Alternatives to using QGIS on Android & iOS mobile

QGIS has positioned itself as the fastest growing free code tool and sustainability strategy for geospatial use. We are pleased to know that there are already versions of QGIS for mobile devices.

The exponential use of mobile applications means that desktop tools choose to develop versions for use on phones or tablets. The case of software for Geographic Information Systems is so obvious because of its involvement in georeferencing and field use for geo-engineering in the field and desktop with high interdependence. So far, private software developers have had their mobile applications for a long time, including AutoCAD WS, BentleyMap For mobile, ESRI ArcPad, SuperGeo Mobile, to give some examples.

In the case of QGIS, at least two applications are outlined as solutions, by OpenGIS.ch:

1 QGIS for iOS.

Do not dream it. Although QGIS is multiplatform in its desktop version, having a version of QGIS for iPhone or iPad will definitely not be possible; maybe never as long as Apple does not change its business policies.

The problem is that the type of license used by QGIS is GPL, which at its maximum is the opening of the code to be known and improved by end users. The game rules of the AppStore say that it is not possible to develop applications that do not have a proprietary code that guarantees that it will not be used to damage the interests of private third parties. So the only way would be to develop outside the AppStore, assuming that interested users would jailbreak the device, which is not prudent, nor is it the preference of iOS users.

A pity, considering the number of users and companies that prefer the software of Apple, but also is an example of the problems that we will see in the future, of the privative software looking for to close spaces to free software.

2 QGIS for Android

QgisThis is an application that practically emulates the desktop version of QGIS in the 2.8 Wien version. The application weighs close to 22 MB, it Download directly from Google Play.

Once the installation process has begun, it requests the installation of Minister II, which acts as a bridge between the QGIS application and the QT libraries. After the installation of Minister II executes the download of the QT5 libraries, such as Qt5Core, qtnystlm, qtsensor, qtGui, libqoffscreen, libminimal, qlibqeglfs, and other controls with which the potential of geopositioning, compass, keyboard, digital control is used and other features of Android.

In general the application is almost a copy of QGIS desktop, with the icons and side panels, it differs that the context menu is located just like the mobile functionalities in an icon of the upper right corner and that of course the mouse control (displacement , selection, zoom) is tactile.

In short, do not expect to use this application with a phone. No matter how big the screen is, it is not functional because it is not possible to control the scroll bars for data selection; In addition the application apparently does not allow rotation. As you can see, I have managed to bring a project, calling WFS data and using it with a SONY Xperia T3 mobile phone; Although the data can be seen, the control of side panels is totally impossible.

Qgis for android

Qgis for android

Qgis for android

Using it with regular size tablet is definitely practical as it is just like the desktop application. You have to struggle a bit to understand where the data is stored on the microSD card or internal memory.

Download QGIS for Android

3 QField for QGIS

Qgis for androidThis application is also developed by the same company, weighs almost 36 MB.

Start asks the existence of a QGIS project, which becomes somewhat complex as placing a file on the tablet imply that local data paths are relative.

QField has a native user interface for touch and mobile devices. The synchronization tool allows a continuous exchange of data between the mobile device and the existing infrastructure. It looks very good as a complement to the QGIS suite, unlike the previous one that is just an emulation of the desktop version.

Qgis for android

As you can see, the use of this application, being native adapts, despite the fact that it is using a small screen phone. It remains to prove it, since entering a file with relative paths is what I was not expecting.

Qgis for android

Download QField for QGIS

4 Replies to "Alternatives to use QGIS on Android & iOS mobiles"

  1. Good night everyone, I wanted to ask if someone knows how to attach a photo to a point type element, in my project I have already created the field and put external resource which is what the official website of qfield says, but once in the Application when taking the photo, this is not saved. Does anyone know why? I have proven with relative and fixed paths and nothing. :(

    A greetings to all and from now thank you any answer

  2. The routes in the QGIS projects by default are relative. Nothing comlejo. Simply copy the folder to your tablet or phone.

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