It’s a great time to be a GIS Professional. The industry is booming, ArcGIS Pro is a complete overhaul of ESRI’s desktop GIS product. Radian Studio is busy rewriting GIS algorithms to take advantage of massively parallel processing in modern computer architectures that can make short work of computer intensive spatial operations. Meanwhile in the open source world, the community of QGIS users is very close to releasing a major new version in QGIS 3.0.
From outward appearances, QGIS 3.0 is not drastically different from earlier versions. The editing work-flow has had major improvements although the changes appear to be quite intuitive to those familiar with previous releases. Many algorithms have been re-written to be much faster and stable under the hood and many now run in the background and don’t block the user interface. There is a new 3D map viewer. Geopackage is everywhere, as a core technology. The menu system has seen some minor re-organization and some tasks have been moved from the menu to the processing framework. For programmers the PyQgis python API has seen many changes. This means most plug-ins will need to be re-written but hopefully this will be seen as an opportunity for improvement.
QGIS has always been about making the basic GIS functions, including multi-user, enterprise level functions, work well and be available to everyone at no cost. They have no marketing department to demand all the new bells and whistles that most GIS users never need. QGIS is developed by users, for users. What they do, I believe, they do exceptionally well.
If you’ve been interested in learning how you can leverage the abilities of QGIS for your organization, there has never been a better time to learn. The release of version 3.0 means that it will likely be many years before there will be significant new changes to re-learn. This is especially true for those who will be extending its capabilities with PyQgis.
QGIS 3.0 was originally scheduled to be released in December, 2017. I timed the release of my course for that date, but it was not actually released until late February, 2018. As such the original version of this course had some things that are already out of date. I will be updating the course to match with the official release date ASAP and expect it to be fully compatible by mid-March 2018.
If you would like to learn more about why QGIS should be part of your GIS toolkit, please read this blogpost. If you would like to learn more about the tools QGIS has for open-source web GIS please read this blogpost.
If you are ready to start learning now, please consider taking my course QGIS 3.0 for GIS Professionals. There are currently 68 video lectures containing a total of 9 hours of content. This course covers everything from panning and zooming to model building and the python editor. It is not a beginner course, I assume that you understand GIS concepts and are familiar with commercial GIS software such as ArcGIS. The goal is to show you how to complete your task in QGIS and get you pointed in the right direction to learn more on your own. You can see the entire syllabus on the Udemy web site.
I consider this to be a live course in that I expect to be adding new lectures in the future as additional topics arise or are requested by students. Like all my courses it is available on the Udemy platform which means that there is lifetime availability 24/7 so you can start whenever you choose and take as long as you need to finish. You can also download the course to a mobile device and watch them off-line if you are traveling outside of an area with internet access. You can even gift a course through the Udemy platform in case you need a last-minute christmas gift for the GIS Professional in your life.
I designed this course so that newer users can watch from start to finish in order to get familiar with the software. At the same time, each lecture is a stand alone product so that more proficient users can use it as a reference product and just search for specific features on an as-needed basis.
I also have a course available on working with spatial databases that uses QGIS 3.0. More information here.