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Location Data Query with SpatiaLite and QGIS

Overview of Event:

How many people in New York City live within a quarter mile of a subway station? What is their average income? How does that compare to the population that *don't* live near a subway station? These kinds of questions can be answered using a geographic information system, but an alternative to standard GIS is in-database analysis using spatial query. This workshop will introduce you to using spatial functions in SQL (using SpatiaLite), and visualization of the results (using QGIS).

Speaker Bio:

Lee Hachadoorian spent 11 years in tech before going to graduate school in geography, with a focus on GIS and urban analysis. He is now a Visiting Assistant Professor at Dartmouth College, where he teaches courses in GIS, geovisualization, urban geography, and urban policy. His research interests include residential location, urban spatial development, urban inequality, and spatial database optimization.


For Everyone:

Download the files and folders from my Dropbox (browse or download all files zipped), which include data, a full tutorial [not yet available], and some software.

The new version of QSpatiaLite is now available through the official QGIS Plugins Repository. After installing QGIS using instructions for your OS, go to Plugins→Manage and Install Plugins… to install QSpatiaLite.


Install QGIS using the OSGeo4W installer ( The express install will install several other desktop GIS applications in addition to QGIS. Use the advanced install to avoid installing the additional packages, or to browse and add more.

Binaries (32- and 64-bit) of SpatiaLite GUI 1.7.1 are included in the Dropbox. This is a standalone binary, you can run it from anywhere in your file system (including a networked or removable drive). Source is available from Gaia-SINS website (


Install the precompiled QGIS binaries hosted at KyngChaos ( You need to install the GDAL framework first (listed under "Requirements"), before installing QGIS itself.

Binaries (Intel and PowerPC) of SpatiaLite GUI 1.4 are included in the Dropbox. This is an old version that will lack some functionality. If you want a more recent version, you will have to compile from source (available at the Gaia-SINS website I have old instructions for compiling from source for Ubuntu at They may be useful in helping to identify missing dependencies. If any participant is able to compile 1.7.1 before the workshop, I will copy the binary to the Dropbox for other participants to use.


For Ubuntu-based distros, add the ubuntugis-unstable PPA and install QGIS and SpatiaLite 1.6 with the following commands:

sudo apt-get install python-software-properties
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntugis/ubuntugis-unstable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install qgis python-qgis qgis-plugin-grass spatialite-gui

For other distros, install QGIS following the instructions at For SpatiaLite GUI you will have to check your distro's repositories, or compile from the source at I have old instructions for compiling from source for Ubuntu at They may be useful in helping to identify missing dependencies.

Pizza and drink will be served.

Join or login to comment.

  • Lee H.

    There is a great geodatabase available in both SpatiaLite and ESRI Personal Geodatabase (MS Access) format available at It includes a wide variety of public data sources including Census, transit, points of interest, etc. I think I mentioned this quickly during the talk, and it's also listed at the end of the tutorial PDF, but it is worth calling attention to.

    November 17, 2013

  • Xu F.

    The speaker was very thorough with each step of instruction. A bit fast at the beginning but it's good that he put the tutorial online so people could catch up without slowing others down. A great tutorial on querying spatial data.

    November 17, 2013

  • Lee H.

    Thank you everyone who came! It was fun for me, I hope you also found it fun, and useful. This was my first attempt at a recording a live event on my laptop, and unfortunately I messed up and lost the recording! But I am going to redo screencasts of the workshop in smaller (10-15 minute) chunks like "Loading and georeferencing XY coordinates" and "Joining American Community Survey data and Tiger/LINE files". I will announce on this list as they become available.

    Please feel free to contact me for any questions. (Some of you already have!)

    November 16, 2013

  • Sonya R.

    Lee, thanks so much for this great presentation! Getting over the threshold of getting everything working and some basic code examples was absolutely person for me. I'm excited to use this for my work!!

    November 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks Lee for sharing your skills and leading the meetup with real grace and patience, its a rare combination to have a well grounded yet competent presenter.

    November 15, 2013

  • Devin M.

    Great--Lee was an excellent presenter and I learned a lot. Hope to have him back soon.

    November 14, 2013

  • Lee H.

    The workshop instructions have been uploaded to my Dropbox: "Spatial Query Tutorial - NYC Subway.pdf". If you have a few minutes before work, consider printing off a copy to bring with you--and maybe one for a friend, since not everyone will get this message in time.

    See you all in 2.5 hours.


    November 14, 2013

  • Mike S.

    For OSX, there is a distribution of Spatialite-gui 1.5 that installs and runs. 1.4 does not run on Mavericks (I don't know about earlier versions).

    I installed the first one. Se the following forum link:!topic/spatialite-users/wnkjK9pde2E

    November 14, 2013

39 went

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Refunds offered if:

  • the Meetup is cancelled
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Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.

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