Author: Hannah

QGIS in 3 mins!

Presented during the Asian American Journalists Association’s Digital N3 #DN3

What is QGIS?
It’s a free and open-source mapping software for processing geospatial data.
Previously known as Quantum GIS. (GIS means Geographical Information System).

How can I use this in my reporting?
You can visualize your data using maps.

What does QGIS look like?

How can I learn QGIS?
I learned QGIS via Youtube tutorials created by my former Graphics mentor.

Where do I start?
1. Download and install QGIS.
2. Download base map data.
3. Watch some Youtube video tutorials, or get in touch with me if you questions!

A few more things:
1. Join The Spatial Community on Slack. You’ll find people from all over the world who are happy to help you out. Check out the #qgis channel!
2. Follow #gistribe and #augistribe on Twitter.

Thank you,
@hannahdormido | [email protected]

How to create a heatmap in QGIS

1. Format your data. Create a csv and csvt. Save with the same file names, same location (ie. test.csv and test.csvt).

2. Bring your datafile to QGIS. Drag and drop works.

3. Merge your files. Double click on your base layer (.shp file). The Layer Properties window will open. Go to Joins.

Click on the green + button at the bottom of the window. A pop-up box will appear. Choose the layers you want to join, and the fields you want to be merged. The Join field and Target field should have have similar data so they can be merged. For my dataset, I used country names as the point of merger. Hit OK.

4. Create an editable layer of your merged layers. To do this, right click on your .shp file, choose Save As, then go ahead and create your ESRI file.


5. Colorize your map. Open Layer Properties of new layer. Go to Style, click on the dropdown (default is usually Single symbol) and choose Graduated.

6. Customize. Choose which data column you want to use, toggle methods between Color and Size. For this we want to use Color. Choose the Color ramp you prefer. If you click on the dropdown menu, there should more colors to choose from. 

7. To classify your data, choose the mode you want to use. I used Pretty Breaks for this one, and 5 classes. Then click Classify and it will show you the symbol and values. Hit apply, and this will show on your map. Other mode of classification are Equal Interval, Quantile, Standard Deviation, Natural Breaks.

Note: The countries with values are not colored accordingly, I added an underlying layer for the other countries that don’t have values.

8. If you want an SVG of your map, go to Project > Print Composer, or simply Command + P.  To print the map, click on the button that looks like a  blank canvas with green + button (left hand side, sixth icon from from the top). To save as SVG, click on the icon which looks like a canvas with a snowflake. If you want to print the key/legend, click on the icon with colorful boxes, third icon down from Print.

Let me know if you have questions! 


Lunch Break Adventures: Hong Kong Park

Hong Kong Park is a pocket of nature hidden among skyscrapers, and one I’m truly grateful for. Newsrooms can be pretty tense and fast-paced, especially when you have to deal with North Korea  and Trump-related stories, among others. I love what I do, but there are days when the brain doesn’t cooperate and I feel like I’m stuck.

I have found the perfect spot to regroup, breathe and take some inspiration from to get me through the rest of the workday. An hour here does wonders to the soul!

Sharing with you some photos from my favorite lunch spot during not-so-hot Hong Kong days. Hope these photos make you want to visit and experience the park yourself.

A great reminder to just keep swimming.
“Bloom where you are planted.”
Dance with the wind, like these flowers that resemble dancers with puffy dresses.
Sitting pretty.
Just keep your head out of the water.
Sunbathing turtles.
I envy these buggers who can swim freely when the noon heat gets unbearable.
This beauty is known as gumamela in the Philippines. Hibiscus, if you were wondering.

Hong Kong Park is located at 19 Cotton Tree Drive, Central, Hong Kong Island. More info can be found on the #DiscoverHongKong website.


Sunday Snaps: Exploring Home

I had a grand plan for Sunday — wake up at noon and laze the rest of the day away in bed. But D had a better idea. He suggested I take a walk around the island, with a subtle reminder that I live in a beautiful place; much of it I have not yet explored. Recognizing that his idea is a great one, I put on my running shoes and my workout clothes, applied some sunscreen, and grabbed my camera bag for my Sunday afternoon adventure.

Having a chill Sunday was a very enticing plan after a physically-exhausting Saturday, but I have to agree that a photowalk is a brilliant idea. Taking photographs is a form of therapy for me. It helps me zone out the noise, forces me to focus on the beautiful things, trains me to observe and focus on the minute details.

I did not go very far, just walked the easy trail from Mo Tat Wan, the place I now call home, to Sok Kwu Wan, the more populated village on the east side of Lamma Island. The walk should take around 20 minutes if you have long legs or if you walk fast. But because I usually walk slowly, plus I would stop for long intervals to take photos, I think it took me a couple of hours.

I took hundreds of photographs, but these are my favorites:

Weekend tourists catching the kaido (open-air ferry) back to Hong Kong island.
If the weather is good on weekends, Mo Tat Wan transforms into a resort.
Tourists can enjoy water activities on weekends.
Wild flowers are gorgeous.
That little caterpillar will soon be a beautiful butterfly. Do you see it?
I almost missed these pretty little blooms. Such small flowers for a huge tree.
Some wild plant dancing with the wind.
There’s beauty in numbers.
Bruised by the wind, but some petals are holding on for dear life.
A fisherman and his boats.
A fisherman uses a motorboat to move from one floating fish pen to another.
A yacht (not in the photo) leaves behind some nasty waves for this little boat.
This butterfly has cheetah spots.
A cargo ship at the East Lamma Channel.
I never realized how tough it is to photograph butterflies in the wild, until today.
I spy a fun yacht! Photo taken from the hillside, with a view blocked by trees.
You’ve probably noticed my fascination with flowers by now.
Winning the camouflage game.


Of burning skies and floating fish pens.


My adventure ends with this sunset photo taken from my balcony.

I’m more than happy I decided to heed D’s advice. Hope you enjoy the photos from this island I now call home.