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QGIS Review

8 out of 10
November 23, 2021
QGIS is open-source software that can create, edit, store, analyze, visualize geospatial data. In our organization, we used QGIS for the …
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Product Details

What is QGIS?

QGIS (formerly Quantum GIS) is a free and open source geographic information system.

QGIS Technical Details

Deployment TypesOn-premise
Operating SystemsWindows, Linux, Mac
Mobile ApplicationNo


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is QGIS?

QGIS (formerly Quantum GIS) is a free and open source geographic information system.

What is QGIS's best feature?

Reviewers rate Support Rating highest, with a score of 8.1.

Who uses QGIS?

The most common users of QGIS are from Small Businesses (1-50 employees) and the Computer Software industry.

Reviews and Ratings




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November 23, 2021

QGIS Review

CHANCY SHAH | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
QGIS is open-source software that can create, edit, store, analyze, visualize geospatial data. In our organization, we used QGIS for the interpretation and analysis of the satellite images for the application related to Climate Change, Mangroves analysis, Land Use, and Landcover Analysis, Watershed analysis. QGIS software is also used for network planning, route optimization, and creation of Vector data. QGIS software can be used for various applications such as Urban Planning, Environment Conversation, Hydrographic Analysis, Transportation planning, etc.
  • Geospatial Data Analysis
  • 3d Visualization
  • Satellite Image Processing
  • Vector Data Processing
  • Network Planning
  • Big Data Handling and Processing
  • 3D Anlaysis tools should be added
  • Bugs in few plugins
QGIS is well suited to create, analyze and interpret, visualize and store Geospatial Data. It can be used for multiple applications from Urban Planning, Climate Change Analysis, Forest Mapping, Site Selection, Risk Analysis, etc. QGIS is not suited when data doesn't have location information. Although users can add location data into their data using QGIS.
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Similar to RStudio, QGIS allows any user within our organization with an interest in map-making and spatial analysis to explore data and produce results without needed to go through corporate hoops to get access to commercial software. It allows for the democratization of GIS skills across the organization, without the need to silo it to a few people that would make the most of a commercial license.
  • Producing polished maps.
  • Converting between spatial data formats.
  • Applying templates to existing data layers.
  • Interfacing between the underlying data and the mapping component.
  • Including a variety of base layers.
Whenever I need to produce a presentation-ready map I will use QGIS and either produce a full layout from it or just export the map as a bitmap. I often hear back from colleagues asking how I made such a nice map as many don't have experience with GIS software. QGIS is not a "wizard-type" tool, and the number of options can be overwhelming to a number of users. This being said the same could be said of most GIS applications, Google Earth being maybe the one with the lowest barrier of entry, but also the most limited in terms of producing polished outputs.
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We use QGIS to do spatial analysis of large property datasets, develop styling for thematic layers, convert the styling into SLD format to use in Geoserver, and build monthly reports for our clients of the results of their spatial analytics. QGIS is our go-to tool for working with spatial data. We also recommend it to local government/municipalities who are our clients, as a functional and cost-effective replacement for other proprietary GIS packages. By reducing licensing costs, organizations can spend the budget on appointing more spatial analysts or even developers to customize the application to suit their unique requirements.
  • Styling: the styling engine is fantastic with raster styling features that I recognize from apps like Photoshop.
  • Print layouts: I can set up custom print layouts, and even do automated multi-page atlas style reports that I use for cycling through detailed areas when providing my clients with pdf reports.
  • Extendable: the plugins are fantastic, and almost anything I need that isn't provided natively with QGIS is available as a plugin.
  • Community: the QGIS community is passionate about GIS, and are always ready to help. There are great training resources available online.
  • Support is tricky to find: because QGIS is open source, there isn't one single company responsible who I can call when things don't work. However, there are numerous companies that provide support on a consulting basis, often contributing actively to the code base as well (e.g. Kartoza).
  • Doesn't access graphics card: to the best of my knowledge, QGIS doesn't make use of hardware graphics acceleration. But this only becomes an issue when I work with massive datasets (500k+ polygon geometries with 30+ fields).
  • Less well known: ESRI is the default product that most students use when they study geomatics because it is free for academic institutions. So new hires often haven't worked with QGIS before, and find it intimidating. But the learning curve isn't too steep, so it's not a major issue. The biggest challenge is overcoming the natural resistance to change.
QGIS should be the tool of choice for any taxpayer-funded institution, like a municipality of a governmental department. The GIS budget can be spent on employing developers and GIS analysts rather than just siphoning it out to multinational corporations. The staff can then work on improving the product for all users globally, and pretty soon we'll have an unbelievable product that does great good for management.

QGIS is perfect if you don't use GIS absolutely every day, because it is free software, and offers pretty much anything that you can do with proprietary software.

I don't think QGIS has such amazing 3D capabilities yet (although it does exist, and maybe I'm just not proficient enough in its use yet).
There are numerous companies that provide support for QGIS, especially with regard to enterprise implementation. One is Kartoza (https://kartoza.com/), which I can highly recommend. They can also assist with developing plugins and complex styling. North Road is also great (https://north-road.com/). There is also a vibrant online community of users who are passionate about the product, and provide online training resources and blog posts.
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
QGIS is the go-to tool for us to work with the spatial files. It is being used to create and modify shapefiles, generate spatial data, and create maps. We have been using it to add or remove layers in the shapefiles and extract data to and from SQL Server.
  • A major strength of QGIS is that it has a very simple and effective GUI making it easy to work with.
  • It has numerous plugins covering a huge number of functionalities spanning across multiple systems.
  • It is seamless to connect with databases and export and import spatial data to and from.
  • Some of the even simpler tasks need a bit of digging around to find the proper procedure to perform them.
  • There are some quirks in making the OGR work. You need to search and find the best appropriate version if you wish to work with OGR as some of the latest versions don't work too well.
  • I guess the version updates need a bit more work as sometimes it doesn't link with the shapefiles and if you try to open the shapefiles directly you get an error message.
QGIS is very well suited for simpler operations like editing, modifying shapefiles, labeling and coloring it, changing projections. But if you want to export or import data to and from SQL databases, you need to OGR and that's a bit of a hit and miss because of the version incompatibility and whatnot.
Even though there is a no dedicated support team for QGIS (or at least we are not aware of it), there is a huge online community and a large number of forums catering to every question you may have regarding any particular functionality of QGIS. So, you have a lot of help available but you will have to sift through it on the web.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We use QGIS to visualize US election data sets. We are focused on Florida, and Congressional District 17. We publish maps of registered voter demographic data such as age groups, race, gender, and turnout. We also use QGIS for strategic mapping of voter precincts to better target volunteers and canvassing. The majority of our maps are proprietary.
  • Compatibility with ArcGIS allows us to easily use shapefiles published by local municipalities.
  • QGIS has a wealth of plugins for data and shape manipulation.
  • We found the Leaflet export particularly nice to accelerate the development of our live web maps.
  • Compatibility with OpenStreetMap is a great benefit.
  • Editing joined datasets is quirky.
  • Direct connections to SQL are tough. We needed to export the data to Excel for shapefile joins.
  • The print layout is difficult. It's hard to control data marker placement.
If you don't have access to ArcGIS, QGIS is great. It's cross-platform, open source, and free to download. For our purposes it gets the job done. If we had the money we would seriously consider upgrading to the ESRI products for more features. The QGIS ecosystem is widely supported online in forums. We are not professional cartographers, but we were able to figure it out and produce professional-looking maps for our clients.
Maike Holthuijzen | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Within my department, we do a lot of GIS. About half of my coworkers use ArcGIS and half use QGIS. QGIS addresses the problems associated with licensing. It is open source software, so no licensing is required. It is also much easier to install than ArcGIS and (in my experience) crashes less often than ArcGIS. Less crashing and faster install times result in more efficiency and productivity.
  • QGIS is free and very easy to install, and no license is required. Not having to deal with licensing issues has saved me considerable time and frustration.
  • The QGIS help community is very active, and it is easy to find answers. Although QGIS does not offer support in the way that ArcMap does, I was always able to google my question and find either a tutorial or website that solved my problem.
  • QGIS seems to crash less often than ArcMap. It is super annoying to have a program crash when you are in the middle of a project, but I have not had any issues with QGIS. Also, QGIS is updated frequently.
  • Making maps in QGIS is a bit clunky. I also find it to be extremely unintuitive. For basic GIS, it is great, but I would much rather make maps (for publication purposes) in ArcGIS.
  • Editing and adding feature layers is not very intuitive. Changing colors of added point or line features is a rather convoluted process.
  • ArcGIS has a huge selection of online courses, and if you have the appropriate license, you can access most for free. I found these to be very helpful when dealing with map projections and other issues. However, QGIS does not have a large library of courses specifically made for that program.
QGIS is great for companies or individuals who are on a budget but still need powerful GIS software. QGIS is excellent in that it can consume many data formats and basically has all the same capabilities as ArcGIS. In addition, since QGIS is cross-platform it is Linux and Mac friendly, making it more versatile than ArcMap, which only works on Windows machines. In my opinion, it is a little less beginner friendly, so I'd recommend it more to those who have some previous experience with GIS. I would, however, not recommend it for those who mainly want to create maps. I found the map making feature in QGIS very cumbersome.
Eduardo Guillén | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We use QGis as a tool aimed at facilitating the management of geographic information for the territorial development of the Bolivarian University of Venezuela. It does this through monitoring, analysis, development and assessment of academic, sociopolitical, administrative and territorial processes in correspondence with regional geopolitical axes. This type of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) structure is an effective tool that allows superimposing geographically referenced information, and visualizes the relationships between the data obtained and the evaluation of the spatial interaction between the information layers represented. In this way, we can reflect, relate and describe geographic phenomena of any kind and their interrelation with the Bolivarian University of Venezuela at the national level.
  • Documentation and technical support. With this software you will receive all the help you need, if you get stuck in a function you can ask in forums dedicated to QGIS, help manuals including interacting with the help staff.
  • It is updatable. As some developers share their new creations , the ones that already exist will be updated along with the new, so we know that this software will never be obsolete.
  • It has support for PostgreSQL and PostGIS extensions. It also allows a file management in vector formats like Grass, Mapinfo, Shapefile, and others, and can also read several raster files in JPG, TIFF GeoTiff, Mapinfo and Grass.
  • It can be used as a graphical environment for Sig Grass, which uses a large amount of analysis power, using an environment that is easier to understand and use.
  • The Raster data management is surpassed by ArcGIS, its main competitor. Although QGIS + GRASS put up a good fight, there is always some way in which ArcGIS makes it easier; if not for added values, then due to the difficulty of compatibility of plugins with respect to recent versions.
  • An online data arsenal for QGIS. With the OpenLayers plugin it allows many background layers but there is not much more.
  • Have a more friendly and comprehensive tool for accessing plugins, something like a Marketplace, would make things easier, because there are solutions for everything with a specialization focus and should be easier to find.
  • Statistical tools should be more educational
Freedom and access: That QGIS is free is not the most important thing in our opinion. The biggest advantage of using QGIS is access, the ability to provide a powerful tool to a large number of users on any type of computer. In a changing world, decisions have to be made by groups of people on the analysis of data in limited periods of time; QGIS allows you to work spatial data, share it and receive opinions quickly and easily. The software is not limited to a single computer, but to any computer. The analysis is not done in an office, but in an entire institution. According to its license, QGIS is not only free in its price, but also to distribute it, check its source code, or even use parts of QGIS in other programs.

QGIS has a large number of add-ons: The add-ons are characteristic of QGIS since its inception, these are small programs that run within QGIS and serve to do specific tasks. For example, under the distribution of QGIS there are no tools to make an object follow the edge of other objects, but if there is an add-on that does it and it is called AutoTrace.

Ember Urbach, LMSW | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
QGIS was used by select researchers who utilized the mapping software for social and economic data visualization in line with our organization's mission and views on children and adolescent health. This is a low cost/free option for us to create reports and tools for grantors and funders, as well as legislators.
  • Demonstrates geographic-centric data for all levels of readers
  • Makes complicated data more easily digestible and reviewable
  • Increases the ability to explain data to funders, grantors, and stakeholders
  • QGIS is hard to use for beginners. A better tutorial and clearer online tutorials could improve this.
  • Labeling interface is overly complicated. Allowing users to manually add labels to relevant items could be helpful.
  • QGIS should have more "wizards" that can easily import common data points (median income, population density, etc) and cross tabulate that with other categories easily from uploaded data.
QGIS is a great alternative to expensive GIS software for non-profits and new users who are looking to enhance their data visualization and reports to stakeholders. Organizations who are afraid to make a jump and invest in comprehensive GIS software should feel safe and comfortable giving QGIS a try and introducing employees to GIS information software to help improve how they use and learn from data.
Isabel Huamani | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
QGIS is a very complete tool for spatial analysis as well as the elaboration of topographic and thematic cartography. It seems to me an excellent advantage that QGIS allows the connection with R, which is also open source statistical software, allowing to directly relate the data of the various variables with their spatial location.
  • QGIS is an excellent open source GIS tool that has been strengthening over the years.
  • It is not necessary to pay an expensive license to use all the options that it offers us and that is a great benefit, especially to professionals who use the GIS for the development of our work and research
  • It has a friendly interface, it is very easy to use, especially if you have previously handled a GIS tool.
  • I also like the great variety of functions that it offers us and that allows us to solve almost any problem.
  • This software unfortunately tends to be unstable, because sometimes unexpected closures occur.
  • At times I have had problems because I do not execute certain actions and I must restart the program in order to execute the action satisfactorily.
  • On the other hand, the quality of the cartographic output is weak compared to other software.
It's a very good GIS tool. It is a free software that has had a rapid development, it can even be compared with other GIS proprietary software of world reknown.
QGIS allows you to download a large number of add-ons developed by other expert users, which are available to all for free.
In addition QGIS accepts multiple formats such as shapefile, mapinfo layers, binary coverage, raster, among others, which gives the user the facilities and ability to work with the information available.
Cesar A Siso L | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
QGIS has helped us to make all the cartography and maps to do the spatial analysis or urban areas, with the tools for edit, create, customize and print, we have build maps of the entire city emphasizing the maintenance of the highways, sidewalks, and recreational spaces. The software is used only in the planning area with some implications in others spaces like administration or any office who needs gathering information some particular place or of a specific category of urban space. Qgis it is a really good tool to makes plans, organizes information, manages spatial data, makes maps, and for explaining the people who work in the company or general public which are the places where we need to act and how these are distributed in the city.
  • QGIS can manage virtually any kind of spatial data that means you can manage shapefiles, tab files, raster files, cad files, and so many other formats that can help you to make the maps and analyze data in the best way.
  • With QGIS you can add or modify the tools, for example, if you know some programming experience you can modify the software and include your own tool or extension, this can be very useful if you are an entrepreneur who it is starting to involve in the GIS world.
  • QGIScome GNU license and that means that anybody can easily download the software on his computer and manage all the information available on the internet of spatial data or share information with other people who manage the software or has some interest of build some applications or extensions to it.
  • Being an GNU software has some limitations and one of them it is the instability of the software, it can be closed randomly or without any warning and this can be so annoying if you are doing a very hard work, this happens because you do not have any professional customer support, you only have it from other users.
  • The continuous actualizations can be very annoying because the series bring to fast and you can manage the version 2.14 a little and quickly you can have available, who has not so many modifications and the most of time if not even necessary.
  • You have to be aware of the data, with GNU license the data that you download can be wrong or cannot have all the information that you need, sometimes you could find errors in "datum" o coordinates you have to be aware because the data that it uses is made all over the world without any supervision, virtually anyone can put wrong data for the users, and you do not know until you work with it.
QGIS can be a tool for beginners or for users who are not familiar with a private software, the interphase it is very easy to manage, and you can have no problems working with a variety of files like cad, shape or tab because the software allows all. For people who it is starting with GIS this the best to get a basic knowledge and start to develop their abilities.

The users, especially the new ones have to be aware of the dysfunction of the free software, some versions can be very unstable and bring some complications in the middle of a job, you have to be aware of the data and where that data comes from, that data can be wrong or have so many mistakes. Another consideration is related to the basic knowledge of programming language if you do not know a little you can have some troubles because to do a modification in the software you have to know a little about programming.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
I have been visiting and re-vising QGIS periodically since I began working with GIS softwares in 2005, comparing it always to the commercial products I was learning to use in school (ArcGIS, IDRISI, ENVI, ERDAS). Every software I have listed above has evolved greatly over that period of time, but none quite as much as QGIS.

Part of the continual growth of QGIS is in terms of UI refinement and improvements to ease-of-use and workflow. Steadily, the GUI has improved along with the underlying toolset. I feel that now QGIS is certainly the premiere free GIS software, as well as a strong contender in its own right, with lower barriers to entry than any other GIS software, making it my pick for what GIS students and professionals should be trained on first.

After graduating college, I transitioned all of my previous work to QGIS so that I would still have access to my data, maps, analyses, and work despite no longer having access to the various commercial tools I used while at university. The value of being able to "keep" my work with open formats and free tools cannot be understated.
  • The FOSS nature of the software means any and everyone can have access to it, and that those same people can contribute to its growth and development.
  • The ever-expanding library of analyses and tools are a testament to the power of FOSS model, and the advantage it provides compared to the other commercial suites.
  • Cross-platform (Win, Mac, Linux, Android [Beta]).
  • Low (relatively) system requirements.
  • Wide data format support for import/export, with ability to expand via Plugins.
  • Tight integration into OpenStreetMap and other Web Mapping Services (WMS).
  • Acts as a graphical front-end to the GRASS analysis suite, which has been in development since 1984 and contains over 350 modules.
  • GUI still trails others in terms of ease-of-use and modernness (No Ribbon UI, no command searchbar like IDRISI).
  • No direct/easy migration path from ArcGIS (mxd2qgs is not under development and fails under ArcGIS 10.5).
  • No dedicated support channels like you get with commercial GIS software.
I believe that QGIS should be the tool that students and professionals are introduced to GIS with. Despite the slightly difficult UI, it has an immense library of powerful tools and an incredibly low barrier to entry that ensures that those using it can use it wherever, whenever without fear of licensing costs or other restrictions.

Depending upon your environment, I would likely suggest that QGIS not be put into a "production" role without verifying stability and compatibility with the data, workflows, machine, environment, etc., where it is being deployed, though I personally have not had issues in this regard yet when using the installers provided on the QGIS page.
Vladimir Salnikov | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Well, geospatial analytics is a part of my duties. As long as we are developing software, which strongly uses geospatial analytics - we have to prove some kind of research visually, using maps and schemes. QGIS ideally fits us, because it contains all instruments under one suite. Also, it is highly customizable, (using Python scripts and other powerful tools, such as a models designer and the ability to use algorithms from other external GIS software).
  • Processing of multispectral satellite imagery. Using an internal raster calculator you can perform virtually any calculation upon bands. Using Python scripting - you can perform anything.
  • Vector information manipulation and solving some practical tasks as area zoning, weighing factors from the spatial side of view, optimizing grids. A lot of algorithms supported out of the box. And yes, we can always develop our own, using mighty Python scripting.
  • GPS recording and areas digitizing. I've done about 95,000 hectares using a mixed approach - vectorizing upon aerial images and walking around objects with a laptop, connected to a GPS receiver and QGIS, engaged on record.
  • Processing terrain shading, roughness index, and using digital elevation maps. I've used these capabilities for the calculation of erosion danger for agricultural lands.
  • Prepare maps for printing. QGIS allows you to create amazing mockups for maps and export it to PDF up to A0 size. I've used it to print a lot of analytic maps.
  • QGIS lacks predefined support of standard packages for satellite imagery sources. To process metadata from packages (which is used for radiometric correction, atmospheric corrections, DEM corrections, etc) - you need to develop your own scripts or extract metadata manually.
  • QGIS' mobile version for Android does not work so well, because this is a port of the desktop version actually, and a lot of controls are adapted for the use of a mouse, and it's hard to operate with it on touch screens.
  • Caching of tiles when using WMS/WMTS layers. QGIS doesn't manage it, so working with remote layers can be a real pain [during] a slow internet connection.
Imagine a small startup company, which is developing some sophisticated product, but in the situation of financial hunger. In this case, instead of spending a lot of money for buying expensive software, it would be better to use free, open sourced solutions, just like QGIS is. It provides virtually all functionality like commercial software does but with no cost. This will allow you to save money for a company, or use it more effectively.