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Download QGIS 3: The most advanced and user-friendly GIS software

How to Download QGIS 3: A Free and Open Source Geographic Information System

If you are looking for a powerful, user-friendly, and cost-effective tool to work with spatial data, you might want to consider QGIS 3. QGIS 3 is the latest version of QGIS, a free and open source geographic information system that can create, edit, store, analyze, visualize, and publish geospatial data. In this article, we will show you how to download QGIS 3 for Windows, Mac, or Linux, and how to start using it for your GIS projects.

What is QGIS 3 and why use it?

QGIS 3 is the third major release of QGIS, which was formerly known as Quantum GIS. QGIS 3 was released in February 2018 and introduced many new features and improvements over the previous versions. Some of the highlights of QGIS 3 are:

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QGIS 3 features and benefits

  • Native support for point cloud data, which are collections of points that represent the shape and surface of objects or landscapes.

  • Interactive and fully integrated interface for working with 3D data and visualizations.

  • Locator bar that makes it easy to search for functions, datasets, and more.

  • More non-blocking and inline editing tools that allow you to modify data without interrupting your workflow.

  • Data-defined symbology and labeling that enable you to customize the appearance of your data based on attributes or expressions.

  • Atlas map composition that allows you to create dynamic maps that change according to a coverage layer.

  • Improved support for online spatial data served as OGC Web Services, such as WMS, WMTS, WCS, WFS, and WFS-T.

  • QGIS Hub that extends the plugin site to support the distribution of community-developed styles, projects, and processing models.

  • Compatibility with Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS operating systems.

  • Access to a wealth of GIS functions provided by core features and plugins.

QGIS 3 offers many advantages over other GIS software applications, such as being free and open source, having a large user base and support community, offering innovative features for editing, analysis, and mapping, and being fast and easy to use.

QGIS 3 installation requirements

To install QGIS 3 on your computer, you need to meet some minimum requirements. These include:

  • A computer with at least a dual-core processor (2 GHz or faster) and at least 4 GB of RAM (8 GB or more recommended).

  • A graphics card that supports OpenGL ES version 2.0 or higher (for 2D rendering) or OpenGL version 4.5 or higher (for 3D rendering).

  • A monitor with a resolution of at least 1024 x 768 pixels (higher resolutions recommended).

  • An internet connection for downloading QGIS 3 and accessing online services.

How to download QGIS 3 for Windows, Mac, or Linux

To download QGIS 3 for your operating system, you need to follow these steps:

Downloading QGIS 3 from the official website

  • In your web browser, navigate to On the official website, click on the Download Now button for your operating system.

  • On the next page, choose the version of QGIS 3 that you want to download. You can select either the latest release (QGIS 3.22.1 'Białowieża') or the long-term release (QGIS 3.16.14 'Hannover'). The latest release has more features and bug fixes, but the long-term release has more stability and support.

  • Click on the download link for your operating system and architecture (32-bit or 64-bit). This will take you to a page with a list of download mirrors.

  • Select a mirror that is close to your location and click on the link to download the installer file.

  • Save the installer file to your computer and run it when the download is complete.

Installing QGIS 3 from binaries or source code

If you prefer to install QGIS 3 from binaries or source code, you can follow these steps:

  • Download the binaries or source code for QGIS 3 from . You can find them under the Advanced Users section.

  • Extract the files to a folder on your computer.

  • Follow the instructions in the README file or the INSTALL file to install QGIS 3 on your system.

Downloading sample data for QGIS 3

If you want to practice using QGIS 3 with some sample data, you can download them from . You can find them under the Sample Data section.

  • Click on the link for the sample data that you want to download. There are two options: Alaska (USA) or OSGeoLive (World).

  • Save the zip file to your computer and extract it to a folder of your choice.

  • Open QGIS 3 and add the sample data as layers using the Data Source Manager toolbar or the Layer menu.

How to start using QGIS 3

Now that you have downloaded and installed QGIS 3, you can start using it for your GIS projects. Here are some basic steps to get you started:

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Loading raster and vector data in QGIS 3

Raster data are images that represent continuous surfaces, such as elevation, temperature, or satellite imagery. Vector data are points, lines, or polygons that represent discrete features, such as roads, buildings, or boundaries.

To load raster or vector data in QGIS 3, you can use one of these methods:

  • Drag and drop the data files from your file explorer to the QGIS window.

  • Use the Data Source Manager toolbar or the Layer menu to browse for the data files on your computer or online services.

  • Use the Browser panel to navigate to the data files on your computer or online services.

Once you have loaded the data, you will see them as layers in the Layers panel. You can change the order, visibility, and properties of the layers by right-clicking on them or using the buttons on the Layers toolbar.

Exploring data and composing maps in QGIS 3

To explore the data and compose maps in QGIS 3, you can use the following tools and panels:

  • The Map canvas, which shows the map view of your data. You can zoom, pan, rotate, and select features on the map using the tools on the Map Navigation toolbar or the mouse wheel and buttons.

  • The Attribute table, which shows the tabular view of your data. You can open it by right-clicking on a layer and choosing Open Attribute Table. You can edit, filter, select, and sort the data using the tools on the Attribute table toolbar.

  • The Identify tool, which shows the attributes of a feature when you click on it on the map. You can activate it by clicking on the Identify button on the Attributes toolbar or pressing Ctrl+Shift+I.

  • The Print Layout, which allows you to create printable maps with elements such as title, legend, scale bar, north arrow, and more. You can open it by choosing Layout New Print Layout from the Project menu or clicking on the New Print Layout button on the Layout toolbar. You can add, move, resize, and customize the elements using the tools on the Layout toolbar and the Item Properties panel.

Creating, editing, managing, and exporting data in QGIS 3

To create, edit, manage, and export data in QGIS 3, you can use the following tools and menus:

  • The Digitizing toolbar, which allows you to create new features or modify existing ones. You can activate it by choosing View Toolbars Digitizing from the menu bar or pressing Ctrl+Shift+D. You can add points, lines, polygons, or circular features using the tools on the toolbar. You can also edit vertices, reshape features, split features, merge features, rotate features, and more.

The Processing toolbox, which provides access to hundreds of geoprocessing algorithms for analysis, conversion, generalization, geometry, hydrology, interpolation, network analysis, raster analysis, statistics, topology, and more. You can open it by choosing Processing Toolbox from the menu bar or pressing Ctrl+Alt+T. You can run an algorithm by double-clicking on it or right-clicking and choosing Execute.</


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