Virtual layers with QGIS – wait a second, this is starting to look like Manifold…

If you are like me, you love writing spatial SQL. But what can you do if you have a geodatabase, some shapefiles, or any other data format? Well, you can always take those data formats and import them into Postgres or SQLite, and then issue the SQL for the results. Sure, it works, but it’s an extra step, and you no longer have access to the desktop GIS tools.

Well, with QGIS, you can drag and drop any data format into your project. And, with the DB Manager, you can refer to those layers as Virtual Layers, allowing you to issue SQL on them. Take a look at this video to see how issuing SQL on disparate data sources is a breeze.

I still think Manifold has the best integrated SQL engine tied to their GIS, but virtual layers in QGIS is seriously compelling, especially with the drag-and-drop capabilities of bringing in the different data sets.

if you want to learn more about spatial SQL or QGIS, check out my courses on Learning the FOSS4g Stack: QGIS Desktop, and Learning the FOSS4g Stack: Spatial SQL with Postgres and PostGIS.

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