Using QGIS to Create, Format, and Troubleshoot GIS Data

Creating a Data Layer 

1. Open QGIS. 

2. Create a new blank project. 

3. Navigate to the menu. 

4. Layer > Create Layer > New Shapefile Layer. 

Result: A new Shapefile dialog box appears, allowing you to define a new layer. 

5. Click the ellipsis (…) for the File Name field. 

Result: A Save dialog will appear for you to select a folder where you can save your layer. 

6. Name your layer. 

7. For Geometry Type, select from the dropdown menu: 

  • Type 
  • Point 
  • Line 
  • Polygon 

8. Select WGS84 (EPSG: 4326) as the coordinate reference system. 

9. Add attribute fields to your list, if necessary. 

10. Select OK. 

Result: Your data layer will be present on the Layers panel. 


Editing Data 

After a layer is loaded into QGIS, you can edit the attributes and geometry. 

1. Use the Vertex Editor to confirm that you selected your desired layer. 

2. Select the vertices you need to move. 

3. Adjust the vertices to the correct locations. 

4. To delete, select the vertices and press Delete. 

5. To add a vertex, double-click on the desired location to add a node. 

6. Save your work often, as your edits aren’t immediately saved while the layer is in Edit Mode. 


Formatting Data 

For BDC, polygon availability data must be in one of the following GIS spatial formats: 

  • Shapefile 
  • GDB (feature class) 
  • GeoJSON 
  • GeoPackage 


Additional Resources


Troubleshooting Data 

  • Confirm geometries are correct. 
  • If data is loaded but there is no display, there may be a problem with the data source. 
    • Double-click in the Datasource field, adjust the path of each layer and click Apply changes. 
    • Select a row, press Browse to indicate the correct location and click Apply changes. 
  • Confirm the projected coordinate system, matches the original data, and is displayed over the correct locations. 


For more information, see: 

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