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Alternatives to use QGIS on Android & iOS mobiles

QGIS has positioned itself as the fastest growing open source 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 makes 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 implication in georeferencing and field use for field and desktop Geo-engineering with high interdependence. Until now, the companies promoting proprietary software 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, in the hands of


1. QGIS for iOS.

Nor dream it. Although QGIS is cross-platform in its desktop version, having a version of QGIS for iPhone or iPad will definitely not be possible; maybe never as long as Apple doesn't change its business policies.

The problem is that the type of license used by QGIS is GPL, which at its maximum is the openness of the code to be known and improved by end users. The rules of the game 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 harm the interests of private third parties. So the only way would be to develop outside of the AppStore, assuming interested users would Jailbreak the device, which is not wise, 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 version 2.8 Wien. The application weighs about 22 MB, it is Download directly from Google Play

Once the installation process has started, it requests that Minister II be installed, which acts as a bridge between the QGIS application and the QT libraries. After the installation of Ministro II, execute the download of the QT5 libraries, such as Qt5Core, qtnystlm, qtsensor, qtGui, libqoffscreen, libminimal, qlibqeglfs, and other controls with which the potential of geo-positioning, compass, keyboard, digital control is used and other Android functionalities.

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 large the screen is, it is not functional because the scroll bars for data selection cannot be controlled; also 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; While the data can be viewed, side panel control is totally impossible.


Qgis for android


Qgis for android


Qgis for android

Using it with a 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 in the 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 which is just an emulation of the desktop version.

Qgis for android

As you can see, the use of this application, being native, adapts, even though you are using a small screen phone. It remains to test it, because entering a file with relative paths is what I did not expect.


Qgis for android


Download QField for QGIS

Golgi Alvarez

Writer, researcher, specialist in Land Management Models. He has participated in the conceptualization and implementation of models such as: National Property Administration System SINAP in Honduras, Management Model of Joint Municipalities in Honduras, Integrated Cadastre-Registry Management Model in Nicaragua, Territory Administration System SAT in Colombia . Editor of the Geofumadas knowledge blog since 2007 and creator of the AulaGEO Academy that includes more than 100 courses on GIS - CAD - BIM - Digital Twins topics.

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  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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