Getting Started with QGIS


Here is a very short list of terms which you may come across when you use QGIS.

  • Attribute: a piece of data relating to a feature, for example the name of a settlement, or the population of a region
  • Attribute table: a table showing the attribute values for all the features in a layer
  • Buffer: an area of equal distance drawn around a point, line or polygon
  • Clip: to cut the size of a data object by placing a mask over it - sometimes known as 'cookie cutter'
  • Coordinate Reference System (CRS): the system used to reference the x and y coordinates of your data
  • Feature: an individual object in your data - for example a line, point or polygon
  • Layer: a set of data, usually of one type which can be turned on and off, moved above or below other layers, and styled/labelled
  • Line: vector data which has two ends which don't meet, possibly with intermediate points - for example roads or railway lines
  • Plugin: an optional application which provides additional functionality to QGIS
  • Point: data comprising sets of individual x and y coordinates, but not joined together - for example villages or hospitals
  • Polygon: data comprising one or more closed lines, forming shapes which can be filled - for example land masses, or provinces
  • Print Composer: the layout tool within QGIS which is used to produce maps for output
  • Project: a set of data, styles and Print Composers within QGIS used to make a map
  • Raster: map data which is represented as an image, with pixel values of between 0 and 255
  • Style: the rules used to represent data objects with colour, shapes, icons or charts according to the values of their attributes
  • Vector: data which is represented as sets of coordinates, producing lines, points or polygons