Practical QGIS

Terra GIS is offering a three 3 day online class on QGIS Desktop GIS ( taught live from Seattle, Washington). The class will focus on practical exercises in a workshop style setting.

The class content has been designed for GIS users with at least an intermediate knowledge level in mind (as no GIS basics will be covered). It will also enable ArcGIS users to easily transition to using QGIS and its comprehensive tool kit (or to use it in addition to their existing GIS software). QGIS  is a powerful desktop GIS system that is known for having a user-friendly interface, being able to access the most common data formats, both vector and raster ones. It features a wide range of tools for working with geographic information ( layout creation, analysis tools, geo-processing, model builder, etc.) and provides excellent cartography, spatial analysis tools, and a wide range of spatial database connectivity. Via the QGIS community a wide range of  plug-ins that are extending the core functionality are available  ( to the point that nearly everything you ever wished to use a GIS for seems to be possible). It is an open source project that is published under the GNU General Public License (GPL), which allows its free use, distribution, study and improvement.

In class participants will connect to the interactive online session (hosted via via a web browser and internet connection. For audio either one – native computer audio or alternatively local phone call-in lines can be used. In class we will use QGIS v. 3.14 (Pi) for the hands-on exercises which is available for Windows, Mac and Linux computer operating systems.

Topics of the class are as follows (time indications for individual class sections below are not exact but approximate time estimates to give an idea of the focus of the class):

Day 1 – Monday December 7th
Overview and Foundations of QGIS
~30 minutes
  The QGIS project and it’s community  
  Technical Foundations of QGIS (Libraries GDAL, OGR, PROJ4 )  
Practical Introduction to QGIS and Basic Functionalities
  Installation (OSGeo4W vs. stand alone)
~30 minutes
  QGIS Basics and Interface Overview ~1 hour
    Supported Data Formats  
    Exploring and using vector and raster data  
    Layer + map properties  
    Best practices, using map templates  
    Customization and settings (user interface)  
  Exercises – Creating Maps ~2.5 hours
    Symbology / Cartography  
    Using layouts for cartography and printing maps  
    Working with tables and layers
(editing features and attribute data, digitizing)
    Joining layers and tables  
  Exercises – Managing Raster Data ~2 hours
    Overviews, Virtual Raster Tables (VRT)  
    Raster calculator  
    Hill shade, slope, aspect (from DEM)  
Day 2 – Tuesday December 8th
(a working knowledge of the content covered on day one is a prerequisite
to ‘feel at home’ on this day)

Extended functionalities with QGIS – Overview and Exercises
  Map Layout and Atlas Creation ~1.5 hours
  Geospatial Processing Tools ~2 hours
    Spatial Analysis  
    Using the geo-processing tools and graphical model builder  
    Integration with external programs
(Grass, R Statistical Software, SAGA GIS, Lidar tools etc.)
  QGIS Plug-ins – a short Overview e.g.
~2 hours
    Google/ Bing / Open Street map  
    Semi Automatic Classification Plug-in (Remote sensing)  
  Python Scripts and Interface – Intro
~30 minutes
  QGIS User Resources ~30 minutes
Day 3 – Wednesday December 9th
(a working knowledge of the content covered on day one and two is a prerequisite to ‘feel at home’ on this day)
Advanced functionalities with QGIS
  Using Layer ‘Actions’ to automate things
~1 hour
  Editing Layers ~1.5 hours
    Using defined value drop down menus
(called domains in ArcGIS)
    Using custom interface dialogs  
  QGIS and Spatial Databases ~2 hours
    Connecting to PostGIS, Spatialite  
    Exporting/Importing data to/from spatial databases  
    Creating and using dynamic layers  
  Using Python and R (Statistics program) scripts
~2 hours
    Using Python to automate things  
    Connecting and using external resources
(e.g. Google Earth Engine)
    Integrating R Scripts  


The class will be presented by Karsten Vennemann who has over 12 years of experience with FOSS4G software and has lead numerous workshops in GIS throughout his 20+ years career in GIS.


First Day      – Monday December 7th           (8:30 am – 4:30 pm)
Second Day – Tuesday December 8th          (8:30 am – 4:30 pm)
Third Day     – Wednesday December 9th     (8:30 am – 4:30 pm)

each day with one hour lunch break plus two 15 minute short breaks

Participants can choose to attend the full three day class or optionally attend only one or two of the three days. Day two and three builds on the topics covered on the previous day respectively. Please inquire about other potential class dates if you are interested but cant make the dates.

Class size

  • minimum of 6, maximum of 16 participants


  • single day (day one or two or three) US $325/per person
  • 2 days US $595/per person
  • 3 days US $750/per person


Live Online Session,  each day 8:30 am – 4:30 pm PST  (UTC -7:00 hours )

For this class you will use your own computer

Guidelines about operating systems

Windows computers running on Win 7, 8 or 10. You will need administrative rights on the machine in order to install the QGIS software and plug-ins. Make sure to have a minimum of 5GB of disk space to copy the class materials onto your system. The file system of your laptop has to be NTFS (not FAT32). If you are planning to use a machine that doesn’t comply with these requirements please contact us and we can talk about whether your specific case will work out just fine for the class.
Mac computers – there might be some potential issues using QGIS on the newest versions of the Catalina operating system – e.g. Mac OS Catalina (10.15). Please make sure to contact the instructor prior to the class so these issues can be resolved .

Target Audience/Prerequisites

GIS Specialists/Analysts/Programmers – at least intermediate level as no GIS basics will be covered. This course is designed for GIS users who want to learn about effectively using QGIS as a desktop tool. ArcGIS users will feel at home as differences between ArcGIS and QGIS will be illustrated for those who are interested.


Please contact us via email (at info [at] terragis [dot] net to receive a registration form) if you like to register or call us at 206 905 1711 with additional questions.