GIS (Geographical Information System) mapping software enables analysis and manipulation of spatial (location) data. This includes features such as displaying species records, mapping management and producing maps for use in reports. QGIS is a type of GIS software that is free and open source. This means that anyone can download and use it on their own computer for free, there are no subscription or purchase costs.

Butterfly Conservation staff make use of QGIS daily for a variety of conservation, research and communication purposes. All data that we work with is ‘location data’ ie a species records, a transect route, a grazing compartment, a fence line- QGIS is a useful and powerful tool to analyse and communicate information to help conserve butterflies and moths.

What training do we provide and who is it for?

We run internal QGIS training courses for BC staff, and also for interested county butterfly and moth recorders and their teams, and other BC volunteers (where they need to use QGIS as part of the work they do for BC). The training courses will be run by Karen Purdy, GIS Officer for Butterfly Conservation, and will be undertaken online using Zoom (sessions will be recorded and recordings will be made available for attendees and those who cannot attend on the day).

The training this March and April 2022 covers beginners and intermediate skills for volunteers. Participants can choose to book on to all courses, or just those of interest. The group sizes for the beginners training are smaller, to allow for more individual support, whereas the intermediate groups are larger as it is assumed that people will already have basic QGIS skills and will be able to work more independently. It is envisaged that these courses will be re-run in the autumn, and sessions on additional topics may be included. Spare spaces on intermediate courses may be filled by BC staff.

Requirements and Pre-requisites

To join the courses you will need access to a computer and the internet, be able to participate in Zoom meetings, and also download and install a recent stable copy of QGIS on your computer BEFORE the training (instructions will be provided).

The beginners course assumes no prior knowledge of QGIS, but if you want to book on to the intermediate skills courses, we ask that you either attend the beginners’ courses first, or already have a good basic level of knowledge of how to use QGIS, equivalent to those skills listed in the beginners training course.

If you have any queries, or if the courses are full / finished and you want to join the waiting list, please contact @email

Beginners Training Course 

This course consists of two sessions covering the basics of QGIS. These two sessions and will be aimed at those with no prior knowledge of QGIS but who are keen to learn.

Book Course

Please pick one of the two dates to attend as both sessions will be identical. Spaces will be limited to 10 people per session.


Intermediate / Specific Skills Sessions

The Intermediate level course covers the following areas in 7 modules:

  • File Management.
  • Creating Management Maps.
  • Basic Atlas Mapping.
  • Full Atlas Mapping.
  • Spatial Queries.
  • Table and Spatial Joins.
  • Summarising Data.

Book Course