Introduction to QGIS Software?

What is QGIS? Where can you get the mapping software and how can one get to install it on their machine?

Interacting with GIS Software?

Get to know where to find what and how to look for what. Get familiar with GIS Software user interface to enable easy navigation.

Creating Your First Map?

What do we do with the software that we have just acquired? Where do we go if we want to create a map and how do we reach to the end?

Publication and Finalization of the Map?

How do we communicate our map data to an audience? How do we share our maps with the public? What are the various formats that we can use
Layer Tools

So, you are probably wondering and asking yourself why we chose to specialize on the Layer Tool options for now right? 

We are about to get straight into the reasons. Okay, so first of all we need to explain more about these Layer option tools. 

Since in GIS we mainly deal with data, we have different sets of data be it Vector Data or Raster Data. This Layer Option set of tools allows the users to be able to perform certain kind of actions within the software which are data related. Some of the actions that come from this tool bar allow us to:

  • add layers
  • create layers
  • edit layers
  • save layers
  • manage our layers (copy, paste and cut)
  • define layer packages and groups
  • configure certain parameters for our layers and
  • edit the properties

In this course we are going to be using the Add Layers option. Now we are going to explain how each of these options work. Below is a screenshot of this Toolbar option. Make sure you are able to view and see something like the one below on your software in order for us to stay on the same page within this course. 


Allows us to add our data sets into the software by selecting within our machine the location in which the data is stored or we can get these layers from an online environment. This tool gives us the capability to add various types of layers in the project that we are currently working on. The types of layers that we are able to add to the project include:

  • Vector Layer
  • Raster Layer
  • Mesh Layer
  • Delimited Text Layer
  • PostGIS Layer
  • Spatial Lite Layer
  • MSSQL Spatial Layer
  • DB2 Spatial Layer
  • Oracle Spatial Layer
  • WMS/WMTS Layer
  • XYZ Layer
  • ArcGIS Map Service Layer
  • WCS Layer
  • WFS Layer
  • ArcGIS Feature Service Layer
  • Vector Tile Layer

That’s a lot of data that we can get right? Exactly! GIS tools are quite powerful when it comes to data and with QGIS being an Open Source software, it even allows us to get some data from applications that are not for free. For example we can actually get to work with data that comes from an ArcGIS Online Feature Service or ArcGIS Map Service. For this to happen all we need is the link to that Service Layer and we are good to go. 


As the name already says, this tool allows us to create a new layer within our project. This is a really helpful tool in the event you do not have the much needed data or you need to create certain data by digitizing the data. 

You can get satellite imagery and trace through the roads in order to create a Roads data layer that you can use later. 

In creating layers they are important aspects that should not be forgotten or mistake and these include:

  • always name the layer with the appropriate name. Its always wise to give a name aligned to the feature contained in the dataset. 
  • make sure to create relevant attributes for your data. An example when creating a roads data set, you might want to assign names to the  roads so it is always wise to create an attribute column for Name. Certain attributes like Length are automatically filled in for you while creating the data. If not, you can always use the Calculate option which will be discussed in another course. 


This is a tool that allows you to manage your data sources without causing any loss of data or confusion. You are provided with a Windows, where you can also get to add multiple data sources. If you are working on a  project that is going to contain multiple data sources, it is recommended you use this tool so that you add all your relevant data and no data is left out. 

Other Tool Options

The Layers drop down offers more options. In our case some of these options have been greyed out (not-accessible) simply because we haven’t loaded any dataset yet to our project. 

The options which have been greyed out include:

  • Toggle Editing – allows us to edit the layers which have been loaded into our project. Very useful especially for data manipulation. 
  • Layer Properties – allows us to view the data types, metadata, configurations, designs and the way our data is styled and how it displays in our project.
  • Filter – gives us options to filter our data depending on the present attributes contained and what we want to visualize. 
  • Save As – allows the data to be saved in different other formats such as ESRI Package, CSV, Layer Package, Geodatabase, Shapefile and other Spatial extensions in which data can be saved in. 

Other functionalities will be discussed in other courses to follow, for now that’s all you need in order to get you started with Basic Map Making