For a project, I am collecting data continuously, and will continue the datacollection for quite some time. I enter my data into an excel spreadsheet, and import it to QGIS 2.16 for display and further analysis (using geographical coordinates).
In order to be able to viasualize my results continuously, I have to regularily import my data to QGIS. It is timeconsuming, thus I am seaching for a way to make the process more effective.
Is there a way to connect my datasheet to QGIS, so that every time I update my datasheet, my QGIS map gets updates? Or does anyone know of a program that enables this?

  • So you're manually entering data into Excel for your data collection process? – DPSSpatial Nov 3 '16 at 14:28
  • Yes, I am. For each coordinate position I record a number of parameters (presence/absence of trees, lakes, animals, ect.), and enter them into Excel. I could easily enter them into a different program if that would make it easier to transfer them to QGIS. – LHAndersen Nov 3 '16 at 14:34
  • OK check the answer I just posted - I think that would be a good workflow for what you're doing... – DPSSpatial Nov 3 '16 at 14:44
  • You could write a PyQGIS script that does the importing for you. If you want to go this way, look for example at this Q&A. – Vincent_v_E Nov 3 '16 at 14:44
  • re "I could easily enter them into a different program if that would make it easier..." - why not enter them directly inside QGIS? – Matthias Kuhn Nov 4 '16 at 15:45

You can visualise spreadsheet data from .csv format. At first export (or Save as..) your excel sheet to .csv. In QGIS use function Add Delimited Text Layer. Configure input data (csv format, geometry options ...) and check Watch file option. After you confirm configuration by OK you will be probably asked for coordinate system for given geometry - this is important for displaying data correctly.

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Every time you edit the .csv file the visualised layer change (adding/removing data, values editing changes defined symbology etx.). The layer is only link to data. For changes you only have to rerender layer (zoom, pan) or use reresh button. CSV file can be edited by text or spreadsheet editors.

Downside of .csv is that you can export only one sheet to it. So if you (for some reason) need to work with more sheets in one file, try to look for some plugins like XyTools or Spreadshhet Layers, but I don't know exactly how theese works.


Given that you aren't married to Excel for your data system, I would suggest:

  • Create a point shapefile with the fields you're going to be collecting - but not the lat/lon (coordinate fields) as you'll be entering them manually in QGIS and they will be converted to geometry (you can always get them out later)

  • Add the shapefile to your map and start editing

  • Use the Numerical Digitize plugin to enter coordinates (it will ask you to set the spatial reference system):

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  • Once you've clicked 'ok' to create the point, the Feature Attributes window will pop up and you can enter the remaining attributes of your point

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  • Click OK and your feature is created in your shapefile.

That, I feel, would be a pretty good way to collect spatial data and attributes especially given that you're already entering coordinates manually...

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