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Layer management in QGIS is extensively based on GDAL.

FITS format is supported in QGIS as long as GDAL version used in QGIS compilation has been linked to CFITSIO.

See installation instructions for GDAL.

Linux (Fedora and Ubuntu)

In order to have QGIS working with FITS

  • install CFITSIO (Fedora : cfitsio-devel ; Ubuntu : libcfitsio-dev)

  • install GDAL (Fedora : gdal-devel ; Ubuntu : libgdal-dev; or your custom version from source)
  • install QGIS

From source

See QGIS installation instruction. In particular for building dependencies.

If you want to link QGIS against your custom GDAL version verify GDAL dependencies in the "cmake" step.

  • Download the latest release source
  • $ tar zxvf QGIS-final-3_2_2.tar.gz; cd QGIS-final-3_2_2/
  • $ mkdir build-master; cd build-master
  • $ ccmake .. (if you want to run the configuration interactively)
  • $ cmake .. -D ... options here (if you run the configuration from the command line)
  • $ make -j 8


Pre-built version of QGIS for windows comes with a GDAL library not linked with CFITSIO.

FITS can be loaded as a GDAL Virtual raster using the fits2vrt conversion script.

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