Apparently my late-October QGIS enthusiasm was contagious! A few friends have reached out asking how to get started with QGIS or refresh their skills after a few years away.
If you’re a new GIS user and are fortunate enough to be affiliated with a university, try checking out a class. I’ve yet to find an online or print-based resource that explains foundations of spatial data like projections or datums as well as a class can (if any readers have good resources, I’d love to hear about them!). You can find classes on GIS in departments like geography, natural resources, biostatistics, agricultural engineering, and more.
For those of you who aren’t planning on taking a class but have good basic computer skills, there are some good online tutorials for QGIS. The first resource I recommend for patient, self-directed learners is the QGIS training manual included in the software documentation. I like that they include data for training exercises, and the topics are organized very intuitively. In my mind the quality of information available in the training manual is the best online learning option, but do know it’s time-intensive and a little dry.
Flashier, more engaging options are available on YouTube. I like the videos from Klas Karlsson. The embedded QGIS 3 beginner tutorial is around half a hour long and has enough information to help you get started. It’s incredibly fast paced, but you can pause and rewind as needed.
More structured online learning options are available from many sources. Stanford open online courses don’t cover GIS at this time, but UC Davis has a highly-regarded course on Coursera. Esri offers classes on their GIS products, and while I don’t usually use ArcMap, I’ve heard these classes are very accessible and user-friendly. LinkedIn Learning (which is free through many employers) has class offerings for both QGIS and other geospatial tools.
I hope this gives you the resources you need to start your GIS journey. There are so many learning opportunities available these days, and I’m sure you’ll find one that’s a good fit for you!