Lesson 3. How to Download and Install QGIS

This lesson walks you through installing QGIS on your laptop.

Learning Objectives

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to:

  • Install QGIS on your laptop.

To install QGIS, you’ll need a laptop with admin privileges to install software.

Install QGIS

QGIS is a free, open-source GIS program. It is the open source equivalent to ESRI’s ArcGIS. To install QGIS:

Download the QGIS installer on the QGIS download page here. Follow the installation directions below for your operating system.


  1. Select the appropriate QGIS Standalone Installer Version for your computer.
  2. The download will automatically start.
  3. Open the .exe file and follow prompts to install (installation may take a while).
  4. Open QGIS to ensure that it is properly downloaded and installed.

Mac OS X

  1. Select KyngChaos QGIS download page. This will take you to a new page.
  2. Select the current version of QGIS. The file download (.dmg format) should start automatically.
  3. Once downloaded, run the .dmg file. When you run the .dmg, it will create a directory of installer packages that you need to run in a particular order. IMPORTANT: read the READ ME BEFORE INSTALLING.rtf file!

Install the packages in the directory in the order indicated.

  1. GDAL Complete.pkg
  2. NumPy.pkg
  3. matplotlib.pkg
  4. QGIS.pkg - NOTE: you need to install GDAL, NumPy and matplotlib in order to successfully install QGIS on your Mac!

Data tip: If your computer doesn’t allow you to open these packages because they are from an unknown developer, right click on the package and select Open With >Installer (default). You will then be asked if you want to open the package. Select Open, and the installer will open.

Once all of the packages are installed, open QGIS to ensure that it is properly installed.


  1. Select the appropriate download for your computer system.
  2. Note: if you have previous versions of QGIS installed on your system, you may run into problems. Check out this page from QGIS for additional information.
  3. Finally, open QGIS to ensure that it is properly downloaded and installed.

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