Just like in any other type of Desktop software, we often see a stop section usually on the navigational bar that contains set of tools that can be used to perform certain tasks within an application.
QGIS is one of the software’s that also has this feature which helps you navigate around and explore the different capabilities that come with the software.
Toolbar looks like the one below in the QGIS software environment.
As you can see, there is a lot of options for which you can select from in the toolbar. We are going to be exploring all these options in the tool bar in later courses. In this course we are going to be focusing on the Layer option from the toolbar.
You can always explore some of the other set of options too to expand your skill sets and knowledge as some of the tools are self explanatory.
After all, we need some space where we are able to do our work right? As you can already see on the software package that you have acquired, there is a big space that is currently blank at the moment. That is where most of the visualization and work takes place when using the software.
If you have downloaded and installed QGIS on your machine you should be seeing something like the image represented below:
As the name already states: this is a space and environment where we can get tools that can be used to process our data and produce outcomes.
Processing is that part where certain algorithms are embedded in each of these tools to perform a certain action and task within our project. Data processing is one of the main activities performed within any GIS software.
As you can see in the image above, the toolbar is to the Right of the screen by default. However you can also decide to disable this toolbar and temporarily remove it while you are in your project space. To do that you have to:
Navigate to the top Toolbar and click on Processing. A drop-down menu will appear with a toolbox option that has a greyed box to its left side before the text. This sign means that the toolbox is enabled and in order to disable it all you have to do is click on ToolBox and the sidebar toolbox is automatically disabled. To bring it back you just have to repeat these simple steps.
Browser & Layers Panel
Still on the graphical user interface of our software, to your right there are two panels. The one of top has a heading that reads Browser and the one below reads, Layers. You can also view these with the images below:
Within the Browser panel, we can see there is a list of data formats and paths which we can use to access data within our machine. We can use this panel to add content to our project. For example: If you are on a Windows Machine, you will find a C:\ drive folder within the panel which you can use to navigate to the folder where your data is currently stored on your machine.
There are other methods in which you can also use to get data which is currently hosted online or within a database in your local machine or a hosted server elsewhere. These methods include the ArcGIS Feature Service, WMS/WMTS, Oracle, PostGIS and MSSQL options found within the Browser Panel.
Once we have added data to our project, we can be able to view what kind of data and how much data we have added through the Layers Panel. The panel also gives use the ability and options to manage this data, be it editing, removing or preforming certain tasks within the GIS environment. All of these can be achieved by Right Clicking on a layer and a list of possible options of what you can do with that specific data will appear.