I need to cite maps produced in QGIS. In addition to my own data, I have used the opensource MapQuest OSM basemap, and a 25m land type data layer obtained from Digimap.

I would also like to include the QGIS software itself. Is there a correct format for this? If not, what is the key information I need to include in the citation?

1 Answer 1


There are a few options I've come across and would use similarly:

According to the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) Reference List: Electronic Sources (Web Publications) they provide citation methods for the following categories:

Data Sets

Point readers to raw data by providing a Web address (use "Retrieved from") or a general place that houses data sets on the site (use "Available from").

United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. (2008). Indiana income limits [Data file]. Retrieved from http://www.huduser.org/Datasets/IL/IL08/in_fy2008.pdf

Graphic Data (e.g. Interactive Maps and Other Graphic Representations of Data)

Give the name of the researching organization followed by the date. In brackets, provide a brief explanation of what type of data is there and in what form it appears. Finally, provide the project name and retrieval information.

Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment. (2007). [Graph illustration the SORCE Spectral Plot May 8, 2008]. Solar Spectral Data Access from the SIM, SOLSTICE, and XPS Instruments. Retrieved from http://lasp.colorado.edu/cgi-bin/ion-p?page=input_data_for_ spectra.ion

Computer Software/Downloaded Software

Do not cite standard office software (e.g. Word, Excel) or programming languages. Provide references only for specialized software.

Ludwig, T. (2002). PsychInquiry [computer software]. New York: Worth. Software that is downloaded from a Web site should provide the software’s version and year when available.

Hayes, B., Tesar, B., & Zuraw, K. (2003). OTSoft: Optimality Theory Software (Version 2.1) [Software]. Available from http://www.linguistics.ucla.edu/people/hayes/otsoft/

Here is the link to the source.

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