Book review – Discover QGIS 3.X – A Workbook for Classroom and Independent study

Today’s post is my long ago promised book review of one of my favorite print ressources when it comes to GIS – the new QGIS workbook. QGIS is a free software (easily download it here!) which is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. I use it for some time now, I think my first version I can remember properly (meaning that I have really worked a lot with) was QGIS 2.6 or something like that. The current LTR Version (LTR meaning long term release) is 3.10.14. I tried some things with the newest one (3.16) already, but unfortunately stumbled across some issues and bugs, so I will stick with the LTR for some more time. Documentation and other useful ressources can be also found online at the QGIS website in the “For Users” section!

I did one book review on another QGIS workbook so far, which you can find and read here: review on QGIS Map Design.

Hard Facts: Kurt Menke, Discover QGIS 3.x – A Workbook for Classroom and Independent study, Locate Press LLC, Chugiak, AK (2019), ISBN: 978-0998547763, 402 pages.

The book is based on the LTR QGIS 3.6, but there are only few differences to 3.10, so it is a really useful print ressource to work with. The topics cover spatial anlysis, data management, Advanced Data Visualization and cartography and it comes with a lot of exercises which can be downloaded for free. It even contains all the information on the data used as well as all the solutions for the various exercises. The appendices cover keyboard shortcuts, some useful plugins, and how to get involved in the QGIS communitiy.
There is also an Index in the end, providing an overview on the most important keywords, but actually very short to my mind (only 2 pages). So, if I want to look up a more specific problem, I had to look for the next generic term.

More infomation can be found on the book website: https://locatepress.com/dq3.

There are five main parts:

  • Introduction to Geospatial Technology
  • Spatial Analysis
  • Data Acquisition and Management
  • Cartographic Design
  • Advanced Data Visualization

The main parts are broken down in exercises with a number of tasks (between 2 and 5 of them). The explanations are easy to understand, given step by step and every single aspect, symbol and navigation possibility is written down. Even absolute beginners can easily find their way with these detailed informations. I use some of the exercises to refresh some of my knowledge and it worked everytime and helped me a lot.

It is also a good ressource while designing a beginner’s course for students in Archaeology or Classics, because I use the layout of exercises and tasks to arrange the various topics I want to cover in my course in a easy understandable way.

But even though my main opinion on this ressource is quite good, there are some mistakes in it – some explanation steps are missing or are described incorrectly. But, there is an Errata collection at the book website – to be found here.

My one and only wish for let’s say the next good workbook on discovering QGIS is: please add a section on discussion on data sources – if possible for all continents; or at least, add the best online ressources and suggestions where to find data to work with. Without data no map can be produced. The workbook provides a useful collection, but it would be a good point to add how to document your own data sets or how to work with somebody else’s data sets and what important points to keep in mind. Like, how was this data collected, to with standards, what was the research question behind all this, etc.

I know this from my classics background, called “Quellenkritik” or criticism on the sources you work with. Data sets are also sources you have to assess based on certain standards.

To come to an end with this short review post, I can say that I really can recommend this book to all the beginners out there who want to learn about QGIS. If you are working in Classics or Archaeology as well, I might give you another advice: The tutorials of Anthroyeti, specialized for an archaeologist’s use of QGIS (to be found here).
As soon as possible I would like to write about my experiences with this online tutorials (so, the next blogpost plans exist…) 😉

So, if you want to get started, get this book and just start! 🙂 And you will see, QGIS is a great program to work with. And with a really nice and helping community!

All the best, stay safe –

Astrid 🙂

 

 


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