Camptocamp – News

QGIS, contribute without coding!

22 August 2016

Nyall Dawson wrote a great article on how to effectively get things changed in QGIS. His article focuses on contributions made to the QGIS code source. However, there are other ways to contribute to the project without coding. Below, we note a few we believe to be important but, of course, there are many other different ways to contribute.

At Camptocamp, we chose to contribute to QGIS in different ways. The various methods described below are only part of those we implemented. Camptocamp offers training, support and maintenance services as well. All of these involvments are complementary and perfectly in line with our philosophy and commitment to our customers and partners.

The documentation

Documentation is a critical factor of a project and QGIS’s offers a description of (almost) all of the features available up to version 2.14. The last version of QGIS still requires editorial work but it should be available by the end of the year.

The several ways to improve it are:

  • translation: the documentation exists in several languages. Each new version requires an update of several part of the text. This is done on Transifex, the QGIS project platform. Anyone interested in contributing to the translation needs to create an account and then ask to be part of a translation team (one team per language).

  • proofreading: the documentation requires improvements such as rephrasing, verifying information, and specifying descriptions and fixing inadequacies. Do not hesitate to read a few passage. If you find erroneous or incomplete information, you can:

    • either create a ticket on the github documentation project and specify the concerned page URL together with as brief  description of the issue and eventually an improvement proposal;
    • or propose a modification of the source code (the Editors‘ documentation provides 2 method, one more technical than the other).
  • writing: we are currently working to the addition of new features of version 2.16. This takes some tine but the more we are, the faster the new documentation will be available. Similarly to proofreading, you can help write this new features either as proposals via a ticket, or as „code“. Note that in this latter case, tickets are already created (see note below)!

Note: Once a contributor modifies the source code of the application, a ticket is automatically created in the QGIS documentation project (i.e. with the ticket and the implementation of changes related to it). So the writer can refer to these tickets to see the features described in the documentation.

Documentation is an important work in QGIS but there are other alternatives.

The website

The website is quite stable but, still, there are some information you can bring your expertise to. We think of specific use cases. If you completed a project based on QGIS, enhance it by providing a description of the goals and achievements (developments, difficulties, problems solved)!

Of course, the website is translated into several languages but, from time to time, it requires updates. The process is identical to the documentation; you must apply to be part of the translation team for the project’s website and not for documentation (there is indeed two teams for one language).

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The community

The QGIS community is dynamic but it needs strength and support. Organizing an event requires ideas and contributors to implement them. These events are a good way to create connections, present work or propose projects. You can join or create a Local User Group on QGIS, organize a one-day event (to start with) or offer presentations and/or workshops at conferences. If you are interested in QGIS and you are reading this article, you are probably a user (not a developer) with geomatics knowledge; therefore, you have the skills to present QGIS!

Conclusion

Participate in the QGIS project does not necessarily require a financial investment (note that this is still one means among others): a human investment can bring as much to QGIS as to yourself (what better than to write or translate documentation to learn its use and thus to update the new features!).