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Michigan State University

QGIS Training: QGIS Workshop

This guide supports QGIS learners at Michigan State University

Mapping with QGIS

QGIS is a free open-source software program that can perform many GIS tasks and create layouts suitable for export.  It has been around since 2009 and is actively developed and improved.  Enough people know and use QGIS that you can often find answers to your questions through user forums.  This guide was made to accompany a hands-on workshop introducting QGIS.  This guide's URL is

Exercise 1

Exercise 1 Steps:

  • Open shapefiles
  • Zoom
  • Arrange in order
  • Change the colors including no fill
  • Identify
  • Save project

Exercise 2: Using Layer Attributes

  1. What is a shapefile?
  2. Attribute Table
  3. Labeling
  4. Select from table
  5. Select from map

Part 3: Changing layers

  1. Select by intersection-save as new layer
  2. Select by query-save as new layer

Exercise 4: Drawing buffers

  1. Draw 10-mile buffers around each cell phone tower.

Exercise 5: Creating a layout for print or export

  1. Add the map
  2. Adjust the zoom
  3. Add title
  4. Add legend
  5. Add north arrow
  6. Add scale bar
  7. Print
  8. Export

GIS Team

  • Call MSU: (517) 355-1855
  • Visit:
  • MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer.
Michigan State University