Estimated reading time: 6 minutes


Do you want to add Quantum GIS to your toolkit without having the hassle of enrolling in college? Read on to discover what’s in my QGIS tutorial for beginners.

It can be frustrating trying to learn the basics of Quantum GIS because so many QGIS tutorials around the web are incomplete, out-of-date or narrow in their focus. That’s understandable because they’re mostly written by volunteers in their spare time.

In my QGIS Tutorial for Beginners course I teach you the beginners basics of Quantum GIS using videos and downloadable workbooks and datasets, step-by-step follow-along style.

Watch the HD videos on your computer and following along with the exercises using the FREE Quantum GIS Software.

Start now and you could be working on your own QGIS project this time tomorrow!

Imagine what would be like to have your own GIS maps on your own computer and under your control. No more GIS department gatekeepers!

About your instructor

My name is Ian Allan. I am a graduate from (world top 100) Monash University in Melbourne Australia. While doing my post-graduate research, I co-authored the University’s first two GIS courses and taught both grid cell and vector GIS to both undergraduate and graduate students.

I have authored and co-authored fifteen peer reviewed publications. I have worked professionally as a GIS researcher, taught GIS to thousands of students, and worked as a GIS consultant for the United Nations, Australian Federal and State governments, Local government, and the water industry.

What you’ll learn

In my QGIS tutorial for beginners I will teach you…

  • QGIS interface: Tour the QGIS interface
  • How to use QGIS Project Files: Recreate screen environments from days, months or even years ago
  • How to Shade a QGIS Map with data categories: Understand the need to generalize data for some audiences, how to find a color scheme for your GIS project, and how to validate your map.
  • Time-series mapping: Useful for mapping change in urban and rural areas.
  • How to use the QGIS layout feature to present a map.
  • How to create a geopdf: Distribute your QGIS maps as an adobe acrobat geopdf file, complete with GIS functionality like clickable map layers and legends
  • Generic GIS functionality: How to open, navigate and interpret GIS maps and air photos, change how they look on screen, and understand the relationship between a GIS map and the table that lies behind it.
  • To understand GIS conceptually: Why maps have limitations, why GIS maps are also rich databases, what is map overlay and what are the four GIS map objects.
  • That the shapes and colors in GIS maps and GIS air photos can be surrogates for both socio-economic and environmental information. Why visual clues such as block size, watercourse shape, location, condition and even vegetation reveals all sorts of valuable information.

Course reviews

Here’s what some of my students 10,000+ students have had to say about my teaching style…

“A very good beginners course which gives a good amount of detail regarding the GIS theory. I enjoyed the content that was supplied and found myself learning quickly and spending lots of time in between lectures playing around with what I had just been taught. Thank you Ian.”  – Stavros A

“It was very thorough and comprehensive… Ian also covered aspects of GIS Analysis – which increases your learning and appreciation of the capabilities of how powerful the GIS tool can be” – Brian L

“Ian is vast and knowledgeable in what he teaches. I would do another course by Ian if he offered it” – Umar Y

“A very informative course. It helps me review the GIS experience I haven’t used in a while and brush up on my skills. Thanks Ian.” – Jayram S

“Really great introductory-level course! The examples were simple to follow, but also very useful. All the work can be finished while watching the videos, there was no extra work to be done without guidance. I really look forward to the next course by this instructor. – Cheers and well done!” – Nathan L.

“Very good background, easy to follow and helpful for a foundation of GIS.” – Amelia K

“Simple and very clear lectures with the minimum basics/backgrounds to get a taste of what awaits us further and also making us think of what we can do more.” -Boojhawon R

The resources you’ll get

Here’s what you get in this QGIS tutorial for beginners.…

  • You get to eavesdrop as I work: Gain insight into creating GIS maps that you would otherwise likely overlook or possibly never grasp.
  • The QGIS datasets I use in the videos: Download and extract the zip files. Then follow-along with me in the videos.
  • 4 1/2 hours of QGIS training videos: In the videos I’ll show you how to navigate Quantum GIS, create a shaded map, present maps using the QGIS layout feature, export geo-pdf maps for viewing in adobe acrobat, how to think like a GIS analyst and create time-series maps.
  • Two QGIS tutorial pdf eBooks: 181 pages of annotated screen captures and explanatory text to compliment the videos

QGIS tutorial guarantee

Try the course risk free. If within 30 days you’re not satisfied for any reason, return it for a 100% refund and keep the datasets and workbooks.

All the techniques and concepts I teach in my QGIS tutorials have been developed by me and have been proven in both research and consulting environments

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. The course does not use ARC. Does this matter?

A. No, it doesn’t matter. I teach you the basics of GIS in a way that’s applicable to ALL GISs, even Arc.

Q. I have no experience with GIS. Does that matter?

A. No previous Geographical Information Systems or Quntum GIS knowledge needed

Q. I am worried that this course will be like many other technical courses – abstract and hard to follow.

A. All exercises are deliberately based on the type of practical GIS problems that I encounter day-to-day in my GIS consultancy. All my QGIS for Beginners courses use datasets covering the same area – Yarmouth in Massachusetts. That means you get to understand how the value and usefulness of maps over an area increases as more maps are added. Download the datasets and follow-along with the videos.

Q. What Work Materials are there to support the teachings?

A. Two QGIS tutorial pdf eBooks totalling 181 pages with annotated screen captures and explanations to compliment the videos, and zip files containing the same datasets I use in the videos.

Q. Do I need to purchase software to do this course?

A. No, there is no need to purchase software. We’ll use the FREE Quantum GIS (be sure to download the “long term release”).

Q. I want to buy this Quantum GIS course today, but I don’t have time to do the course right now. How long do I have access to it for?

A. You have Unlimited Lifetime Access to the course (including future upgrades)

Q. What if I decide this QGIS tutorial is not for me.

A. I offer an unconditional, no-questions-asked full 30-day money-back guarantee!

Q. If I have a problem, can I ask questions?

A. Yes. I welcome questions because they help me improve the course. Its best to use the course Q&A area for this.

I look forward to having you as my student!


Click here to enrol in my QGIS tutorial for beginners course now. Includes datasets, two eBooks (181 pages), 4 1/2 hours HD follow-along video.

These links to my other GIS for Beginners courses may interest you too…


    3 replies to "QGIS tutorial for Beginners #1: QGIS Orientation"

    • R

      Hi. You do not seem to advise the cost of this course. Pls Advise. Thks R

      • Ian


        Udemy has changed the way it does coupons. I now need to upgrade them each month. Please goto for the latest coupon which will ALWAYS be at the cheapest price udemy allows me to offer it to you for.

        If those coupons don’t work you can email me at ‘courses (AT symbol)’ and I’ll setup new ones for you.

        I appreciate it when you use my coupons because most of your fees goto me. Otherwise I often get as little of 1/4 of what you pay.



    • Iain Stuart

      In the text book you talk about using maps of different scales etc and how photocopying maps and enlarging them doesn’t make them more accurate. You could also helpfully point out that for example topographic maps in the pre-GIS days were only surveyed and mapped to a certain level of accuracy in any case which is actually specified in various not often read documents. So the dot on the map representing a house on a 1:100000 map is only approximately in the right place.


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