learn. Free software is also generally in constant development, which means that some features may be missing or incomplete. That said, some open source software is more stable and user-friendly than their paid counterparts.

There are several open source GIS programs such as GRASS, uDig, gvSIG, OpenJUMP and Cartographica. In these pages we will use QGIS which you can download for free, and which runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.

While QGIS does not contain all the tools you’ll find in ArcGIS, it allows you to do most of the basic GIS and, more generally, map tasks you may need. It also includes a range of advanced GIS features in the GRASS module, and you can add plug-ins written in Python if you need additional features.

Articles about QGis:
(Articles published before 1 January 2018 are in French)

Comment créer une version portable de QGis 2.8
Créer une base de données SpatiaLite avec QGis 2.8
Importer une table dans une base de données Spatialite
La gestion des tables d’une base de données SpatiaLite avec QGis 2.8
Introduction à la boîte à outils (toolbox) de QGis 2.8
Geocodage d’adresses avec QGis 2.8
Utiliser les images Landsat (gratuites) dans QGis 2.8 pour le NDVI
Créer des profils de terrain sous ArcGis ou QGis
QGis 2.8 Wien: calcul des Courbes hypsométriques
Créer une animation des prévisions marines avec QGis
Intégrer des prévisions météo marines et terrestres gratuites dans QGis
Affichage des cartes marines S57 dans QGis
Comment trouver le systèmes de coordonnées d’une couche dans QGis 2.X?

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