QGIS has core functionality, which we will continue to explore in this guide, but it also allows the use of plugins, which add functionality to the software. Again, these plugins are free. To use them, we simply need to connect to the internet and install. In this module we will learn how to install QGIS plugins, using one plugin to add a satellite imagery layer to our QGIS project.
Note that you must be connected to the internet to follow the exercises in this module.
To install new plugins, they first need to be downloaded and activated. Some plugins are already downloaded and available.
Note that plugins, which have already been downloaded can be activated or deactivated from the Installed tab. If it has not yet been downloaded, downloading a plugin from the Not installed tab will automatically activate it.
The OpenLayers plugin allows you to view various web maps as a layer in QGIS. This means that you can access the OSM slippy map, Google Maps and Bing Maps from within QGIS. Follow along and we’ll see how this works.
It may take a few minutes to download.
Your project should now look like this:
If you pay attention, there is something wrong with the map. Can you guess what it is? All three layers above Bing Aerial layers should be shown on the map.
Adding a layer such as Bing Aerial will change the Coordinate Reference System, or CRS, of your project. Essentially this means that your project is not using longitude and latitude coordinates anymore. This shouldn’t affect you right now, but it will make sense later when we cover CRSes.