Adding a vector layer

Open a shapefile

On this page, the use of a map of Dutch municipalities is described, like offered by Statistics Netherlands in a ZIP-file (Map files). Unpack this file in a separate folder. A series of files named gem_2010_gn1 will appear. Together these files form the ‘shapefile’ that can be used to draw a municipal map of The Netherlands. Besides boundaries it contains statistical information about these municipalities (‘attributes’). Open the file gem_2010_gn1.shp in QGIS with ‘Layer / Add vector layer …’ (or the corresponding button on one of the toolbars at the top of the window). Make sure the file type is set to ‘ESRI shapefiles‘. That will make it easier to select the right file. In this case, the character set (‘Encoding’) should be set to ISO8859-1. Otherwise, special characters like accents will not be presented right.

After opening the file, you will notice a layer has been added to the ‘Layers’ panel on the left. The map is not yet visible in the map canvas. You have to click on the selection box first. If that does not give the desired result, click on the layer with the right mouse button and select ‘Zoom to layer extent‘.

Inspect attributes

To see the statistical data on the Dutch municipalities, click on the layer with the right mouse button and select ‘Open attribute table‘ (or use the button on one of the toolbars). Close the table for the next action.

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Pff.. saving dbf: general input/output error

Did you ever receive an Excell file to do some georeferencing, and thought: let’s save it as a dbf/Dbase4 format first. Because most FOSS gis application can handle that the best…

For some times I found this horrible error when trying to save it in Debian or Ubuntu: Error saving the document: General Error. General input/output error:

generalinput_outputerror dialog

Thinking it was an old Open/LibreOffice bug which was not to be fixed because nobody will use dbf files anymore…

Wrong! It’s just the fact that I/you did not install libreoffice-base / openoffice-base package in Ubuntu! Apparently this is not installed by default. After a thorough:

sudo apt-get install libreoffice-base

It will just work!!