During this QGIS course, participants will be introduced to the fundamental concepts of GIS and using QGIS as a tool to explore biological records and ecological data. Formerly known as Quantum GIS, QGIS is a freely available open-source Geographic Information System (GIS) of the highest quality.

Thanks to a community of dedicated and talented developers and an active and vocal user community, QGIS matches the functionality and usability of commercial products like MapInfo and ArcGIS. An increasing number of ecologists and biological recorders are using QGIS to help them visualise, explore and analyse their spatial data.

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You will explore options for obtaining and displaying basemap data (e.g. Ordnance Survey basemaps and Google and Bing aerial imagery), accessing other free value-added data, e.g. via web services, capturing spatial data including that generated by GPS smart-phone apps or hand-held GPS, registering and manipulating raster data, and producing maps for reports or for display on the web. You will explore advanced use of the Field Studies Council QGIS plugin and various methods of data synthesis, display and analysis, will be introduced.

By the end of the course you should feel that you have an in-depth understanding of the range of capabilities of QGIS and the ways it can help you in your work. You will have gained considerable experience of carrying out some of the most important spatial data generation and management tasks with QGIS.

What will be covered during this course?

  • The fundamental concepts of GIS
  • Sources of basemap data available for use in QGIS, and how to obtain and load those data into QGIS
  • OS grid references in QGIS
  • Procedures for creating new vector fata layers in QGIS and capturing point, line and polygon data
  • Procedures for importing data from GPS devices into QGIS and working with it
    Raster data from registering raster images to manipulate colou palettes and managing transparency
  • Options for displaying their own biological records in QGIS and creating map layers from them
  • Accessing other value-added sources of environmental data with QGIS,
  • including web-services and digital terrain models
  • Producing high-quality maps for reports or websites from QGIS
  • Analysing data in QGIS

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to source basemaps, work with OS grid referencing systems, create new vector data layers and import data from GPS devices into QGIS
  • Evalaute the possible options for data anlysis in QGIS

Who Should Attend? –  Natural history enthusiasts, students, rangers, ecologists, and environmental professionals. This intermediate level course is open to anyone with some knowledge of the subject. This course is for those aged 18 and over only.

Knowledge Level – Intermediate. Level descriptors can be found on the following web-page: Framework and Course Level Descriptors

There are two booking options which all include course tuition, meals and refreshments, please see the ‘whats included’ section below for further details:

  • Non-Resident (Breakfast not included)
  • Resident (Sole Occupancy)

For course bookings including accommodation please note that bathroom facilities may be shared.

MMU Students


This is one of a series of courses (units) run jointly with Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) contributing to the MSc ‘Biological Recording and Ecological Monitoring’ and the ‘Postgraduate Certificate in Biological Recording’. MMU students complete assessed work after the course. For further details about Manchester Metropolitan University degree programmes please contact:

Department of Natural Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, (Shrewsbury Office). Email:  [email protected]

  • See the ‘Example Timetable’ and ‘What’s Included’ sections below for more information about this course.
  • Upon booking you will need to provide individual details of all attendees.
  • Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.


For Manchester Metropolitan University students, the Unit will be assessed through, for example, identification tests, survey reports, field journals, production of keys, essays or other forms of assessment. In course tests are optional and less formal for participants who are not MMU students.

MMU students will be required to complete a report, to illustrate the distribution of a given UK species of conservation concern. The report should be illustrated with a maximum of five maps. A map must be produced with displays the UK distribution of your chosen species, with an indication of how the species richness varies across the county. At least one map should zoom to a smaller area and illustrate distributions at a finer scale. The maps should be embellished with some of the following elements: legends, scale-bars, text etc. to aid in interpretation. Make use of any additional data layers that might help you to explain or contextualise the distributions of these two species.(2000 words).

Example Timetable

Example Timetable

This timetable is subject to change but should give an outline of what to expect.
If you have booked accommodation with the centre your bedroom will be ready from 3.00 pm onwards on the day of arrival and we ask that you vacate by 9.30 am on the morning of departure.
If numbers are sufficient a station pick up will be arranged at 5.30 pm from Shrewsbury Station.
Please arrive in time for the evening meal at 6.30 pm on the Friday
The course starts after dinner with a classroom session 7.30 pm - 9.00 pm
The course ends at 4.00 pm on the final day.

Time will be made available for eating packed lunches during the day.

Introduction and basics.

Sourcing and viewing map data.

Creating and capturing map layers.

Analysis and exercise.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • In Course Transport
  • Picnic Lunch

What’s included?

  • Classroom learning covering the theory of the subject
  • Field excursions to apply new knowledge
  • Expert tuition for which the FSC is renowned
  • Clear objectives and progression
  • All meals included

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be provided. In choosing an FSC course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.


Before You Attend

There will be a member of staff with first aid training and access to a first aid kit on site. If you have special medical or access requirements, please let us know as soon as possible so we can make any necessary adjustments.

What to Bring

  • A computer pre-installed with the latest ‘long-term-release’ of QGIS and with wifi capability.
  • Notebook and pencil
  • Camera to capture images
  • Sensible footwear and clothing for being outdoors

Opportunities to attend this course

  • Fri 26, May 2023 18:30 - Mon 29, May 2023 16:00

    West Midlands
    £360 - £570
    Dan Carpenter

Progress Your Learning

This is a training course from the Field Studies Council, delivered by expert tutors with an approachable learning style. After attending this course, you may like to progress your learning with further relevant courses or branch out into other areas of natural history. The Field Studies Council offers both online and in person courses, so you can choose the learning style that suits you best.

The course gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new subject and acquire novel skills. Our online portal gives you time to study at your own pace and fit the lessons around your own schedule.

If you have any questions about our online courses please check our Frequently Asked Questions
Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Group Bookings Made Easy

If you have a group of 10 or more individuals wanting to complete one of our courses, our team are available to discuss your options – from discounts to private team courses. Find out more!

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be at your fingertips. In choosing a Field Studies Council course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.