Field data collection

In this session we will look at taking GIS into the field with QField.


By the end of this session, you should:

  • Be able to set up a data structure and forms for field data collection in QGIS
  • Be able to use QField to map and describe features in the field
  • Thought critically about the potential applications and limitations of mobile GIS for archaeology




QField is, essentially, a mobile-friendly user interface for QGIS with some extra tools for field data collection. It lets you transfer a QGIS project to a mobile device (typically a tablet) and use it as an interface for field mapping and documentation. In doing so, it can take advantage of QGIS’ in-built form builder, which is capable of creating complex custom data entry interfaces.


Setting up a project

The first step in using QField is to set up a project for it to use in the desktop edition of QGIS. Since we can’t go to Islay, we’ll create a demo project to document some features near the university (

Field data collection

We’ll now go outside and collect some data!


For your portfolio for this session, write a brief (ca. 250–500 word) critical reflection on the potential applications of mobile GIS in archaeology. Think about:

  • What types of archaeological fieldwork could mobile GIS be used for?
  • What are the advantages of mobile GIS over conventional paper documentation?
  • Are there technical or conceptual limitations to the use of mobile GIS in archaeology?