Installing QGIS


The following description is for QGIS 1.6.0
operating under Windows XP.

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QGIS is available for Windows, Linux and Mac. It may soon even be available for smart-phones and tablets.

QGIS is under continuous development with regular updates (releases) that increase its capabilities and, from time to time, fix bugs.

If you look at information available on the QGIS website or other locations around the Internet you will often see screens that look rather different from those shown in the following examples - this is normal and due to a combination of the following

  • Operating system. QGIS behaves slightly differently on Windows, Linux and Mac because it is intended to follow the normal usage of its host machine. These three operating systems may have different conventions for menu and button use - if you are using QGIS under a different operating system you may find buttons and menus in different places and/or order, but the functionality should be the same.
  • Even with the Windows operating system, different versions have quite different “looks”, and that is before any user changes to the default settings
  • As QGIS evolves, the user interface and functionality changes too. This may mean that controls are moved.
  • QGIS can be configured by adding and removing plugins (small add-in programs that add specific additional capabilities to QGIS). Many of these plugins add single or groups of buttons below the menus - they can even add additional menus. The order of groups of buttons can also be changed by the user. When space is short, sometimes button groups will close - dragging them around the button bar or onto new rows will open them again.

Getting QGIS Software

The simplest way to obtain the software is by clicking the   button on the main QGIS page. This will take you to a page where you will have a choice based on your operating system.

Assuming you are using Windows, there are currently three choices:

  1. Standalone Installer (recommended for new users).
  2. OSGeo4W Installer.
  3. Trunk.

It is recommended that you choose the second option unless you wish to co-install the normal and trunk (under development) versions. While you can choose the first method, the second also provides and easy way to install any upgrades.

WARNING: If you are using a computer on a network at work, you may not be allowed to install your own software. Should that be the case, consult your local IT support staff.

    All three options take you through a process that first downloads and runs a program called OSGeo4W.exe. This program is responsible for ensuring that not only is QGIS correctly installed initially, but also that future upgrades should work correctly.

    Option 1 automates the whole process, which is why it is recommended.

    Option 2 simply installs OSGeo4W and expects you to know how to use it. Simply accepting the default options however will install the most recent stable version of QGIS, replacing an earlier version if one is already on your computer.

    Option 3 requires the use of OSGeo4’s Advanced Install option. You will then be able to choose which options to install or install. “Trunk” is the general name given to the latest development version. This version is often changed daily and should normally be regarded a unreliable. It is available so users can fully test each version before final release.

Assuming that you have chosen option 2 above, you should get this new shortcut on your desktop.

Double-click to start and get the following dialog box.

Accept the default “Express Desktop Install” (you would use the “Advanced Install” at this point if you wanted to install “Trunk”) and click “Next”.

There will be some activity while the program collects information from the internet and then the following dialog box should be presented.

You will not initially need all of the packages shown, so it is suggested that you uncheck uDig and OpenEV then click “Next”.

Downloading and installation should now start with a dialog that looks like this

OSGeo4W should now download and install all the different parts of QGIS.

If everything worked correctly, you should now have a QGIS shortcut on your desktop.

If you subsequently install more than one version of QGIS, each will have their own shortcut - note the version number.

Double-click on the shortcut and you will be presented with a “splash screen” unique to each version. After a delay (moderately long the first time you load QGIS, but much faster if restarted later the same day), a screen similar to that shown below should appear.

... and this is roughly what the program should look like when it starts.

If this didn’t work then try the Troubleshooting Guide.

It is also recommended that you download the latest
 User Guide from the website.



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Information on this site is copyright Dauntsey Drainage Board. Most of the maps are based on Ordnance Survey OpenData and additionally covered by that licence.

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