Of the best in the news of QGIS 3.X

It is interesting how Open Source initiatives have managed to sustain themselves in a stable way and provide business opportunities for those who have added value to contribute; while allowing dedication to the core of the business knowing that the requirements will be covered by other specialists in their business. Among these models WordPress, PostgreSQL and QGIS deserve my admiration.

It is far from that first post we made of Quantum GIS 1.02 in 2009 and in Implications of QGIS 3 in 2016. The jump with all that it has required has shown a responsibility on the part of its sponsors, commitment on the part of the development community but above all acceptance on the part of the users who, more than expectation, have matured in understanding; beyond Taliban stances against the proprietary initiative, focused on the competitive potential of QGIS. In this article, from our point of view, we will show some new elements and functionalities of the recent changes at least up to what has been shown after this sentence, which we know will not be the last.

“We are pleased to announce the release of QGIS 3.6 'Noosa'! Noosa was the location of a local gathering of Australian developers in the fall of 2017. " Qgis Blog


  • Themes

From the 2.8 Las Palmas version, the view of the interface has been improved, with the most updated design of the action buttons and main menus. In the last known, 3.6 Noosa, you can continue to customize, adapting to the user profile and your visual requirement. We can go from the normal view to the night view, helping those who spend many hours doing various types of processes.

For Qgis 3.4, you enter in the add-ons menu, there the option is located Load QSS - UI themes, in the search engine, and after installing, in the add-ons menu, you will find the option Load UI Theme. From the resulting window you can choose among all the options whichever is more appropriate.

For the 3.6 version, the Night Mapping option will be integrated, and can be activated from the properties of the interface, so that you do not have to download and install add-ons.

  • Search

In the main view, search boxes have been added, with which we can locate functionalities or tools much faster; as, for example: calculator, configurations, processing algorithms, identify the layers of a project, or spatial markers.

In the properties window of the layer, the search box was also added, where you can locate features or processes associated with the layer. For example, the word is placed in the search engine attributes (1), all the commands containing the word attributes (2) appear in the layer's characteristics and functionalities panel, then if we select one of them, it can be seen that one of the options contains the word attributes  

  • Layer indicators

When carrying out any process to the layer, such as attribute filtering, there was no indicator that could suggest that the layer had a filter. In these new versions, both in the 3.4 and the 3.6, process indicators have been added to the layers, such as those shown in the following image, so that the analyst can see which of them is filtered, blocked or is a layer of eraser type.


In these latest updates, a cartographic product can be generated, specifying the profile of the user who will make the changes or edits. In the main menu; It is possible to create as many user profiles as required and the projects of each of the profiles are stored in the root folders of Qgis 3. The path is something like this for Windows users: C: \ User \\ AppData \ Roaming \ QGIS \ QGIS3 \ profiles \ default


Regarding the processing for vector or raster entities, infinities of algorithms have been included, and some others have been improved for a better user experience

  • Reference system

When entering entities that do not contain a defined spatial reference system, the application will request to indicate what the spatial location of these data will be. A window opens, where you can choose from a variety of coordinate systems from around the world, at the bottom of it, the location of the selected system is indicated, on a map and you can verify if it is correct, before adding the data and subsequently location problems are generated.

  • Edition

The edition of entities is now much simpler, such as autocomplete linear or polygonal entities, however, you should still turn on and off the editing, at least for the 3.4 version. Tools have been included such as: softening of entities, topological checks, change of direction -invert line-, or moving vertices of one or all layers. For the 3.6 Noosa version, the possibility of running analysis algorithms during editing is expected, to avoid creating new layers.

In the processing tool box, there are functionalities for selecting elements within the entities according to various types of characteristics, such as: selection by attributes, selection by expression or by location. The developers of Qgis 3.6, have defined another type of selection, called selection by value, associated with the attributes present in the vector entity.

One of the requirements made by the users, was the introduction of the CADTools complement for the 3.6 version, which for none of the 3.X versions, was contemplated, and when installed the add-on manager indicated that it was an outdated version that could not be executed .

  • Labeled

Labeling is another process that has been improved in every way. It is very simple to place a simple label or create a labeling of entities based on rules. To these options is added the blocking, this helps that at the moment that the labels of other layers are being created, they can interfere with the visibility of the entities, of the blocked layer.

  • symbology

New features have been modified and added to obtain the desired symbology faster, such as the access - right button on the layer - to the styles of the entities. In Qgis 3.6 Noosa, aspects such as the display of styles are added xml, in the browser panel or rules.


  • Raster

As for the processes related to the raster, several algorithms have been added to perform extraction and analysis processes. It complements all the above functions, the calculation of statistics of one raster according to another, calculation of volume in a surface, establishment of M values, establishment of Z values ​​according to the vertices of each band, or extraction of contents in binary format - with the form widget for binary fields (blob) -. Also, in this aspect, the unique value renderer and the raster image markers have been included.

  • 3D data

For the 3D data, new options are added such as the shading of the terrain, that is, the analyst will be able to decide the way in which his model will be represented. In addition, you can configure the lights in 3D scenes, where you have 8 lights to which the position, intensity, color and attenuation is established.

Project management

Project management has been improved, including functions such as establishing project folders -as is done in ArcGIS Pro, for example-, thus being able to store all the processes and products related to the project in one place. In the mask Start of project, the start project is established, that is, the route where the data to be processed is

  • Multi-view

Another feature that has entered the platform is the ability to see various views of the map, including those that contain 3D data. From the main menu, in the view option, there are the two possibilities to add views, 2D map view (New map view - ctrl + M) or New 3D map view. After having chosen the type of view to add, they can be placed in different ways and integrated into the main view, from a single side - right panel - there you can place both views or parallel to the main view.

By placing multiviewers, you can verify certain aspects of the main map that will not be seen in the final output of the product. Each new window is fully coupled to the structure of the interface, in addition to being synchronized or not with the data of the main window, viewing the data at a specific scale, showing annotations, the position of the cursor or the labels.

  • Print composition

If we go back to the past, and interact with the operation of this tool for previous versions, everyone will agree that it was quite complicated and cumbersome; until reaching the point where the processed information was extracted and they wanted to use other programs to generate the final product. For these latest versions, this utility has been improved inside, also allowing the printing of the 3D views. The analyst can create one or several compositions of the same view, in addition to being able to add pages to his composition.

Added to all the above mentioned, more features are added, and the possibility of introducing other types of data such as: Support for 3D Mesh - and everything that involves the handling of this data, as the identification of elements-.

  • Packages and geotagged photos

Within Qgis, the use of and packages, so they have kept the packaging of layers inside the processing toolbox - it sounds very familiar to me like I did with ArcGIS Pro-.

It is also expected that other tools that can be used in the 3.4 version will continue to be included, among which can be named: the import of geotagged photos -located in the processing toolbox-. With this tool a point layer is created, where geo-tagged or geolocated images are located. Said images must be in JPEG format, and the whole directory is entered into the system, thus creating the spatial product with altitude characteristics.

Other news Qgis 3.6

In addition to all the aforementioned, the following features, functionalities and add-ons are added, which are incorporated in a manner not comparable with the 2X versions, towards this version:

  • The data source administrator supports the creation of virtual layers, mesh type data - mesh data, and geopacks -
  • The community of users and developers, has commented the use of the C ++ language, for the re-composition or improvement of pre-existing algorithms.
  • The possibility of creating categories, grouping and ungrouping them is a fact. It has also facilitated operators, variables functions that will help to construct expressions in an easier way.
  • The processes or tasks are executed in the background, so they do not interfere in the realization of other activities.
  • Many -including us- We have asked questions in forums about certain features, tools or Qgis functionalities, due to the lack of documentation of many of these elements. For this new version, the developer team has indicated the existence of a better documentation of the processes and tools that make up this GIS.
  • One of the functionalities of which little has been said, but we hope to prove, is the time slider, associated with multi-temporal studies.
  • Hardware acceleration for raster calculator.
  • JSON support for geo packages.

"QGIS is free software and you do not have to pay anything to use it. In fact, we want to encourage people around the world to use it, regardless of their financial or social status. We believe that training people with spatial decision-making tools will result in a better society for all of humanity. "Qgis blog

As analysts and curious in the area of ​​"Geographic Information Systems", this spatial analysis tool, in its version 3.6 Noosa, can provide greater benefits to the construction of products. On the official page of Qgis, are the versions characterized in this article. The difference between each one is that 3.4 Madeira is a long-term release version, with bug fixes that occur during its use. On the other hand, the version 3.6 Noosa is a version richer in characteristics for addicts, but with understandable instabilities, can be presented bugs during its use.

Golgi Alvarez

Writer, researcher, specialist in Land Management Models. He has participated in the conceptualization and implementation of models such as: National Property Administration System SINAP in Honduras, Management Model of Joint Municipalities in Honduras, Integrated Cadastre-Registry Management Model in Nicaragua, Territory Administration System SAT in Colombia . Editor of the Geofumadas knowledge blog since 2007 and creator of the AulaGEO Academy that includes more than 100 courses on GIS - CAD - BIM - Digital Twins topics.

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