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
The Map Design

Now that our data is within the Project space, we need to start designing that map we so wish to visualize and publish.

Please note that the designs created are only for the purposes of learning and are not endorsed as the way one should design their map. They act as a guideline for the procedure taken to achieve the goals outlined. 

Let’s get started…

First thing before we started designing, we need to filter off our data and remain with the relevant data we want to use. We are going to be mapping our Provinces in Zimbabwe so that basically means any other data is not needed in our space it might as well just slow down our machine.

The Province data is the one labelled ZWE_adm1.  In order to filter, all we need to do is to untick the layers in the Layer Panel using the Checkbox provided beside the layer names. We can also permanently remove the layers which are currently not in use by highlighting them and click on the boxed icon with a red-line beneath. We only need to do this if you are sure you do not need that layer in your project otherwise if you make a mistake we will have to repeat the Importing Data stage again.

Styling The Map

Earlier on we mentioned the components that are contained within the data set that we are going to be using for this course. We would like to create a map of all the provinces in Zimbabwe and assign different colors to represent each province in the country. We would also like this map to have labels of each and every province in order for us to easily recognize without taking too much time analyzing.

  • In the Layer panel, Right-Click on the ZWE_adm1 layer.
  • Click on Properties
  • Navigate and click on Symbology

You should also be visualizing a screen like the one above. 

  • Click on the dropdown option where its written Single Symbol and change that to Categorized. 
    The categorized option allows us to style our map basing on categorical data and in this case our different categories will be based on the name of the Province.

    If we wanted to map out say different incidences that have been occurring in these Province and if we had the column to have values for that attribute then we would have been opting for something else like a graduated scale. 

  • Click on Value and select the column in which the data we want to categories lies in. In our case that column is named, NAME_1.

    With the categorized data styling option, it even allows us to categories other values other than String values for example we could categories Integer values and float values from our attribute data. 

    But now, if we were to use Graduated as an option for styling, it would only accept values from columns and attributes which contain data which is Numeric and prevent string values from being Graduated since they cannot be weighed when it comes to statistics. 
    You can try it out by selecting the Graduated option and see if all the other columns from the attribute table are being displayed as an option. 

  • Click on the classify button. 
    All the different names of the Provinces which are contained in our data will be listed within the windows with the Legend, Value and Symbol. You can always change the way things will appear in your legend and even the colours of how the data will be displayed on the map here.

You might have noticed the last value on the list of Provinces within our windows which is written All other and is in italics. For now we do not have any data which does not have a label to it within our NAME_1 column from the ZWE_adm1 data set so we just need to remove that. To do that:

  • Click on the last option (or even any option that you would like to remove in the legend) and make sure it highlights the option. 
  • Click on the subtraction sign () next to the option which you used to classify your data. 
    Once all that is done all we need is to:
  • Click Apply and then finally click OK

Automatically the window will close after the last click and you can be able to visualize which has been styled and designed by Province for you within the project workspace. 

We have come up with the one above but you can always do better than that as they are many ways that you can use to style a map. 


We have accomplished the first stage of the design process but now we need to give labels to our data. How do we do that? What are we going to use for labeling our data? 

  • Navigate to the Layer Panel and right click on the layer (ZWE_adm1)
  • Click on Properties
  • This time click on Labels

The default option has been set to No Labels and we are going to be changing that since we want to be able to know the names of each and every Province and their location. 

  • Click on the dropdown with the no labels text and select Single-Labels

Configurations for appearance and designing the way the labels are displayed will appear in a panel within the opened window as shown below:

In this panel you can configure the following for the labels:

  1. Text
  2. Formatting
  3. Buffer
  4. Mask
  5. Background
  6. Shadow
  7. Callouts
  8. Placement
  9. Rendering

We are not going to be dwelling much on explaining all these, you can basically explore each of them one-by-one and see how they act and what your end result will be like. 

  • After making all the suitable needs and requirements for your map, click on Apply and then click OK

So that’s basically it when creating Basic Maps with QGIS. You can always refer back to the video and get to see what exactly was happening during the process and where we can find the different kinds of tools and options that we have mentioned.