“GIS Data can be sourced from various formats. Users can digitise , import GPS points and in some cases the data can be captured in a spreadsheet and then imported into a GIS.”
Data exists in various formats, shapefile being the most commonly used data type contains a file with the extension .dbf which is basically a spreadsheet that has information linking it to the geometry. There are various techniques for generating spatial data but the flexibility of GIS software allows users with spreadsheet data to be imported in a GIS as spatial data where the latitude and longitude are converted to their geometry types or none spatial tables where they are flat tables without any geometry columns. In this module, we will look at how to import spreadsheets and use them in QGIS
Goal: To explore spreadsheet data and use it within QGIS.
Method A - Using Processing Toolbox
Method B - Using Virtual layers
Method C - Using Plugins
Spreadsheets are a source of data and they are very useful as a lot of people understand them and prefer to work with them rather than GIS. When the data stored in the spreadsheet contains geometry information either as latitude/longitude or wkt_text then it becomes imperative to use a GIS system to create geometry and visualize it. Even if the spreadsheet does not contain geometry information they can still be imported in QGIS and visualized as a none spatial table and this can be linked to other existing tables. QGIS provides expressions to convert the spreadsheet into spatial data but the process sometimes involves a series of steps as noted by the methods we used in the exercise. Plugins are extensions in QGIS which add functionality that is missing from QGIS or sometimes simplify workflows. There a couple of plugins that are geared to work with spreadsheets but some of them have not yet been ported to QGIS 3 and will not be available in the plugin repository until they have been redone to match the new QGIS architecture.