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Exploring Vienna’s street-level Lidar “Kappazunder” data sample

Kappazunder is the city of Vienna’s database created during their recent mobile mapping campaign. Using vehicle-mounted Lidar and cameras, they collected street-level Lidar and street view images.

Slide from the official announcement on Thursday, 23rd Sept 2021. Full slide deck: https://www.slideshare.net/DigitalesWien/kappazunder-testdatensatz-2020-ogd-wien

Yesterday, they published a first sample dataset, containing one trajectory on data.gv.at. The download contains documentation, vector data (.shp), images (.jpg), and point clouds (.laz):

Trajectory

The shapefiles contain vehicle location updates, photo locations, and areas describing the extent of the point clouds. Since the shapefile lack .prj files, we need to manually specify the correct CRS (EPSG:31256 MGI / Austria GK East).

The vehicle location updates and photo locations contain timestamps as epoch. However, the format is a little special:

To display a human-readable timestamp, I therefore used the following label expression:

format_date( datetime_from_epoch( "epoch_s"*1000), 'HH:mm:ss')

Adding these labels also reveals that the whole trajectory is just 2 minutes long. This puts the download size of over 5GB into perspective. The whole dataset will be massive.

Lidar

The .laz files are between 100 and 200MB, each. There are four .laz files, even though the previously loaded point cloud extent areas only suggested three:

Loading the .laz files for the first time takes a while and there seem to be some issues – either on the user end (me) or in the files themselves. Trying to load content of the ept_ folders only results in very few points and multiple “invalid data source” errors:

For the few point that are loaded, it looks like the height information is available:

Update on 2021-10-01: I’ve reported the data loss issue and Martin Dobias has provided a first work-around that makes it possible to view the data in QGIS:

135284370-b07272bb-be8a-47ac-b050-d6024613c63b.png (911×765)

Images

The street view images are published as cubemaps. Here’s a sample of the side view:

(Nederlands) Sprekers gezocht voor QGIS track FOSS4GNL

Sorry, this entry is only available in Dutch.

Great label callout lines

One of the new features in QGIS 3.20 is the option to trim the start and end of simple line symbols. This allows for the line rendering to trim off the first and last sections of a line at a user configured distance, as shown in the visual changelog entry

This new feature makes it much easier to create decorative label callout (or leader) lines. If you know QGIS Map Design 2, the following map may look familiar – however – the following leader lines are even more intricate, making use of the new trimming capabilities:

To demonstrate some of the possibilities, I’ve created a set of four black and four white leader line styles:

You can download these symbols from the QGIS style sharing platform: https://plugins.qgis.org/styles/101/ to use them in your projects. Have fun mapping!

QGIS Atlas on steroids

Today’s post is a video recommendation. In the following video, Alexandre Neto demonstrates an exciting array of tips, tricks, and hacks to create an automated Atlas map series of the Azores islands.

Highlights include:

1. A legend that includes automatically updating statistics

2. A way to support different page sizes

3. A solution for small areas overshooting the map border

You’ll find the video on the QGIS Youtube channel:

This video was recorded as part of the QGIS Open Day June edition. QGIS Open Days are organized monthly on the last Friday of the month. Anyone can take part and present their work for and with QGIS. For more details, see https://github.com/qgis/QGIS/wiki#qgis-open-day

(Fr) QSoccer : QGIS, football, what else ?

Sorry, this entry is only available in French.

Ask Me Anything about QGIS release management

Friday 29 January, Richard and Raymond will do an Ask Me Anything (in Dutch) on release management, and how to advise clients on which releases they should deploy. And the meaning of FF, difference between LR and LTR, etc. It’s in Dutch, but if you want to join in anyway: https://meet.jit.si/qgisnl-release-amaQGIS

(Nederlands) Communicatieplatform Gebruikersvereniging

Sorry, this entry is only available in Dutch.

Plotting large point CSV files quickly & interactively

Even with all their downsides, CSV files are still a common data exchange format – particularly between disciplines with different tech stacks. Indeed, “How to Specify Data Types of CSV Columns for Use in QGIS” (originally written in 2011) is still one of the most popular posts on this blog. QGIS continues to be quite handy for visualizing CSV file contents. However, there are times when it’s just not enough, particularly when the number of rows in the CSV is in the range of multiple million. The following example uses a 12 million point CSV:

To give you an idea of the waiting times in QGIS, I’ve run the following script which loads and renders the CSV:

from datetime import datetime

def get_time():
    t2 = datetime.now()
    print(t2)
    print(t2-t1)
    print('Done :)')

canvas = iface.mapCanvas()
canvas.mapCanvasRefreshed.connect(get_time)

print('Starting ...')

t0 = datetime.now()
print(t0)

print('Loading CSV ...')

uri = "file:///E:/Geodata/AISDK/raw_ais/aisdk_20170701.csv?type=csv&xField=Longitude&yField=Latitude&crs=EPSG:4326&"
vlayer = QgsVectorLayer(uri, "layer name you like", "delimitedtext")

t1 = datetime.now()
print(t1)
print(t1 - t0)

print('Rendering ...')

QgsProject.instance().addMapLayer(vlayer)

The script output shows that creating the vector layer takes 02:39 minutes and rendering it takes over 05:10 minutes:

Starting ...
2020-12-06 12:35:56.266002
Loading CSV ...
2020-12-06 12:38:35.565332
0:02:39.299330
Rendering ...
2020-12-06 12:43:45.637504
0:05:10.072172
Done :)

Rendered CSV file in QGIS

Panning and zooming around are no fun either since rendering takes so long. Changing from a single symbol renderer to, for example, a heatmap renderer does not improve the rendering times. So we need a different solutions when we want to efficiently explore large point CSV files.

The Pandas data analysis library is well-know for being a convenient tool for handling CSVs. However, it’s less clear how to use it as a replacement for desktop GIS for exploring large CSVs with point coordinates. My favorite solution so far uses hvPlot + HoloViews + Datashader to provide interactive Bokeh plots in Jupyter notebooks.

hvPlot provides a high-level plotting API built on HoloViews that provides a general and consistent API for plotting data in (Geo)Pandas, xarray, NetworkX, dask, and others. (Image source: https://hvplot.holoviz.org)

But first things first! Loading the CSV as a Pandas Dataframe takes 10.7 seconds. Pandas’ default plotting function (based on Matplotlib), however, takes around 13 seconds and only produces a static scatter plot.

Loading and plotting the CSV with Pandas

hvPlot to the rescue!

We only need two more steps to get faster and interactive map plots (plus background maps!): First, we need to reproject the lat/lon values. (There’s a warning here, most likely since some of the input lat/lon values are invalid.) Then, we replace plot() with hvplot() and voilà:

Plotting the CSV with Datashader

As you can see from the above GIF, the whole process barely takes 2 seconds and the resulting map plot is interactive and very responsive.

12 million points are far from the limit. As long as the Pandas DataFrame fits into memory, we are good and when the datasets get bigger than that, there are Dask DataFrames. But that’s a story for another day.

Dashboards in QGIS

If you are following QGIS topics on social media, you may have already seen this but if you don’t, I recommend having a look at Tim Sutton’s most recent adventures in building dashboards with QGIS:

The dashboard is built using labeling and geometry generator functionality. This means that they work in the QGIS application map window as well as in layouts. As hinted at in the screenshot above, the dashboard can show information about whole layers as well as interactive selections.

Here’s a full walk-through Tim published yesterday:

You can follow the further development via Tim’s tweets or the dedicated Github issue (where you can even find an example QGIS dashboard project in a GeoPacakge for download).

(Fr) Oslandia recrute : ingénieur(e) développement C++ / Python – OSL2011B

Sorry, this entry is only available in French.

More icons & symbols for QGIS – updated

The 2016 post More icons & symbols for QGIS still regularly makes it to the top 10 list of posts by visitors. I wouldn’t attribute this popularity to the quality of this particular post, however. Instead, it’s a pretty clear sign that QGIS users are actively searching for more styling resources to add to their installations.

When it comes to styling resources, the person to follow right now is clearly Klas Karlsson who’s been keeping a steady stream of styling-related posts coming to Twitter:

Additionally, he’s the master-mind behind QGIS Hub, a – currently prototypical – platform for sharing styling resources and print layout templates:

If you are interested in sharing styling resources, head over there. Similarly, if you want to lend a hand developing QGIS Hub, get in touch!

Store and visualize your raster in the Cloud with COG and QGIS

We have recently been working for the French Space Agency ( CNES ) who needed to store and visualize satellite rasters in a cloud platform. They want to access the image raw data, with no transformation, in order to fullfill deep analysis like instrument calibration. Using classic cartographic server standard like WMS or TMS is not an option because those services transform datasets in already rendered tiles.

We chose to use a quite recent format managed by GDAL, the COG (Cloud Optimize Geotiff) and target OVH cloud platform for it provides OpenStack, a open source cloud computing platform.

How it works

A COG file is a GEOTiff file which inner structure is tiled, meaning that the whole picture is divided in fixed size tile (256 x 256 pixels for instance) so you can efficiently retrieve parts of the raster. In addition to the HTTP/1.1 standard feature range request, it is possible to get specific tiles of an image through the network without downloading the entire raster.

We used a service provided by OpenStack, called Object Storage to serve the COG imagery. Object storage allows to store and retrieve file as objects using HTTP GET/POST requests.

Why not WCS ?

Web Coverage Service standard could have been an option. A WCS server can serve raw data according to a given geographic extent. It’s completely possible to deploy a container or a VPS (Virtual Private Server) running a WCS Server in a cloud plateform. The main advantages of the COG solution over WCS Server is that you don’t have to deal with the burden of deploying a server, like giving it ressources, configuring load balancing, handle updates, etc…

The beauty of COG solution is its simplicity. It is only HTTP requests, and everything else (rendering for instance) is done on the client side.

Step by step

Here are the different steps you’d have to go through if you’re willing to navigate in a big raster image directly from the cloud.

First, let’s generate a COG file

gdal_translate inputfile.tif cogfile.tif -co TILED=YES -co COPY_SRC_OVERVIEWS=YES -co COMPRESS=DEFLATE

Install your openstack-client, it can be achieved easily with Python pip install command line

$ pip install python-openstackclient

Next, configure your openstack client in order to generate an athentification token. To do so you need to download your project specific openrc file to setup your environment)

$ source myproject-openrc.sh
Please enter your OpenStack Password for project myproject as user myuser:
**********
$ openstack token issue                                 
+------------+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Field      | Value                                                                                                                                                                                   |
+------------+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| expires    | 2020-07-21T08:15:12+0000                                                                                                                                                                |
| id         | xxxx_my_token_xxxx
| project_id | 97e2e750f1904b41b76f80a50dabde0a                                                                                                                                                        |
| user_id    | 18f7ccaf1a2d4344a4e35f0d84eb065e                                                                                                                                                        |
+------------+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+

You are now good to push you COG file to the cloud instance

openstack object create MyContainer cogfile.tif --name cogfile.tif

Before starting QGIS, 2 environment variables need to be set.  (replace xxxx_my_token_xxxx with the token you’d just come to generate)

$ export SWIFT_AUTH_TOKEN=xxxx_my_token_xxxx
$ export SWIFT_STORAGE_URL=https://storage.sbg.cloud.ovh.net/v1/AUTH_$OS_PROJECT_ID

It can also be done directly from the QGIS Python console by setting those variable using the os.environ.

Finally, add a cloud raster data source in in QGIS

You can now navigating into your image directly reading it from the cloud

© CNES 2018, Distribution Airbus DS

Performances

While panning in the map, QGIS will download only few tiles from the image in order to cover the view extent. The display latency that you could see in the video depends essentially on:

  • The number of band of your image
  • The pixel size
  • Your internet connection (mine, the one use for the video, is not an awesome one)

Note that the white flickering that you could see when you move in the map and the raster is refreshed should be removed in next version of QGIS according to this QEP.

What’s next ?

Thanks so much to the GDAL and QGIS contributors for adding such a nice feature ! It brings lots of possibilities for organizations that have to deal with great number of big raster and just want to explore part of it.

We are already thinking about further improvments (ease authentification, better integration with processing…), so if you’re willing to fund them or just want to know more about QGIS, feel free to contact us at [email protected]. And please have a look at our support offering for QGIS.

Line Label Placement: Our gift to the QGIS community!

If you’re a follower of North Road’s social media accounts, it probably comes as no surprise to hear that we love sharing regular tips and useful suggestions about working with spatial data on these channels. Recently, we realised we were close to a new milestone of 4k followers of our Twitter stream. This milestone gave us the perfect excuse to give something back to all these followers! So we ran a little promo, where we promised that if we hit 4k followers we’d implement a new feature in QGIS, as determined by a popular vote:

Given we’ve now reached the target milestone, it was our turn to deliver! So we’re proud to introduce a new feature coming in QGIS 3.16: the ability to control exactly where labels are positioned along line feature! Let’s take a look!…

In previous QGIS releases, whenever labels are enabled for a line layer these labels will automatically gravitate towards the center of the line features:

In certain situations, it’s desirable for these labels to be positioned in specific positions along these line features (e.g. at the start of lines, or at the end of lines). With this new feature gift to the community, QGIS users have to option to precisely control the label placement for these lines:

 

There’s new options for placing the labels at the start of lines, end of lines, or at a custom offset along the line.

This option can be super-handy when combined with Rule Based Labelling, as it allows you to have different labels at the start versus end of lines:

So there we go! Another great QGIS cartography enhancement, heading your way in QGIS 3.16, and just a little thank you back to the community for all your support of North Road.

And if you’re not following us on social media yet, it’s a great to start… because who knows when our next little giveaway will be?!

 

Publication de l’extension COVADIS RAPEA pour QWAT et QGEP

QWAT est une application open source de gestion des réseaux d’eau potable émanant des collectivités de Pully, le SIGE à Vevey, Morges et Lausanne.
QGEP est son homologue dédiée à la gestion des eaux usées et pluviales, initiée par le groupe utilisateur QGIS Suisse.

L’échange de données entre institutions est une pierre angulaire des politiques de l’eau. Ces échanges se basent sur des formats d’échanges standardisés. Ainsi les Cantons de Fribourg (format aquaFRI) ou de Vaud (format SIRE) conditionnent certaines subventions publiques à la transmission des données selon des formats pré-définis et permettent à ces échelons administratifs d’avoir une vision globale des réseaux humides.

Dans le cadre d’une expérimentation des outils QWAT (eau potable) et QGEP (eaux usées), Charentes Eaux a souhaité mettre en œuvre des extensions dédiées au standard d’échange de données sur les réseaux d’eau Français, le Géostandard Réseaux d’adduction d’eau potable et d’assainissement (RAEPA) défini par la Commission de validation des données pour l’information spatialisée (COVADIS).

Oslandia a été mandaté pour mettre en œuvre des instances de QWAT et QGEP, réaliser les extensions RAEPA pour chacun de ces outils, et aider Charente Eaux à charger les données des collectivités membres de ce syndicat mixte.

https://charente-eaux.fr/le-syndicat/qui-sommes-nous/

Le travail a été publié pour QWAT sous forme d’une extension standardisée dans le dépôt l’organisation QWAT https://github.com/qwat/extension_fr_raepa/

Pour QGEP, il n’existe pas encore de fonctionnalité pour gérer d’extension, le dépôt https://gitlab.com/Oslandia/qgep_extension_raepa/ contient donc les définitions de données et de vues à rajouter manuellement au modèle de données.

La compatibilité des modèles de données a été évaluée et le choix a été fait de ne faire que des vues dédiées à l’export de données. Il est techniquement possible de faire des vues éditables pour permettre le chargement de données via ces vues depuis des fichiers suivant le gabarit de données RAEPA. Le niveau de simplification et d’agrégation des listes de valeurs rend ce travail peu générique dans l’état actuel du géostandard (v1.1), il est donc plus pertinent à ce stade de réaliser des scripts de chargement sans passer par ce pivot dans le cas de Charente-Eaux

Announcing the Point Cloud Data in QGIS Crowdfunding Campaign!

With the recent advancements in LiDAR survey technology and photogrammetry there has been a huge demand in capturing and storing point cloud data. Point cloud data are vector in nature, but are usually orders of magnitude larger than a standard vector layer. Typical vector datasets range from thousands to millions of features, while point clouds range from millions to billions or even trillions of points. Due to this sheer number of points a completely different approach to visualise, analyse and store point clouds is needed in a GIS platform.

Integrating a point cloud viewer in a desktop GIS application adds a lot of value for users compared to a specialised and dedicated point cloud viewer:

  • Point cloud data can be visualised, compared, and analysed alongside other types of spatial data (including vector, raster and mesh layers)
  • A familiar user interface and workflows
  • Integration with analytical tools to quickly create derived datasets

Despite these benefits, current versions of the QGIS desktop application do not support visualisation of point cloud data. With our partners at Lutra Consulting and Hobu, we have decided to bridge this missing gap and add point cloud support in QGIS, and are launching a new crowdfunding campaign to fund this work!

Head on over to the official crowd funding page here for the full details of the campaign, and for details on how you can contribute and make this work a reality.

Announcing SLYR Community Edition

North Road are proud to announce the official release of SLYR Community Edition, a new open-source version of our powerful SLYR ESRI to Open Source compatibility suite. The Community Edition is available for download from the official QGIS plugin repository today, for QGIS versions 3.4 and above. It supports automated conversion of ESRI .style symbol databases, including conversion of markers, fills, line styles and color ramps to their closest QGIS symbology equivalent, allowing users to instantly transition their style libraries into QGIS!

If you’ve followed our work in the past, it will come as no surprise to hear that North Road are passionate about open source geospatial, and for reducing the barriers which users encounter when moving to open-source software. We see our SLYR tool as an integral part of this process, and the licensed version of the plugin currently supports automated conversion of MXD, LYR, PMF, and other ESRI-specific formats to QGIS documents.

Our intention all along has been to make this tool freely available for all users of open-source geospatial software, and to release our work under a permissive, open-source license so that other projects can take advantage of our reverse engineering efforts. That’s why we made an “open source pledge” a fundamental part of our SLYR tool development! By the terms of this pledge, exactly six months after we hit staged preset funding levels we will open-source more components of the code and update the community version of the plugin accordingly. (This approach gives motivated organisations instant access to the full functionality of the SLYR tool via a license purchase, or free access to a subset of this functionality via the community edition of the plugin. It allows us to heavily invest in further reverse-engineering efforts and improvements to the plugin, to QGIS, and to the wider open-source geospatial community.)

If you’re keen to explore transitioning your workplace from ESRI to open-source, send us an email to discuss what we can offer! North Road staff have years of experience in implementing open-source geospatial solutions within commercial workplaces, and for setting up dual commercial-and-open-source friendly environments.

Offline WMS – Benchmarking raster formats for QField

What are we looking for?

We would like to use WMS offline on QField. For that, we need to figure out what is the best way to get a raster from a WMS and which format is the most efficient (size and performance).

In this post we’ll show you is how to generate the ideal raster file from a WMS and the results of our efficiency tests for the the different raster formats.

WMS to GPKG

The simple way

If there is no limitation on the WMS or you need only a small region, here is the easiest process.

  1. Request the WMS and store a description file in XML:
gdal_translate "WMS:url" file.xml -of WMS
  1. Create a Geopackage from the information in the description file.
gdal_translate -of GPKG file.xml file.gpkg -co TILE_FORMAT=JPEG

That was quite simple, right?

The larger datasets way

If the command takes too much time, it means that it is trying to download too much data and could be caused by downloading higher resolution data than required.
The command might even completely fail if it contains a request for bigger data blocks thant the server allows.

Here is the process to get larger datasets in a simple way. Let’s use a real example:

  1. Use gdal_translate "WMS:https://www.gebco.net/data_and_products/gebco_web_services/web_map_service/mapserv?request=getmap&service=wms&crs=EPSG:4326&format=image/jpeg&layers=gebco_latest&version=1.1.0" test.xml -of WMS
  2. Open the test.xml file for editing, here you’ll find the parameters of the WMS. We change the “SizeX” to 3600 and “SizeY” to 1800. By changing these parameters we lower the resolution. It is important to keep proportionality.
  3. Another thing we need to change are “BlockSizeX” and “BlockSizeY” that define the size of the tiles. We change both to 2048.
  4. Finally, use gdal_translate -of GPKG test.xml test.gpkg -co TILE_FORMAT=JPEG
  5. To make a Geopackage pyramid use gdaladdo GPKG:test.gpkg:gebco_latest. It will replace the Geopackage, if you want to keep the original one, you need to copy it first.

Now you have a raster Geopackage that you can use in QField.

Testing raster formats

Preparing the files

As first step we exported our test orthophoto WMS to a plain GeoTIFF using QGIS’ default behaviour.

Default parameters used to create the initial tiff
Formatgdal_translategdaladdo
gpkg JPEGgdal_translate -of GPKG “C:\test\ortho_test.tif” “C:\test\test_JPEG.gpkg” -co TILE_FORMAT=JPEG
gpkg PNGgdal_translate -of GPKG “C:\test\ortho_test.tif” “C:\test\test_PNG.gpkg” -co TILE_FORMAT=PNG
gpkg PNG_JPEGgdal_translate -of GPKG “C:\test\ortho_test.tif” “C:\test\test_PNG_JPEG.gpkg” -co TILE_FORMAT=PNG_JPEG
gpkg PNG8gdal_translate -of GPKG “C:\test\ortho_test.tif” “C:\test\test_PNG8.gpkg” -co TILE_FORMAT=PNG8
gpkg WEBPgdal_translate -of GPKG “C:\test\ortho_test.tif” “C:\test\test_WEBP.gpkg” -co TILE_FORMAT=WEBP
gpkg pyramid_JPEGgdal_translate -of GPKG “C:\test\ortho_test.tif” “C:\test\test_JPEG.gpkg” -co TILE_FORMAT=JPEGgdaladdo GPKG:C:\test\test_JPEG.gpkg:test_gpkg_JPEG
gpkg pyramid_PNGgdal_translate -of GPKG “C:\test\ortho_test.tif” “C:\test\test_PNG.gpkg” -co TILE_FORMAT=PNGgdaladdo GPKG:C:\test\test_PNG.gpkg:test_gpkg_PNG
gpkg pyramid_PNG_JPEGgdal_translate -of GPKG “C:\test\ortho_test.tif” “C:\test\test_PNG_JPEG.gpkg” -co TILE_FORMAT=PNG_JPEGgdaladdo GPKG:C:\test\test_PNG_JPEG.gpkg:test_gpkg_PNG_JPEG
gpkg pyramid_PNG8gdal_translate -of GPKG “C:\test\ortho_test.tif” “C:\test\test_PNG8.gpkg” -co TILE_FORMAT=PNG8gdaladdo GPKG:C:\test\test_PNG8.gpkg:test_gpkg_PNG8
gpkg pyramid_WEBPgdal_translate -of GPKG “C:\test\ortho_test.tif” “C:\test\test_WEBP.gpkg” -co TILE_FORMAT=WEBPgdaladdo GPKG:C:\test\test_WEBP.gpkg:test_gpkg_WEBP
JPEG2000gdal_translate -of JP2OpenJPEG “C:\test\ortho_test.tif” “C:\test\test_jpeg_2000.jpg”
COG DEFLATEgdal_translate “C:\test\ortho_test.tif” “C:\test\test_cog.tif” -co TILED=YES -co COPY_SRC_OVERVIEWS=YES -co COMPRESS=DEFLATE
COG_JPEGgdal_translate “C:\test\ortho_test.tif” “C:\test\test_cog_JPEG.tif” -co TILED=YES -co COPY_SRC_OVERVIEWS=YES -co COMPRESS=JPEG
tifIn QGIS right click on the layer > export > save as > (see the details in the picture under the table)
MBTgdal_translate -of MBTILES “C:\test\ortho_test.tif” “C:\test\test_mbt.mbtiles”
Creation commands for all the tested formats

Rendering test results

We have tested many formats, here is a table with the results of the size and rendering speed in QGIS and QField.
To analyze the speed we used qgis_bench.exe -i 10 -p "C:\test\test.qgs" >> "C:\test\test.log.
Qgis_bench is a tool that renders a QGIS project a number of times to get performance measurements. The parameter -i is to define the iterations and -p is the project used which contains only the generated raster.

FormatExtent [m]File size [GB]Total_avgTotal_maxdevTotal_minTotal_stdev
gpkg JPEG52’880/29’2300.4250.242255.7815.539244.984
gpkg PNG52’880/29’2302.9412.002490.328152.142259.859
gpkg PNG_JPEG52’880/29’2300.4250.125256.8756.750245.172
gpkg PNG852’880/29’2301.4283.875296.40612.625271.250
gpkg WEBP52’880/29’2300.3330.238348.10973.534256.703
gpkg pyramid_JPEG52’880/29’2300.51.0093.4062.3970.688
gpkg pyramid_PNG52’880/29’2303.01.2083.2812.0730.688
gpkg pyramid_PNG_JPEG52’880/29’2300.61.4914.3442.8531.016
gpkg pyramid_PNG852’880/29’2301.61.5084.3752.8670.969
gpkg pyramid_WEBP52’880/29’2300.41.3334.9063.5730.766
JPEG200052’880/29’2301.113.888136.109122.2220.219
COG DEFLATE52’880/29’2303.6264.427273.09425.411239.016
COG_JPEG52’880/29’2301.014.778131.172116.3941.734
tif52’880/29’2306.42.3676.7344.3671.672
MBT52’880/29’2304.40.4694.6414.1710
Comparison of file size and rendering speed of different raster formats. “Total” columns are rendering times in [s]. Lower file size is more storage friendly, lower Total_avg is more performant.

Analysis

File size

The Geopackage WEBP (with and without pyramid) has the best result for file size, but it is not yet supported by QField (from 1.6) and is only slightly smaller than the JPEG variant.

Plain GeoTiff, MBTiles, Cloud Optimized GeoTIFF (COG – DEFLATE mode) and Geopackages with PNG generate by far the largest file sizes (up to 20x larger) and are thus not recommended.

Rendering speed

MBTiles are on average double as fast as JPEG Geopackages with pyramids which in turn are more than double as fast as GeoTIFF and 15x faster than COG.
Geopackages without pyramids are 200 to 400 times slower.

Conclusion

Even though MBTiles render faster than the Geopackage pyramid JPEG, they come with an almost 10x bigger storage requirement which makes us say that the best offline raster format supported by QField is Geopackage pyramid JPEG or if you need transparency and slightly smaller files Geopackage pyramid WebP.

If you need transparency before QField 1.6, the best results are achieved with Geopackage pyramid PNG_JPEG.

Plugin Manager improvement

During the 2020 Swiss QGIS Users Group annual meeting, a proposal to improve the plugin manager was accepted to improve QGIS’ plugin manager. Starting with version 3.14, it will be possible to choose whether to install the stable or the experimental version of individual plugins.

This feature will greatly improve the workflow between developers and users of a plugin. Users will be able to easily switch between the stable version used in production, and the experimental version to test out new features.

Until now, it was necessary either to configure a dedicated extensions repository or to have users manually install development version from a zip file.

You can test out this new feature before 3.14 is out by installing a recent nightly build of QGIS and making sure you have enabled the “show experimental versions” in the plugin manager.

We’re very thankful to the Swiss QGIS User Group for funding this new feature!

Marco becomes QGIS.org Chair

Serving as a pragmatic community conciliator – collecting thoughts from people with differing opinions and trying to find the high road through difficult issues – I want to focus my and the community’s energies on our core product, QGIS.

Marco Bernasocchi · QGIS.org Chair

OPENGIS.ch has always been dedicated to sustaining QGIS’ technological and economical well-being, supporting it with endless hours of internally funded QA, infrastructure works and developments.

Today we are very proud to announce that our commitment has grown even more as one of our founders and CEO Marco Bernasocchi was elected Chair of the QGIS.org association.

With over 15 years of involvement with QGIS (he started working with QGIS 0.6) and two years serving as vice-chair, Marco will serve for the next two years as Chairperson of the QGIS.org association.

Understanding the importance of the role trusted him, Marco would like to thank the QGIS community for the trust and appreciation. Marco is looking forward to intensifying work with the PSC and the fantastic QGIS community to push QGIS even further.

We wish Marco and the rest of the elected PSC two very successful years full of QGIS awesomeness.

Rock on QGIS! – read more at QGIS Annual General Meeting – 2020

Marco’s vision for QGIS.org:

I want to help QGIS and it’s community thrive under the value proposition of:

Making the most amazing opensource GIS that provides users with value and that meets their needs by providing great functionality and usability, being cost-effective whilst being actively supported by a vibrant and knowledgeable community.

Sharing our work under an open-source license is part of the approach by which we achieve that value proposition as it allows broad collaboration with our developers and users community.

I see FOSS as a very socially responsible way to develop software, but even more, I see the immense technological advantage that writing open-source code brings. This is why I want our focus to be on allowing both pragmatic and ideological views to respectfully coexist and enrich each other.

One of my main motivations to be part of the PSC and to make myself available as project Chair is to help QGIS keep this incredible growth rate by being even more attractive to new community members, sponsors and large/corporate users. To achieve this, the key is maintaining the right balance between sustainable processes (that guarantee the great quality QGIS has been known for) and an interesting and motivating grassroots project to ensure that QGIS remains an attractive project for volunteers to contribute to and help QGIS and its community to grow to become even more the reference [Open Source] GIS project.

QField 1.4 released – Happy new year

What a year’s start! After a very packed December publishing all the QGIS on the road videos and quietly releasing QField 1.3 – Ben Nevis we could have gone and relaxed over the holidays. But since we love QField so much we immediately started working on the next iteration. Now, after an intensive testing period, we are proud to announce the release of QField 1.4 – Olavtoppen.

Olavtoppen!? yes, the highest point of Bouvet Island, the remotest island on Earth. And sure enough, QField would follow you there!

As usual, get it on play store or download it from GitHub.

QField Crowdfunding Campaign

Before digging into all the new goodness that you will find in QField 1.4, let’s get a big “Thanks” out to everybody who supported our crowdfunding campaign for improved camera support and all our customers that agreed to open source the work we did for them.

If you like QField, want a new feature or would like to support the project, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Usability enhancements

In QField 1.2 we started to improve on the usability of the user interface. We are constantly working on this with a usability expert to get the user interface to be even more appealing and user-friendly.

Besides lots of clean-up and polishing, QField received two major improvements, a portrait mode and a new welcome screen with recent projects.

Welcome screen with recent projects

QField is all about efficiency. While favourites folders in the file selector already give a great productivity boost, very often we work with the same 3-4 projects. This is why we redesigned the welcome screen to list the last five project used. And if you look carefully you might get a hint of what will be coming soon…

Portrait mode

QField now flawlessly works in portrait mode. We heard you say you needed a comfortable way to work in portrait mode, especially on smartphones. QField forms and button placements are now optimized to be easy to use with your thumbs.

New features

We keep on listening to your feedback and prioritize new features based on it. We did implement some minor features like allowing hiding legend nodes and printing to PDF using the current extent. But this time’s superstars are three highly expected features: Splitting of geometries, compass integration and, yes you guessed right, native camera and gallery app support!

Split Features

ezgif com-optimize

A new editing tool is available that allows for splitting existing features. This adds an even more powerful operation to an already impressive geometry editing tools set.

Compass integration

A long-awaited feature! QField now shows you on-screen in which direction you are looking, walking, driving, flying or warping direction. This makes it much easier and more pleasant to navigate in the field.

Screenshot_20200115-154223_QField Nightly

Native Camera and Gallery

It is now possible to use your favourite camera app so that you have more control over how pictures are taken. It is also possible to select pictures which are already on your device by using the new gallery selector.

Pro Tip: You can use any camera app. For example, you can use the open camera app to create geotagged photos if your preinstalled system camera doesn’t save positioning information in EXIF data.

Pro Tip 2: You can use an image annotation app to add notes, sketches, drawings and so on to your images and then choose them from QField via the add from gallery button.

Antenna Height Correction

For high precision measurements, it’s possible to compensate your altitude by a fixed antenna height. This will then automatically adjust all the digitised altitude values.

JPEG 2000

Support for JPEG 2000 raster datasets was added. This lossy format offers a compression rate at par with proprietary formats like ECW or Mr SID.

Pro Tip: save your base maps in JPEG 2000 to save storage.

New Languages

Thanks to the hard work of our community, QField is now also available in Turkish and Japanese.

New packages

You say: wow that’s a lot! We say: there is more 🙂
We have upgraded our whole building infrastructure so that you can comfortably get even more QField goodness without having to uninstall your production ready QField.

Automated master builds

After each pull request is merged into our master code, a new package is created and automatically published on the playstore in a dedicated app called QField for QGIS – Unstable (Early Access). Installing this app will allow you to always have the latest build of QField for testing and giving feedback. On your device, this app is completely separated from the production-ready QField and has a distinctive black icon so that you do not confuse it.

Pull request builds

QField is an extremely active project, and as you see we develop multiple functionalities and fixes at the same time. If you’re particularly interested in one of this, our continuous integration fairy builds and publishes new packages automatically at each commit directly to the pull request you are interested in. To see what we are currently working on, have a look at the pull request overview page.

Experimental Windows builds

Last but definitely not least, we’ve set up an Azure CI infrastructure to build QField for windows. For now, we still consider this experimental but we already had some very successful testing. If you are interested in testing out QField for windows you can get it here, remember it is experimental so don’t use it in production yet and give us as much feedback as possible 🙂

What’s next?

As you can imagine we’ve had a very busy start of 2020, but even more is to come soon with the next releases of QField. We’d like to thank again all companies and individuals that actively use QField and that invest in making QField even better. If you feel QField misses something you need or would like to support the project, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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