Introduction to Geospatial Data and QGIS

Into to GIS


In Person 

This course is in two sessions. It will focus on developing skills and a fundamental understanding of Geospatial data and the basic functionalities of QGIS. Each session begins with a presentation introducing theoretical principles. This is followed by a guided practical exercise where these principles can be tested and applied, as well as developed upon. In the second semester there will be more intermediate courses, such as Spatial Data Visualisation, that would be ideal follow ups for participants. 


The first session offers an introduction to the fundamentals behind Geospatial data and QGIS and covers: 

  • Projections and Coordinate Reference Systems (CRS) 

  • The difference between vectors and rasters 

  • Working with layers in QGIS 

  • Changing projections and the pitfalls of neglecting CRS 

  • Importing vectors, rasters and delimited text layers 

  • Spreadsheets, csv files and attributes/non-spatial data 

  • Saving and sharing geospatial data 

The second session focuses on more complex geospatial processing methods by considering: 

  • Basic visualisation of geospatial data (2D and 3D) 

  • Georeferencing vectors  

  • Exporting and organising geospatial data 

  • Plugins and QGIS as opensource software 

  • Creating new data, attributes and layers using the QGIS Processing Toolbox 

  • Using the field calculator in QGIS 

  • The print composer and exporting maps 

The course will ultimately develop a foundational understanding of Geospatial data and the functionality of QGIS through interactive participation in each session. Crucially, this will foster a familiarity with the basic principles and software, allowing attendees to confidently apply these, or indeed seek out new applications for their own and future research. 

Those who have registered to take part will receive an email with full details on how to get ready for this course. 

After taking part in this course, you may decide that you need some further help in applying what you have learned to your research. If so, you can book a Data Surgery meeting with one of our training fellows.  

More details about Data Surgeries.  

If you’re new to this training event format, or to CDCS training events in general, read more on what to expect from CDCS training. Here you will also find details of our cancellation and no-show policy, which applies to this event.  


If you are interested in other training on geographical data you can have a look at the following:


Return to the Training Homepage to see other available events.

Digital Scholarship Centre

Digital Scholarship Centre, 6th floor

Main Library 

University of Edinburgh 

Edinburgh EH8 9LJ