The things I would like to see in QGIS. What are yours?


So if you have not already guessed from my increasing post about QGIS. I really like it as a GIS system but with all systems it comes with its shortcomings. (Nothing that can’t be fixed of course)

Here is my little wishlist of a few things I would love to see in QGIS.

Multipule map canvases. (ArcGIS, MapInfo)

I was thinking more like ArcGIS data frames vs something like what MapInfo has (multiple windows).  I think the multi window system can add confusion for people new to GIS, plus I hate having to window manage.

SQL like interface. (MapInfo)

This is something that I really like from MapInfo.  It adds a lot of power to the application being able to spatially join two tables that don’t share a command link column and get back a new layer.  Adding this to QGIS could be a pretty big task, although a very rewarding one IMO.  

Now there is some credit in saying “well you can just import your data into PostGIS and use that”, however that is not always a option and I think having a layer above that can query any open layer would be very very powerful.

These are just two of the main things that I would like to see, I’ll update the post if I can think of anymore.

Of course being open source I can write the features myself but C++ is still a bit over my head at the moment.

I would love to see what other peoples thoughts, or mini wishlists, are.  So if you are willing, drop a comment and let me know.

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11 thoughts on “The things I would like to see in QGIS. What are yours?

  1. As mentioned on linkedin: multiple labels per object. And better support for SQL server 2008 for us who dont use windows 7.

  2. Mapinfo’s system of multiple map windows and print layouts tied to them is a major crime against usability. Especially for users who aren’t using it all the time.

    I can’t comment on the ArcGIS system as I haven’t used it.

  3. > What are yours?

    OK, having thought about it for a while, I think this would be my wishlist:

    1. Speediness. Hopefully this will come when the threading branch is merged.

    2. Improved labelling. The new labelling engine is one of the main reasons I use QGIS, but it could still be improved a lot – I think there are feature requests in Trac for most of the important improvements.

    3. As discussed on the mailing list not long ago: Vector editing/geoprocessing tools or whatever they are called, like the ones found in the Mapinfo “Object” menu – i.e. similar to ftools, but taking sets of selected features as inputs, instead of whole layers. I always found the way these work in Mapinfo a little counterintuitive, so perhaps QGIS could even improve on that.

    4. Write support for the delimited text plugin ;)

    1. Number 3 has been on my mind before. I find MapInfo does an OK job at the way it handles things in regards to these object operations.

      What are your thoughts on how to do it differently?

  4. I’m not actually sure. It’s a long time since I used it, but it may have just been the order of operations.
    i.e.
    1. select the objects to edit
    2. “Set Target”
    3. select the objects to use as a “cutter” or whatever.
    4. select the operation to perform (e.g. “Split”)

    I guess if “Set Target” had a name that made its purpose blatantly obvious I wouldn’t have had a problem.

    Coming from CAD I think I would have found something like this more intuitive:
    1. select the objects to edit
    2. select the operation to perform (e.g. “Split”)
    3. select the objects to use as a “cutter” or whatever.
    4. select OK to perform the operation (Actually, I’m not sure what the label would be, but not OK, as I think it is a good idea to keep it menu based, rather than introducing a dialogue with an OK button).

    But I guess some people might prefer this:
    1. select the objects to use
    2. select the operation to perform
    3. select the objects to edit
    4. select OK

  5. IIRC the first few times I used those features in Mapinfo I actually had to go back and check the help each time, because I couldn’t figure out how to use them.

    Do you know if MapInfo remembers the “target” after you perform an operation, so you can perform another one?
    I wonder if this would be an important feature for people. If so, the decision whether to select the “target” or the “cutter” first would probably be based on which one is more likely to be reused. Or perhaps there could be an option when you choose the action, so that it can work either way.

  6. I guess some people might even think it is more natural to select the action first, before selecting the target or the cutter…

  7. Hi Nathan.
    ‘Looks like it’s been 3 years since the last post. I hope you’re still monitoring this.

    I’m a current MapInfo user and I’m looking to replace it with an open-source alternative if possible.

    I have a custom application which is written in MapBasic. First, Street, City, County, and Zip Code layers are loaded. Then a site is drawn (point, polygon, or polyline). Then a boundary of a specified size is drawn around the site.

    A custom group of tables are selected and displayed . Some of the rows are geocoded; some are not. It then passes a table to a Visual FoxPro program with the streets, cities, counties, and zip codes that are within the boundary. The VFP program produces a report that is used to determine if there are pertinent rows that need to be geocoded.

    Finally, the points & polygons withing the boundary are assigned an ID number and a table with the ID’s and table/key information is passed to a VFP program (along with the map in PDF format) which produces a final report.

    My main question is…can all this be done using QGIS? Is there a way to write functions to make the boundary selections from a list (i.e. One Mile, Half-Mile, Quarter-Mile, etc), load the streets, city boundaries, county boundaries, call the program to produce the report (‘doesn’t need to be VFP necessarily) etc.?

    Can these functions be assigned to icons in a menu bar?

    If not, then I guess that would be my wish list! I hope my questions aren’t too rudimentary. As, I have zero experience with any GIS other than MapInfo.

    P.S. Is there a QGIS equivalent to MapMarker?

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