Introduction to GIS Workshop


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The 'Introduction to GIS' Workshop introduces users to the software 'Quantum GIS' (QGIS). QGIS is an open source software platform which can be sourced without the need for expensive licencing. During Day 1 the workshop will cover the basic methods for opening and importing various data formats, dealing with projections, vector & raster layers (including creating surface roughness shapefiles and elevating buildings from the terrain), symbolisation and exporting data. Through the installation of Plug-ins, Watershed modelling and catchment area calculation methods will also be explored.

During Day 2 the presenter will explain the finer points of working with vector versus raster data. We will then learn how to create and manage data and maps (e.g Flood Maps) within QGIS using exported data from HEC-RAS 5. The selection and editing of map elements will be covered, while demonstrating how to add a legend, scale bar, and north point. Lastly, the presenter will cover the creation of templates and styles to sequence workflows.

This workshop is suitable for Civil Engineers and related professionals who are using HEC-RAS 5 for 1-D and 2-D modelling and need to modify terrain data to assess developmental scenarios. While the workshop’s basic aim is to train participants to use QGIS, it is expected that participants are already conversant in using HEC-RAS 5 (or other 2-D flood modelling software) and understand the typical principles and types of data encountered when preparing a flood study. No prior knowledge of GIS is required.

Workshop Content

This intensive workshop, presented by Hossein Ansari, runs from 9 am until 4 pm each day, with a total of 11 hours of tuition.  The main topics covered include:

Getting started
Set up a project and create a template
Working with raster layers and terrain data


  • Raster layer styling
  • Terrain analysis (slope, aspect, hillshade)
  • Extraction (contouring, clipper)
  • Merge
  • Profiling tool

Watershed modelling and catchment area calculations


Georeferencing scanned maps (PDFs and Architectural Plans)


Working with vector layers


  • Create vector layers to digitalise features (road and building)
  • Vector layer styling
  • Searching and downloading Open Street Map data
  • Edit attribute tables & merge layers
  • Vector geoprocessing & analysis tools (buffer, clip, dissolve, merge)

QGIS to RAS-Mapper

  • Create pre-development and post-development terrains model including elevated buildings
  • Create land cover files
  • Export modified DTM and Land Cover to RAS Mapper

RAS-Mapper to QGIS


Creating flood maps using QGIS map composer


Participants are provided with notes and a USB drive with PDF copies of the workshop notes, spreadsheets, examples, exercises and solutions, which can be utilised for post-workshop revision.

In-House Workshop Enquiry