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Plugin Update August 2022

The QGIS plugin repository currently lists 1694 plugins and the list keeps on growing, even during the holiday season. It can be challenging to stay up to date.

Our new monthly plugin update is meant to provide you a quick overview of the newest plugins. If any of the names or short descriptions piques your interest, you can find the direct link to the plugin page in the table below the screenshot.

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QGIS 3.26 Buenos Aires is released!

We are pleased to announce the release of QGIS 3.26 ‘Buenos Aires’!

Installers for all supported operating systems are already out. QGIS 3.26 comes with tons of new features, as you can see in our visual changelog. QGIS 3.26 Buenos Aires is named after last year’s FOSS4G host city.

We would like to thank the developers, documenters, testers and all the many folks out there who volunteer their time and effort (or fund people to do so). From the QGIS community we hope you enjoy this release! If you wish to donate time, money or otherwise get involved in making QGIS more awesome, please wander along to qgis.org and lend a hand!

QGIS is supported by donors and sustaining members. A current list of donors who have made financial contributions large and small to the project can be seen on our donors list. If you would like to become a sustaining member, please visit our page for sustaining members for details. Your support helps us fund our six monthly developer meetings, maintain project infrastructure and fund bug fixing efforts.

QGIS is Free software and you are under no obligation to pay anything to use it – in fact we want to encourage people far and wide to use it regardless of what your financial or social status is – we believe empowering people with spatial decision making tools will result in a better society for all of humanity.

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QGIS Userbase Analytics

Understanding which regions QGIS is being used in, which versions are in active use, which platforms it is being used on, and how many users we have is hugely beneficial to our ability as a project to serve our users. Back in 2017 at the bi-annual QGIS hackfest in Nødebo, Denmark, we had a long discussion about key project goals and the need to better understand our user base in order to plan the future direction of the project, and allocate funding and resources to where they are needed most

Typically proprietary software vendors have ready access to detailed user data through telemetry code which they embed in their software. This telemetry code ‘phones home’ key metrics, which together with other techniques such as license sales analysis gives them a very detailed insight into their user base. The data these vendors collect is typically not shared, so their users do not benefit from being able to understand how their data is used.

For QGIS.org, having to resort to what are generally considered to be nefarious and privacy-invading techniques of siphoning user data from our users goes against the ethos we try to promote as an open project. Further, since QGIS is freely available and doesn’t require any self-registration, we do not have a user database we can consult for such analytics. Additional factors make understanding usage levels hard. For example, a single user can download a copy of a QGIS installer and distribute it to many other users, and conversely web crawlers and bots can download many copies of QGIS installers and never install them. Because of this, simply counting the number of downloads from our website does not give a useful picture of our user base.

So we needed to come up with an approach that:

  1. Does not invade our user’s privacy
  2. Does not require including telemetry code in QGIS which exfiltrates user information from their system
  3. Does not store any user-identifiable data on our servers
  4. Is open and transparent in the data collection methodology
  5. Openly shares the insights we gain from our analytics to the broader community

The most obvious privacy-respecting way we could find to understand more about our users was to collect metrics of access to the QGIS News Feed. In order to display the latest news on startup, QGIS Desktop makes a request to https://feed.qgis.org when it is opened. On the server that hosts the feed, we can then use the web server logs to understand which operating system and version of QGIS made the news feed request. Additionally, using the GeoIP library we can resolve each request to the country from which it originated. These pieces of information are included in the User-Agent headers sent by QGIS when it makes a request to the QGIS News Feed.

This process is anonymous, transparent, and simple to disable. It does not identify unique machines. Only one event is logged per unique network per hour. Only one event is logged per QGIS installation per day, and the event is only triggered when the user opens the QGIS Desktop application.

Operating system statistics are derived from QGIS version information, and no system fingerprinting or telemetry is implemented.

Location information is derived from the request source IP address, which is immediately discarded on the server after resolving it to the country of origin.

No logging on the QGIS News Feed server occurs with legacy installations that do not have the news feed feature, offline usage of QGIS, and installations for which feed collection is disabled (see below for info on how to disable it). It will also have statistics skewed in scenarios where atypical networking infrastructure is in effect, such as using a virtual private network.

Despite these caveats, the statistics should provide a good high-level overview of how QGIS is being used, such as the breakdown of QGIS across operating systems and versions – information that is incredibly useful to the QGIS developer team. Only the following four pieces of information are collected:

  • The date (aggregated by day)
  • The QGIS version
  • The Operating System
  • Country (based on IP which is immediately discarded)

Opting out

If you wish to opt-out of this data collection, simply disabling the feed retrieval, using QGIS offline, or blocking access to the QGIS RSS feed address (feed.qgis.org) on your network will exclude you from this process. QGIS Desktop provides options for disabling version checking and feed access under Settings ➔ Options ➔ General ➔ Application. Note that by default this setting is specific to each individual user profile.

Viewing the analytics

We have made a public dashboard publicly available at https://analytics.qgis.org. The dashboard was made using the fantastic open-source Metabase analytics package.

Credits: This post was written by Charles Dixon-Paver and Tim Sutton

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Save the date: QGIS contributor meeting in Firenze

After a long hiatus, we are happy to announce that there will be a another international QGIS Contributor Meeting in conjunction with this year’s FOSS4G in Firenze, Italy from 18 to 22 August 2022.

QGIS Contributors Meetings are volunteer-driven events where contributors to the QGIS project from around the world get together in a common space – usually a university campus. The event is normally three days in duration and we hold two such events each year. During these events, contributors to the QGIS project take the opportunity to plan their work, hold face-to-face discussions and present new improvements to the QGIS project that they have been working on. Everybody attending the event donates their time to the project for the days of the event. As a project that is built primarily through online collaboration, these meetings provide a crucial ingredient to the future development of the QGIS project. The event is planned largely as an ‘unconference’ with minimal structured programme planning. We do this to allow attendees the freedom to meet dynamically with those they encounter at the event. Those sessions that are planned are advertised on the event web page and we try to enable remote participation through video conferencing software. Although our hosts are not funded and donate the working space to us, we show our appreciation by making one of our software release’s splash screens in honour of that host, which is a great way to gain exposure of your institution and country to the hundreds of thousands of users that make use of QGIS.

For more details and to sign up, please visit the corresponding wiki page.

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QGIS Grant Programme 2022 Results

We are extremely pleased to announce the four funded proposals for our 2022 QGIS.ORG grant programme. Funding for the programme was sourced by you, our project donors and sponsorsNote: For more context surrounding our grant programme, please see: QGIS Grants #7: Call for Grant Proposals 2022

These are the proposals:

  1. Add SQL Logging to the debugging/development panel
  2. QGIS setting registry enhancement
  3. Fix handling of provider default value clauses/Autogenerate/nextval(…) handling
  4. Support building QGIS application on Qt 6

Since the total requested budget is equal to the available budget, there is no need for a voting this year.

On behalf of the QGIS.ORG project, I would like to thank everyone who submitted proposals for this call!

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Reports from the winning grant proposals 2021

With the QGIS Grant Programme 2021, we were able to support eight proposals that are aimed to improve the QGIS project, including software, infrastructure, and documentation. The following reports summarize the work performed in the proposals. 

  1.  QGIS Server and services documentation (#213) – Report
    The Services chapter of the QGIS Server documentation needed some love to
    be effectively representative of the underlying implementation. Numerous
    services, requests or parameters were not documented at all. Some others
    also had very sketchy descriptions. Thanks to this QEP, the Services
    chapter is now in a much better shape!
  2. Rework handling of multi-layer, mixed-format datasets (#216) – Report
    While the work was partly motivated as an opportunity to clean up some
    older parts of the QGIS codebase which were fragile and had low test
    coverage, it has also resulted in many improvements and polish in the
    QGIS user interface.
  3. Port DB Manager Table Management Functionalities to Browser: SQL execution (part 3) (#205) – Report
    Besides SQL execution functionalities, an additional PR adds to QGIS core the query layer management tool that was provided by DB Manager plugin. The new API is fully covered by unit tests.
  4. Locale support for numeric input and display: revision and enhancements (#210) – Report
    The work has been completed with multiple pull requests that fixed all localization issues that have been reported plus countless unreported issues that have been identified along the way.
  5. Integrate GPS Tools plugin functionality into core QGIS (#217) – Report
    This grant sees the removal of the old, unmaintained “GPS Tools” core plugin, with all functionality from the plugin moved to reusable Processing algorithms or the unified Data Source Manager dialog. Since the functionality now uses the Processing framework, users gain the ability to run these tools in batch modes, as part of graphical models, and from 3rd party scripts and plugins. As a bonus the new tools are all fully covered by unit tests.
  6. QGIS Server, OGC tests and Continuous Integration: OGC API Features (part 2 (#212) – Report
    Thanks to the QEP funding, the OGC API Features standard for QGIS Server is
    now checked in QGIS continuous integration since end-November 2021.
  7. Fixing terrain and camera issues in 3D (#215) – Report
    These improvements should make the 3D map view easier to use. Especially the camera control issues (unintuitivie camera rotation and wrong center point) were quite tricky to fix.
  8. Review process on plugins.qgis.org and improvements (#219) – This proposal has been withdrawn.

Thank you to everyone who participated and made this round of grants a great success and thank you to all our sponsor and donors who make this initiative possible!

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QGIS Annual General Meeting – 2021

Dear QGIS Community

We recently held our 2021 QGIS Annual General Meeting. The agenda included approval of the annual report and financial report 2020, as well as the new budget for 2022.

The minutes of this meeting are available for all to view.

Regards

Marco Bernasocchi (QGIS.ORG Chair)

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QGIS Grants #7: Call for Grant Proposals 2022

Dear QGIS Community,

We are very pleased to announce that this year’s round of grants is now available. The call is open to anybody who wants to make a funded contribution to QGIS, subject to the call conditions outlined in the application form.

The deadline for this round is in four weeks, on 13th February 2022.

As of 2022, we are changing the procedure in the following ways:

  • The project budgets should account for PR reviewing expenses to ensure timely handling of the project-related PRs and avoid delays caused by relying on reviewer volunteer time. 
  • In the week after the QEP discussion period, the proposal authors are expected to write a short summary of the discussion that is suitable for use as a basis on which voting members make their decisions. 

Also, note the following guidelines established in previous years: 

  • The proposal must be submitted as a ‘QEP’ (QGIS Enhancement Proposal) issue in the repo: https://github.com/qgis/QGIS-Enhancement-Proposals (tagged as Grant-YEAR). Following this approach will allow people to ask questions and provide public feedback on individual proposals.
  • Proposals must clearly define the expected final result, so that we can properly assess if the goal of the proposal has been reached.

For more details, please read the introduction provided in the application form.

We look forward to seeing all your great ideas for improving QGIS!

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QGIS and Log4j

The Log4J vulnerability has been dominating recent tech news. Consequently, we’ve received many request asking whether QGIS is affected. Therefore, we’d like to clarify:

QGIS is not a Java application. QGIS is built using C++ and Python. QGIS therefore does not use any Java component, including Log4j(ava).

It is technically possible that a plugin interfaces with Java applications. If you are aware of any potential vulnerabilities, please contact the plugin developers through the contact information provided in the plugin meta data.

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QGIS LTR 3.16.13 reverted to 3.16.11

Dear community,

Due to some rather severe issues in the 3.16.13 and .12 Windows MSI installers, we decided to temporarily revert back the available download to the latest release without those issues, 3.16.11. The website rebuild has been performed and you’ll see everywhere that 3.16.11 is the latest LTR. This is true for Windows only as other OS will keep delivering the latest 3.16.13.

Next Friday 19th November is the planned release date for 3.16.14 which should bring fixes to both the above mentioned issues and restore the normal release flow.

Quoting our release manager Jürgen Fischer:”Only the 3.16.13 MSI is broken (not sure if 3.16.12-2 is affected). OSGeo4W
v2 was meanwhile fixed. All other platforms are not affected at all. The next release is on Friday and will also produce a fresh MSI.”

We apologize for the inconvenience and would like to take the opportunity to remind you how much work goes into producing and maintaining the high quality product that you’ve grown to love and that this is only possible thanks to our sustaining members and volunteers. If you or your organisation is relying on QGIS, it might be a good time to consider joining QGIS’ funding effort at https://qgis.org/funding or https://github.com/sponsors/qgis/

Have a great week, cheers

Marco

Original post: https://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/qgis-user/2021-November/050193.html


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