Tag Archives: QGIS for Biologists

Final Call: Training Course – QGIS For Biologists, 27-28 March 2017

19 Feb

Training Course – An Introduction To Using QGIS In Biological Research

GIS In Ecology will be holding an introductory training course for those who wish to learn how to use the free, open-source GIS software QGIS (also known as Quantum GIS) in all aspects of biological research. The course will be held in Glasgow on the 27th and 28th of March 2017, and it will be taught by Dr Colin D. MacLeod, who has more than 15 years experience in using GIS for a wide variety of biological purposes.

This course is aimed at those just starting to use GIS in their research and who have little or no existing knowledge of this subject area, those who are looking for a free, open source GIS solution for their biological research, and at existing users of commercial GIS software, such as ArcGIS, who wish to learn how to do GIS using QGIS software.

The practical exercises on this course will be based on those in the recently published ‘GIS For Biologists: A Practical Introduction For Undergraduates’ by Dr MacLeod, and a free copy of this book will be provided to all participants.

Attendance will be limited to a maximum of 15 people, and the course will cost £295 per person (£200 for students, the unwaged and those working for registered charities). To book a place, or for more information, email info@GISinEcology.com.

To attend this course, you must bring your own laptop computer and have a working copy of QGIS 2.8.3 pre-installed on it. You can find information about how to get this software package by searching QGIS in any web browser. At the end of the course, all attendees will receive a certificate of attendance and completion.

Glasgow has great transport links and is within half a days travel by car or by fast train links from most cities in the UK. For example, it can be reached in as little as 4h 30mins from London by train. It can also be reached by direct flights from many European cities and the flight time is generally under four hours.

The course will be held in central Glasgow at the IET Glasgow Teacher Building (14 St Enoch Square, Glasgow, G1 4DB, UK).

Attendees will be responsible for their own accommodation. However, Glasgow provides a wide range of accommodation options to fit most budgets.

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Final Call: Training Course – QGIS For Biologists, March 2016

5 Feb

Training Course – An Introduction To Using QGIS In Biological Research

GIS In Ecology will be holding an introductory training course for those who wish to learn how to use the free, open-source GIS software QGIS (also known as Quantum GIS) in all aspects of biological research. The course will be held in Glasgow on the 21st and 22nd of March 2016, and it will be taught by Dr Colin D. MacLeod, who has more than 15 years experience in using GIS for a wide variety of biological purposes.

This course is aimed at those just starting to use GIS in their research and who have little or no existing knowledge of this subject area, those who are looking for a free, open source GIS solution for their biological research, and at existing users of commercial GIS software, such as ArcGIS, who wish to learn how to do GIS using QGIS software.

The practical exercises on this course will be based on those in the recently published ‘GIS For Biologists: A Practical Introduction For Undergraduates’ by Dr MacLeod, and a free copy of this book will be provided to all participants.

Attendance will be limited to a maximum of 15 people, and the course will cost £295 per person (£200 for students, the unwaged and those working for registered charities). To book a place, or for more information, contact info@GISinEcology.com.

To attend this course, you must bring your own laptop computer and have a working copy of QGIS 2.8.3 pre-installed on it. You can find information about how to get this software package by searching QGIS in any web browser. At the end of the course, all attendees will receive a certificate of attendance and completion.

Glasgow has great transport links and is within half a days travel by car or by fast train links from most cities in the UK. For example, it can be reached in as little as 4h 30mins from London by train. It can also be reached by direct flights from many European cities and the flight time is generally under four hours.

The course will be held in central Glasgow at the IET Glasgow Teacher Building (14 St Enoch Square, Glasgow, G1 4DB, UK).

Attendees will be responsible for their own accommodation. However, Glasgow provides a wide range of accommodation options to fit most budgets.

Upcoming Courses From GIS In Ecology: ‘Home Range Analyses’, ‘Creating Custom GIS Tools’ and ‘Using QGIS In Biological Research’

5 Jan

GIS In Ecology will be running three GIS courses for biologists/ecologists over the next few months. These courses will be held in Glasgow in Scotland, and will be taught by Dr Colin D. MacLeod, a biological researcher with more than 15 years experience in using GIS. These courses are:

1. An Introduction To Investigating The Home Ranges Of Individual Animals (15 – 16 February 2016): This course will provide an introduction to investigating the home ranges of individual animals using a GIS-based approach. It will cover how to create a minimum convex polygon (MCP), how to create a kernel density estimate (KDE) in environments with and without barriers to movements, how to create 50 and 95% percentage volume contours (PVCs) and how to select an appropriate bandwidth/h value. This course is aimed at anyone who wishes to use GIS to study the home ranges of animals in either the terrestrial or aquatic environments, even if they have little or no existing knowledge of GIS. It will primarily use ArcGIS software, but it will also cover the use of ArcMET and Geospatial Modelling Environment (GME) for home range analyses. Duration: 2 days. Cost: £295 (£200 for students, unwaged and those working for NGOs). Places will be limited to a maximum of 15 people and will be filled on a first come, first served basis. For more information on this course, visit www.gisinecology.com/Training_Course_Home_Range_February_2016.htm or email info@GISinEcology.com. Places can also be booked through this email address.

2. An Introduction To Creating Custom GIS Tools For Biological Research (17 – 18 February 2016): This course will provide an introduction to the creation of custom GIS tools for use in all areas of biological research. Creating custom GIS tools for biological research allows you not only to automate frequently repeated tasks (saving time and reducing the risk of accidental processing errors), but it also allows non-GIS specialists to process and analyse data using standard protocols in a GIS-based environment by running a single easy-to-use tool. This means that creating custom GIS tool provides an effective way of expanding the pool of individuals within a research group or organisation who can carry out specific and complex GIS tasks. The course will consist of background session which will explain the principles of creating your own custom GIS tools, as well as practical exercises in which a number of example tools will be built and tested. There will also be the option of building your own custom tool to automate a task of your choice. This course assumes that you have at least a basic knowledge of GIS and is not aimed at complete beginners. It will use the ModelBuilder module of ESRI’s ArcGIS software to show how biologists can create custom GIS tools for use in their research. Duration: 2 days. Cost: £295 (£200 for students, unwaged and those working for NGOs). Places will be limited to a maximum of 15 people and will be filled on a first come, first served basis. For more information on this course, visit www.gisinecology.com/Training_Course_Custom_GIS_Tools_February_2016.htm or email info@GISinEcology.com. Places can also be booked through this email address.

3. An Introduction To Using QGIS In Biological Research (21 – 22 March 2016): QGIS (also known as Quantum GIS) is the leading, open source, and so freely available, GIS software (see http://www.qgis.org/en/site/about/index.html for more information), which can be run on Windows, Mac OS and Linux operating systems. This course will provide an introduction to the use of QGIS in biological research. It is aimed at those just starting to use GIS in their research and who have little or no existing knowledge of this subject area, those who are looking for a free, open source GIS solution for their biological research, and at existing users of commercial GIS software, such as ArcGIS, who wish to learn how to do GIS using QGIS software. Duration: 2 days. Cost: £295 (£200 for students, unwaged and those working for NGOs). Places will be limited to a maximum of 15 people and will be filled on a first come, first served basis. For more information on this course, visit www.gisinecology.com/Training_Course_QGIS_For_Biologists_March_2016.htm or email info@GISinEcology.com. Places can also be booked through this email address.

Finally, there are also a very limited number of spaces still available on our January 2016 courses titled ‘An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology’ (18 – 20 January 2016) and ‘An introduction To Using Species Distribution Modelling In the Marine Environment’ (21 – 22 January 2016). For more information on these courses, visit www.gisinecology.com/Training_Course_Glasgow_January_2016.htm, or email info@GISinEcology.com. Places can also be booked through this email address.

Upcoming QGIS Training Course For Biologists

26 Aug

Training Course – An Introduction To Using QGIS In Biological Research, Glasgow, 28th – 29th September 2015

GIS In Ecology will be holding an introductory training course on using the free, open source GIS software QGIS (also known as Quantum GIS) in biological research in Glasgow on the 28th to 29th of September 2015. It will be taught by Dr Colin D. MacLeod, the author of An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology (Pictish Beast Publications). It is aimed at those just starting to use QGIS in their research and who have little or no existing knowledge of this subject area and at existing users of commercial GIS software, such as ArcGIS, who wish to learn how to do GIS using this free GIS software.

Attendance will be limited to a maximum of 15 people. The course will cost £295 per person (£200 for students, the unwaged and those working for registered charities). To book a place, or for more information, contact info@GISinEcology.com.

At the end of the course, all attendees will receive a certificate of attendance and completion. Each certificate is embossed with the GIS In Ecology official stamp to prevent its fraudulent reproduction. In addition, each certificate has its own unique identification number that we will record, along with your name, meaning that we can verify the authenticity of the certificates we issue (and the course you have completed) on request.

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.

Glasgow has great transport links and is within half a days travel by car or by fast train links from most cities in the UK.  For example, it can be reached in as little as 4h 30mins from London by train. It can also be reached by direct flights from many European cities and the flight time is generally under four hours.

The course will be held in central Glasgow at the IET Glasgow Teacher Building (14 St Enoch Square, Glasgow, G1 4DB, UK – click here for information on how to get there and on parking if you are coming by car).

Attendees will be responsible for their own accommodation. However, Glasgow provides a wide range of accommodation options to fit most budgets. Information on hotels in Glasgow can be found here and while information on hostels can be found here.  As a general rule, if you can find accommodation near the venue or one of Glasgow’s Subway stations (click here to see where these stations are located), you will be able to get to the venue very easily.

GIS For Biologists: Tip#2 – An Introduction To The QGIS User Interface

8 Mar

To 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 relatively intuitive to understand and use, but it’s always useful to have someone point out what bits to what, and this is what this video does.

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.

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Dr Colin D. MacLeod,
Founder, GIS In Ecology
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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.


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Dr Colin D. MacLeod,
Founder, GIS In Ecology
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