An Intro to QField - In the Field

A few of us did a mock crowdsourcing activity to collect addresses in Grand Park at GIS Day in 2016. The purpose was to spread the word about the geopackage which was developed to replace the shapefile for exchanging data with mobile use in mind.

QField is based on QGIS and created for Android devices. The data is entirely offline. I've tested this app on my phone (Samsung Note 4) and the GPS works very well, even in areas without cell tower triangulation available.

The use of personal devices for testing the software and data is up to you. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Use the Android My Files app to create a folder gis_day on your Android device. In this example, we're placing it in the device's main Device Storage. If your project needs larger GIS datasets, consider using a high capacity SD card.

  • Download and unpack this file (60MB) to your device.
  • Extract the contents of into your gis_day folder.
  • The files cover Grand Park and vicinity. Source data for the first three (buildings, address points, and streets) are from the Los Angeles County GIS Data Portal. The one foot imagery is from the National Map. The file gis_day_map.qgs is the QGIS equivalent of an ArcMap mxd file. The small file hn_points.gpkg is what you will edit with your mobile device before emailing it back to yourself. When you are back in the office, it's easy to add your data into ArcGIS or QGIS just like you would do with a file geodatabase.

My Files Home Screen gis_day folder contents

  • Install QField on your Android phone or tablet.
  • Open a project in QField
  • Select the up arrow in the upper left corner a bunch of times until you get to the root folder on your device.
  • Select sdcard to navigate to your device's home chip.
  • Note, if you need QField to work with larger datasets on your device's Micro SD card, you'll select the storage folder below sdcard.

  • Select the file gis_day_map.qgs and open it.
  • Select settings in the upper left corner.
  • Select Mode, then select Digitize.

  • Select hn_points for the layer you are going to edit.
  • Select the Menu icon in the upper left corner to return to your main map screen.
  • Zoom to an area like the center walkway and place the crosshair where you want it.
  • Select the edit (pencil icon) in the lower right corner of your screen to add attributes.

  • The Add feature window pops up. Go ahead and leave the fid field alone.
  • Add any value you like to the HN you like. It's a text field. This is the field the QGIS map document uses for labelling.
  • Again, add any value to the field REMARKS.
  • Select the Save icon in the upper right corner to save your work when you are done.
  • Remember, this is practice! If you accidentally start editing buildings, select your device's back arrow to get out.
  • When you are done practicing, use your device's My Files app to navigate to your updated hn_points.gpkg file, and email it to yourself.