GIS For Biologists: Tip#1 – Downloading And Installing QGIS

5 Mar

QGIS, also known as Quantum GIS, is the leading open source, and so freely available, GIS software. I first looked into QGIS as an alternative to commercial GIS software in 2011, but at that time I felt it didn’t have the functionality needed for most ecologists and biologists, and so I hesitated to recommend it.

However, with the release of QGIS 2.6 late last year (and the latest release of QGIS 2.8.1), I now feel that QGIS can compete with (and in some ways out-compete) many of the commercial GIS software packages I’ve looked at over the years, including the market leader ArcGIS. As a result, QGIS would now be my primary recommendation for GIS software for all biologists and ecologists looking to learn how to use GIS and develop their GIS skills. Not only is this free, but QGIS works in a sufficiently similar manner to ArcGIS that the skills learned using it can easily be transferred across the commercial GIS software packages, such as ArcGIS (especially if you use the shapefile approach which we here at GIS In Ecology recommend for doing GIS in all GIS software packages).

So, to help promote the use of QGIS by biologists and ecologists, I’m going to be putting together a series of ‘How To …’ videos which will help people get started with it. For the first video in the series, I’m starting with the absolute basics: How to download and install QGIS.

If you have any questions or queries about this video, feel free to comment on this post and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Dr Colin D. MacLeod,
Founder, GIS In Ecology

2 Responses to “GIS For Biologists: Tip#1 – Downloading And Installing QGIS”


  1. GIS For Biologists: Tip#2 – An Introduction To The QGIS User Interface | GIS In Ecology - 08/03/2015

    […] follow on from my first GIS For Biologists tip (which covered how to download and install QGIS), this second video will introduce you to the GIS user interface itself. The QGIS user interface is […]

  2. Upcoming QGIS Training Course For Biologists | GIS In Ecology - 26/08/2015

    […] To attend this course, you must bring your own laptop computer and have a working copy of QGIS 2.6 pre-installed on it. You can find information about how to get this software package by clicking here, while you can find a video on how to download and install it here. […]

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