QGIS Tips….or should that be QTips? – QGIS on an Android Tablet

I’ve had a few people ask about setting QGIS up on Android….I can barely read phone numbers on my phone, so why you would want to use a GIS is beyond me, though, that said, when I worked for Ordnance Survey, I had a tablet with ArcGIS on and it was heavenly!

Anyhow, the short answer is that I haven’t had the chance to play with an Android build, especially on a tablet BUT I came across this great blog from Underdiver which outlines how they did it, see below

QGIS on an Android tablet

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Running QGIS on an android phone worked just fine – but running QGIS on an Android tablet is going to be a lot more useful, with a larger screen. I summarised the steps of installing QGIS on a Galaxy Advance (I9070) in a previous post, under Gingerbread (2.3.6); since then, there have been some issues with QGIS breaking due to Ministro (supporting library) updates, so I went through the installation steps again, this time on an Asus TF300T running Jelly Bean 4.1.1.


  1. Enable “Allow installation of apps from unknown sources” – Settings|Security.
  2. Download the installer .apk (this download should  be fixed and up-to-date) and open it (on most Androids it will download to a “Downloads” directory, but may be elsewhere; you can just click to open the file from your file browser and it should start the installer).
  3. Run the installer and select ‘download and install’. 83 MB of data will get downloaded. Luckily, it is a resumable download – if it fails, you can start the process off again where you left off.
  4. Confirm that you want to install (standard Android dialogue) – takes about 2 minutes to finish this stage.
  5. Run QGIS: “Unpacking post-install data” … 10 seconds.
  6. QGIS requires a supporting service, available from the Play store “This application requires Ministro service. Would you like to install it?” Confirm and install Ministro II, only 523KB.
  7. Looks like it needs MORE libraries to run! “Qgis needs extra libraries to run. Do you want to download them now?” Confirm and install the QtCore libraries – a lot bigger at 31MB.

Does it work? Sort of …

Sure does … except for the Python plugins, which are not working, it does run and I’ve used it in the field a few times now. The version I’ve just installed, however, won’t let me select the panels to view, which means I can’t access the GPS connection panel to do live tracking. This really limits the utility, but one can pan, zoom and view maps.

Screenshot_2013-03-27-13-33-55Screenshot_2012-08-23-15-13-09 Screenshot_2012-08-23-15-22-14 Screenshot_2013-03-27-13-33-18

Tips and Tricks

  1. Export a QGIS project from your desktop into a single folder + .qgs file using the QConsolidate plugin, then transfer that consolidated folder + project file to the MicroSD card. This will gather all the rasters and vector files into one place for easy transport.
  2. Don’t work with high-resolution rasters unless you’re very, very patient; turn these off or remove them altogether. In the example above, the red ‘slope’ layer was a 25%-scale version of my original (which we just had to show us places we couldn’t fly low-level safely in the Cessna).

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