A Geographic Information System (GIS) can be a useful tool for preparing the input of models and tools. Furthermore, in this era of Open Data, data is available that can easily be retrieved from the internet and integrated in open source desktop GIS software, such as QGIS.

QGIS (formerly known as Quantum GIS) is a user-friendly Open Source Geographic Information System (GIS) whose license is covered by the GNU General Public License. QGIS is an official project of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). It works under Linux, Unix, Mac OSX, Windows and Android and supports numerous vector, raster, and database formats. This course has been developed with QGIS version 3.4.
QGIS can be downloaded at

About the e-learning course

The exercises in the course will guide you through different steps that are needed to preprocess data to be used in models and tools.

  • In the first exercise you will learn how to register a scanned topographic map and use it as a backdrop for digitizing vector data.
  • In the second exercise you will learn how to import data from spreadsheets into a GIS and to use it to join tables, manipulate the attribute table and interpolating the data to a continuous raster layer.
  • In the third exercise you will download open access data from OpenStreetMap and use it for further analysis and conversion. The geodatabase will also be introduced in this exercise.
  • In the fourth exercise you will use map algebra for spatial planning. Finally, you will learn how to delineate catchments and streams form digital elevation models and to present them in maps or in an interactive webpage.

Who is this course for?

This course is designed for professionals (engineers and scientists) active in planning and management of water systems, landcover studies and other environmental sectors.

Pre-requisites are a basic knowledge of computing and related topics.


You can do this training without prior knowledge and skills in GIS. Obviously, access to the Internet and basic skills with the computer are required.

Through a collaboration between Nieuwland Geo-information and IHE Delft an online QGIS basic course has been developed with the aim to help you apply QGIS in your own working environment.