7 Advanced features in QGIS

QGIS is a powerful tool and it can be used to tackle a wide range of transport problems that have geographic components. In this second part of the booklet we will go beyond the foundations of read-in and visualising data covered in the previous chapter and move on to geographic analysis.

7.1 Learning Objectives:

The aim of this second part of the booklet is to introduce vector and raster GIS skills (in the next two chapters) that will be used in the subsequent practicals in subsequent chapters. If you are reading this book as part of modules, the content will give you vital skills that will help with the assessed practical.

Learning objectives:

  • Process key GIS data types; vector and raster.

  • Carry out common vector geoprocessing tasks such as joining, selection, buffering and point in polygon operations.

  • Carry out a raster processing activity.

  • Visualise transport flows as part of an accessibility analysis.

  • Understand that more complex GIS operations can be achieved in QGIS by using “plug-ins”.

  • Be aware of a range openly available spatial data available to and useful to sustainable transport planning.

7.2 Getting help on QGIS

Before continuing with the practicals, it is worth being aware of places to get help when using QGIS (further resources are provided in the final chapter). Simply searching online for a particular functionality or issue can yield rewards. However, it can help to be specific when searching, and to be aware of high quality resources.

Probably the most reliable documentation on how to use QGIS is the QGIS Training Manual, an open resource developed by the core QGIS team. The advantages of that official document over online searches is that it is reliable and up-to-date. There is also an official QGIS User Guide. We recommend searching for a topic in these resources before searching the whole of the internet to ensure high quality and up-to-date results.

Another good source of information is the forum gis.stackexchange.com, where you can search for specific issues not covered in the main documents and, after you have set-up an account, ask questions to the community.

Finally, for the most technical questions you can ask the QGIS and Plugin developers directly on development platforms such as GitHub. A wealth of information on upcoming changes and issues can be found online at https://github.com/qgis/QGIS/. Be warned though: this developer conversation may be of little use to you and only be relevant for the development version of QGIS.

In summary, there are a range of ways to get help online, and starting with QGIS’s official documentation is recommended.

7.3 Exercises

  • Search for “Routing QGIS” and “Map matching QGIS”. Which results do you think are most useful?
  • Create an account on https://gis.stackexchange.com/, take a look at some questions and think about the features of a good question
  • Set-up a GitHub account and take a look at the QGIS source code at https://github.com/qgis/QGIS/