South-East User group meeting:

2nd South-East QGIS user group – 4th November

The Venue: Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Town Hall, St. Ives Road, Maidenhead. SL6 1RF.

Tickets: You can grab them from here and they are FREE!


9.30-10:  Arrive
10.00: Welcome
10.15 – 12:  Lutra Consultancy – Python Plugin Development *
12 – 12.30: Discussion / Its your floor: This part of the agenda is entirely driven by you. It’s your chance to stand up and let everyone know what you are doing with QGIS or ask a burning question about QGIS? The best question or lightening talk will win a prize! If your lightening talk requires a bit of power-point, then put together no more than a 5 slider presentation and send them over to

12.30 – 1.30: Lunch / Networking: There is a cafe within the Town Hall, or a plethora of eating establishments in Maidenhead.
1.30 – 3.00: Talks

Tim Martin from the OS on Terrain5, Topo and building heights to create a 3d using the QGIS2ThreeJs plugin. *
Simon Miles from the RBWM doing a bit of show and tell on how QGIS is used and configured at the Council.

3.00 – 5.00: Unconference: This part of the day is over to you, its your user group! Bring along your own laptop, project or piece of code; or borrow one of the laptops dotted around the room and do a bit of show and tell, or ask someone a burning practical QGIS question. Some of the machines will have QGIS Master on them and there will be a Windows tablet running QGIS on to have a play with. Some suggested topics – Styling features, Creating forms, WMS resources, Print Composer

* Bring along your own laptop if you would like to follow along with the Plugin workshop in morning or with Tim Martin in the afternoon. Software and data requirements will be forwarded to you prior to the day.

South-East QGIS User Group – Writeup

Since helping to organise the inaugural meeting in September 2013, this was the first UK QGIS South-East UG meeting which piggy-backs off the success of the Scottish and Welsh UG meetings.

Putting an agenda together isn’t the easiest thing to do at the best of times and especially given that the use of QGIS here in the UK is still in its infancy but thankfully without much need for pleading many kind people came together to help out and make the day a great success.

Imperial College hosted the event for us and everyone one agreed that the facilities were fantastic. A special thanks needs to go to Claudia Vitolo for arranging everything for us at Imperial. There was a good turnout with about 55 people turning up, with a real mix of public, private and academic backgrounds.


David McDermott started off proceedings with a talk about Atlas and Map Production. He cleanly illustrated to the audience through screenshots how Surrey Heath Borough Council are using this fantastic feature of 2.2 to produce lots of maps, quickly, efficiently and importantly eye-pleasing.


Mike Saunt demonstrated through a mixture of presentation and live demo a series of tweaks within QGIS and using a bit of SQL in PostGIS, how QGIS can be an Enterprise GIS tool. For those in the audience that new to QGIS or looking for alternative GIS solutions were keen to ask questions about the QGIS/PostGIS architecture which Mike was very happy to answer, sighting many case examples.


Jerry Clough gave a well received talk on OpenStreetMap and promoted a lot of conversation. Jerrys’ talk was a real mixed bag of factoids and tips on OSM in general and using it within QGIS.

Andrew Bell gave the audience a treat by demonstrating how with some simple PostGIS SQL you could within QGIS draw a line or route (from A to B) which would automatically buffer and select features from the Ordnance Survey PoI (Points of Interest) layer that fell within the buffer. All very simple but very effective process. Andrew admitted that this had a lot of scope and could be adapted for Emergency Planning for example.

View presentation here

The afternoon sessions saw two workshops;

Pete Wells from Lutra gave a whistle stop run through of using Python and QGIS, and went as far as producing a very simple plugin all within the space of an hour and ten minutes. It was a well attended talk and the sort of workshop that future user groups should try to repeat.

The Ordnance Survey did an Introduction to QGIS using OS Opendata and was equally well attended as Pete Wells workshop, as both workshops ran at the same time. The talk was loosely based on the successful OS MasterClasses that have been run over the past few years.

The schedule of the day quickly slipped, mainly due to the great audience participation at the end of the presentations. As a result the afternoon workshops, ‘its your floor’ and discussion sessions were shortened so that a 4pm finish was achievable.

Its your floor was a bit of a wild card slot in the days agenda. Prior to the event the attendees were asked  if they wanted to take to the stage and chat about what they were doing to QGIS, effectively 5 slides in 5 minutes. Two brave souls stepped upto the mark and gave informative but lightning talks about what they had been up to. This is certainly a part of the agenda that the South-East region will be repeating again.

The day ended with a lively debate about the role and future of the UK QGIS user group and it might be that moving forward such a debate becomes an earlier item on the days agenda.

One of the discussion points was on the cost of running future events. Based on an online poll conducted earlier on this year and feedback from the Scottish group, it was clear that for the group to continue future events will probably longer be free and as such a minimal donation would be required to attend. The true cost of hosting an event is probably more than most imagine. The single biggest cost is catering, in the case of this meeting and the inaugural meeting back in September 13, the combined cost just for catering was in excess of £1400. Luckily in both cases and in fact in all of the user group meetings that have occurred catering and venue hire costs have been met through sponsorship. However such kind support from private companies will not last indefinitely. The exact minimum donation cost may vary from event to event, depending on venue hire costs and catering.

Over a series of discussion topics a few themes kept on popping up which put into question the role of the user group. Behind the scenes of the user group, as with any user group or community there are also people busy working away to do all sorts of things in the background. The user group has a loose working community which is referred to as regional leads but in fact these regional leads are not standing alone but a few people supporting them. This working group has been discussing how we can work more closely with the core QGIS project and hopefully soon we will be able to clearly define how we achieve this. Where this thought process is going is that the role of the user group is just that, a user group and not a QGIS developer group. Clearly some people within the wider UK QGIS UG will be more developer minded than others and as such would be encouraged to participate the development of QGIS. Others may want to help out with updating manuals or bug hunting. While others might not be interested in any of the above and just want to create maps, data or GIS processes and share these with the group which should equally be encouraged.  We as a user group should be there to encourage any of the above users.

Simon Miles

Programme: South-East QGIS User Group

The agenda for the South-East user group meeting, being held at Imperial College, on the 2nd April is here! We’ve got a mixture of speakers, two workshops and a ‘its your floor’ feature where by you can stand up and let people know what your up to with QGIS! If you haven’t got a ticket, there are still some available.


9.30 – 10

Arrive / teas & coffee / networking

10 – 10.15

Simon Miles: Introductions etc

10.15 – 10.45

David McDermott: QGIS and Atlas: automatic map generation

10.45 – 11.15

Mike Saunt: QGIS and PostGIS: The perfect marriage!

11.15 – 11.30


11.30 – 12.00

Jerry Clough: QGIS and OSM: All you needed to know!

12.00 – 12.30

Andrew Bell: QGIS and PostGIS: TBA

12.30 – 1.00

Lunch: Provided by the Ordnance Survey

Stream 1

Stream 2

1.00 – 2.45

Introduction to QGIS:

Based on the Ordnance Survey 2013 Masterclass tour. Ordnance Survey will give an introduction to QGIS and getting started with OS Opendata.

Python & QGIS:

Lutra Consultancy Pete Wells will demonstrate how you can introduce python into QGIS.

2.45 – 3.00


3.00 – 3.30

Its your floor!

Your chance to share what you’ve been up to with QGIS

3.30 – 4.00

Round up / Discussion / User Poll / Geo-beers?

1st UK QGIS user group meeting -Wales

This is just an interim post, the full blog is being written up by Kevin Williams and You Tube videos are being put together by Shaun Lewis. To wet your appetite, you can see the introduction presentation and agenda on SlideShare.

Update 27th January 2014 :-

A long overdue update.

Cymru am byth!

The event was a big success!  We had around 50 people attend from various organisations throughout Wales.  The event was kindly sponsored by Exegesis ( and Astun Technology (www.  both of which gave excellent presentations.

Huge thanks to Shaun Lewis and his manager, Paul Funnell for hosting the event in such a professional manner.  The venue and technology were second to none.

There’s been lots of feedback via email and phonecalls, together with a survey carried out by Shaun Lewis of Brecon Beacons National Park.

From all of the comments, the future is bright for QGIS in Wales.  There is an ever-increasing interest and numbers of users, not just in QGIS but in the full SDI provided by QGIS, postgis, geoserver etc.  I can see the group incorporating elements of the open source stack to give a more detailed advice, collaboration and guidance, but let’s walk before we can run!


Watch this space for more news from around Wales in the QGIS arena!

User Poll

In the last blog I said that I’d pull together the results of a survey, to get a feel for UK qgis users. Unfortunately the number of responses was a bit disappointing with only 28 filling out the survey. However here is what was said….



I’m no statistician and the low return rate makes it harder to make concrete statements but a few things can be generalised upon.

Two-Thirds said that they would be willing to donate to the QGIS project. This is great news; so hypothetically speaking if all those that said yes (21 of you) gave a tenner, that would be £210 we could donate to the QGIS project. I can’t remember the static on the number of pizza’s consumed at the QGIS developer meeting held in Brighton earlier this year was, but i should imagine that £200 worth of pizza could fuel a lot of developers to write a lot of cool qgis code!

On the workshop side of things, there seemed to be a great interest in Plugins, Python and Databases. This has certainly given me some ideas on the kind of workshop that the QGIS User group could hold next year.

Thanks to everyone that took part in the survey.

Where next?

 Its been over a week now since the first UK QGIS meeting and here are our thoughts….

Establish regional groups and meetings.  Not everyone can travel the length and breadth of the UK to attend a meeting and although we were lucky for the first QGIS meeting that people did travel from near and far, its not always going to be this way. The Raspberry Pi Jams (pi meetings) are a great model to parallel, there are loads of local and regional Jams spread across the country which are well attended. It makes sense then to propose having regional groups, having their own meetings, orchestrated by its own coordinator. The coordinator can organise how their regional meetings proceed themselves but crucially, each regional groups agendas and blogs (meeting write ups) will ideally be channelled through the main UK QGIS wordpress site. In publishing details and write-ups of regional meetings, the wordpress site would become a great centralised resource for finding UK QGIS contacts and case studies.

Jams are held fairly frequently, perhaps every two to three months. Its not practical to have QGIS meetings as frequently as this, but coordinators could do if they thought the demand was great enough. Even if each group had one meeting a year, this would mean that in the UK at a minimum there would be nine opportunities to attend QGIS meetings a year!

So firstly we are looking for some regional leads to step forward; at the moment we have

  • Matt Travis – South-West

  • Simon Miles – South-East / London

  • Kevin Williams – Wales

So that leaves, East of England, Midlands, North West, North East, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you feel up to the task, then please get in contact via the below form.

Case Studies. We are looking to get lots of examples of individuals, groups, businesses, or local/central government, using QGIS and posting these onto the wordpress site. The ‘vision’ for want to a better word, would be to make the wordpress site a bit of a UK beacon for QGIS case studies. But we need your help to do this, so please get in contact (via the below form) if you’re interested in writing something up.

Questionnaire. A few days ago, we posted up a questionnaire trying to gain a little bit more info on UK QGIS users, where they are located and what sort content users want out of future meetings/workshops. Please do fill in the questionnaire so that we can help steer the group. We’ll release the results of the questionnaire in a few weeks.

The inaugural meetup!

When Simon first floated the idea of setting up the UK user group I wasn’t really sure how it would pan out. Just how many people would be interested? A lot it turns out. In fact we had nearly 30 people attend the first meet last Friday (27th September) and if they were there to find out a bit more about how QGIS is being used in the UK they wouldn’t have left disappointed.

Below is a list of those who kindly volunteered a brief summary of what they talked about and a link to their presentation.

Jo Cook – Portable GIS

For those of you who don’t know portable GIS does exactly what it says on the tin. It gives you a full  portable open source (of course) GIS stack that you can carry round on a USB stick. The stack itself consists of QGIS, PostGIS and Mapserver, and Astun Technologies’  GML Loader. Jo told us how PGIS had started off as a pet project of her’s in 2007 to make it easy to use open source GIS.

Chris Page – Super Broadband

Chris Page from the CSW superbroadand rollout program, showed the group how by using QGIS to generate images, he was able to create fast image maps using Tableau and Seadragon. Using a bit of crowd-sourcing (using Crowdmap) Chris was also able to create a database of BT boxes within the study area, unfortunately BT couldn’t help they didn’t really know where they all were!

Mark Percival – Time Manager Plugin

A really interested talk my Mark about the Time Manager created a bit of a buzz. Many of the group had heard of it but had little or no experience of using it. Mark demonstrated how to set up vector layers and run the Time-Manager plugin (Created by Anita Graser) and generously gave his pearls of wisdom on using it. Marks blog goes into detail of his experiences.

Andreas Neumann – Swiss user QGIS group + QGIS server/web client

Travelling all the way from Switzerland, especially to talk about the Swiss QGIS user group and the QGIS server/web client, Andreas received a couple of generous rounds of applause for his efforts. It was interesting to hear how the Swiss group was structured and organised, giving the group food for thought on how it could move forward in the future. There were keen ears listening to how QGIS server/web client was set up and worked, which again prompted bit of a buzz of excitement.

Steve Campbell – QGIS & SQL

Steve from Poole Borough Council gave a talk all about his experiences of using SQL-server to manage Ordnance Survey Mastermap, so that he could get in into QGIS. His talk outlined the hurdles that he has to overcome to get this data into SQL, demonstrating the range of sql statements that he had to use. The group had a lot to say on the subject of SQL which was interesting to hear, even for the non-sql users point of view.

Nicholas Duggan – QGIS in Energy Sector

At the top of his presentation, Nick apologised for the talk he was going to be giving, even before anyone really knew what it was going to be about. How wrong he was for apologising. Talking about how his business was now taking up QGIS in favour of using ESRI products to deliver GI data to clients via various cloud means, it was really well received and once again stimulated a lot of conversation.

All in all the event was a success and the crowd agreed that they wanted to see more UK QGIS meetings in the future.

by Matt Travis