how to make a map: QGIS

QGIS stands for Quantum GIS (GIS being Geospatial/graphic Information Science, depending on who you ask). You can download it here. QGIS is free to use and can be run on Windows, Mac and Linux. This post is just how to style and export a map.

Your opening page should look something like this, minus the Recent Projects section.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 4.52.26 PM.png

Now what? Download some data! If you want to follow along with what I’m doing, download this.

Unzip the file, then drag it into QGIS. This window should pop up, and hit “Select All” then “OK.”

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 4.58.57 PM

You should see something like this pop up. This is all the files in order. The order can be seen in the left-side box called Layers Panel. But this scale is awful if you look at the titles of our data.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 4.59.13 PM

These are all the tools we’ll use for now. The hand is a panning tool. The +/- magnifying glasses can either be clicked once to zoom in or out or you can pull-draw a box to zoom.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 5.23.41 PM

To get the image below, click the + magnifying glass and pull-draw a box around California.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 5.01.03 PM

Zoom again into Oakland. Now look at the Layers Panel again. Unclick and rearrange as I have done to get below.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 5.07.23 PM

Checkmark: So far we have (a) dragged files, (b) zoomed in, (c) organised layers.

But this map is so ugly. Double click a layer to bring up it’s Properties>Style to change colours.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 5.29.40 PM.png

You may choose how you want to colour your map. (We’ll get into colouring conventions and importance later, just try to see if you can change them). Now we’re going to export the map into Map Layout by pressing Project>New Print Composer. A small dialogue box will ask you to name it.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 5.41.12 PM

Aaaand now your map is gone!  But don’t fret, just scroll downwards.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 5.43.54 PM

Go to the top and click Layout, then whatever you want to add. Add Map will add the map you have in QGIS. Then draw-pull your map onto the page. You can then do the following for whatever else you want to add.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 5.50.19 PM

To add text, click add Label. You can then change the text box in the right-middle panel. Then you can further customise it by clicking “Font.”

I organised my map like this. But there’s still a lot that can be done! Can you think of what?

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 5.46.31 PM

Congrats on making your first map!


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