The QGIS Class at TNGIC

Apr 30, 2018 | GIS, TNGIC

So for those of you just tuning in (, I did a QGIS 4 hour intro class at TNGIC. TNGIC is the State GIS group. They’ve been around a good while. I don’t really participate that much anymore. Why? Eh – There’s  a few things I like doing and going to conferences doesn’t rate high anymore. I’m excited about FOSS4GNA because I get to see a lot of friends. Well – and the presentations. Mostly the people.

What happened – It was all pretty comical. Conferences are really just screw off time for a lot of people. This conference was at Montgomery Bell State Park. So you drive to Nashville, Head west for about 20 or so miles (maybe more) you end up in a pretty nice state park that has limited everything. 7 people signed up. By the time I gave everyone 15 minutes to get settled I had about 20 people in there. That set off a mad scramble to grab QGIS and follow along. We covered QGIS 3 in all it’s gory details – well as much gory detail as I could muster in 3.5 hours. There were questions. I had most of the answers. Three things stuck out at this event. Well – four.

  1. I broke my first rule of training in that “I’m not doing it for free”. We bartered and they paid for a room. So I had the chance to ride my bike and goof off a bit as I didn’t have great internet access. I worked a little that night. Did some pretty cool things I’ll talk about coming up. Plus hand out business cards. So overall – I’m OK with this.
  2. One guy walked up and went “you’re the website guy – with the tutorials?” and I said “probably”. Turns out he had been using them to get some much needed work down using QGIS. I had helped someone without even knowing. Which – made me take a hard look at the tutorial pages and realized I need to do something to make them easier to manage. They are behind – still useful but behind.
  3. A park ranger snuck into the class. We started talking and turns out he needed GIS help – as in he had to share with the entire state about 10 ArcGIS licenses. So we started looking at what he needed done vs what he was doing. 100% can be done with QGIS. Most of their data is stored locally. So that was a win. Hopefully he emails with more questions. I’m all for people becoming self sufficient.

I make a  decent living off the FOSS4G and my 26 years of being in the Geospatial Industry. These days I mostly try to focus on the data for work and really only get passionate about software during classes. I generally pitch QGIS as “another Tool in the Tool Box”. So part 4:

  • If you bought arcview and hate it – there’s no reason to stick with it. QGIS is better than an Arcview license. I ran into a few that just went “Well we already bought ESRI <fill in the blank> and we’re stuck”. Well – no you aren’t. Don’t get rid of it – just add to the tool set. It isn’t all or nothing these days.
  • Twenty six years ago we struggled to get and maintain data. Flash forward to 2018 and there are still people struggling to get and maintain data.
  • People in the class looked at QGIS similar to a software company. Do they make a “collector type of app”? Well no – this isn’t a company it’s a group of people. There are some mobile apps like this, that, and the other thing but it’s not a software company. QGIS grows as the community grows. Which caused me to play with QFIELD that night. It’s a mobile data collection app from the QGIS side of life.

So I’m adjusting the class. The first time I taught this class people had questions and problems. There are still questions and problems but it’s morphed into a more advanced line of thought. Can I get the data out into the field? My AutoCAD package can pull in spatialite…can I work in Spatialite? Those weren’t questions from 5 years ago. So I need to update and adjust. It’s a good thing – it’s been over a year or two since I’ve taught this large of a group and fielded questions.

Next outing is in St Loius at FOSS4GNA.

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