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Generate DXF on QGIS server

Everyone knows QGIS is on the desktop and mobile devices. Many know QGIS is on the web with QGIS server through OGC services. Some know QGIS server has its own extension to generate PDFs. But did you know that QGIS server can also produce DXF files?

DXF

DXF files are mainly used for interchanging CAD drawings, vector geometries with styles and attributes. With a couple of compromises, these files can be imported and exported to and from QGIS.

Due to their heavy use of CAD software, architects work a lot with DXF files. For example, for the Swiss Cadastral Survey (Amtliche Vermessung, Mensuration Officielle) there is a standard with the name GEOBAU-DXF that defines layer names and structure of this file. Architects often request this format from cantonal government agencies when planning construction work.

In the canton of Schaffhausen, there are over 100 downloads per month and it’s by far the most demanded format. These files were produced semi-automatically through a separate application and the customers got the data by mail with a link to a zip file. The time between order and delivery was about 20 minutes. With the renewal of the cantonal SDI, including QGIS server for handling OGC services, the situation changed and an update to this process was required.

Optimize the process

For the canton of Schaffhausen, the goal was to find a solution with existing components of the new SDI, completely based on machine-to-machine communication and to make the turnaround time for the customer as fast as possible. As soon as they realized QGIS server is also able to deliver DXF, this seemed to be the best approach to fulfil their needs concerning the download of GEOBAU-DXF. And, with the help of OPENGIS.ch, it was a full success.

In the cantonal infrastructure, the data is available in a Postgres database, which is regularly filled through an ETL workflow. On top of this database, the canton created a QGIS project with symbology, labelling and layers that reflect the GEOBAU-DXF standard.

With this project published on a QGIS server, it was quickly possible to generate a DXF file, but some improvements were still required in QGIS 3.10.

  • Label alignment was not preserved
  • Altitudes (Z values) of coordinates were not properly exported
  • Symbols were defined inline and not in blocks
  • When a layer could have mixed geometry types (points, lines and polygons) there were problems with missing objects and wrong symbology

The Canton Shaffausen already had a support and maintenance contract in place with us and used this contract to kick off the development as well as requesting an additional dedicated development contract with specific goals. A couple of iterations later these enhancements were released with the next QGIS versions and are now available for everyone.

As a side effect, the DXF code has been cleaned up. This is now in a much more solid and modular state (it would, for example, be straightforward to expose it as processing algorithm now). Another nice improvement was that QGIS WMS server is now able to handle multiple layers with the same name, merging them to a single layer. This can be interesting if you have to expose the same layer multiple times with points, lines and polygons.

Meanwhile in Schaffhausen, the service is running in production and architects can happily obtain DXF-GEOBAU files by choosing the area of interest on the web map and download the file in no time.

To try it out, head over to the geoportal of the canton of Schaffhausen, click the three-dots menu and choose GEOBAU-DXF.

Or directly use the following download sample link to generate a GEOBAU-DXF file: https://wfs.geo.sh.ch/dxfgeobau?SERVICE=WMS&VERSION=1.3.0&REQUEST=GetMap&LAYERS=dxfgeobau&STYLES=&CRS=EPSG%3A2056&BBOX=2690035,1283484,2690299,1283694&WIDTH=1042&HEIGHT=811&FORMAT_OPTIONS=MODE:SYMBOLLAYERSYMBOLOGY;SCALE:500;NO_MTEXT:TEXT&FILE_NAME=geobau.dxf&FORMAT=application/dxf

QField 1.9 Taivaskero is out to further empower users

From unlocking selective atlas layout export to opening individual datasets and creating GeoPDFs, QField 1.9 is all about giving even more power to its users. The release also comes with significant user experience improvement, such as faster rendering and restoring the last viewed map extent.

Print Atlas-Driven Layouts to PDF

QField has long supported exporting print layouts to PDF, but now users are able to export atlas-driven layouts from selected features, all while being in the field. A new print action is now attached to the feature form and identified features list for all vector layers acting as atlas coverage layers in any of the print layouts present in a loaded project.

Oh, and did we mention exported PDFs from QField are now georeferenced?

Opening of individual datasets

Users in the field can find themselves in need of opening individual geospatial datasets not bound to a project: that KML file a colleague has just sent through via a messenger app or a new GeoPDF sitting in the inbox. QField 1.9 will seamlessly do that for you.

geopackage

Out of the box, users will now be able to open vector and rasters datasets from their mobile devices. By default, an OpenStreetMap base map will be added as an underlying basemap to the opened dataset layer(s).

Geometry digitizing when adding child features to relationships

While QField has long allowed users to add new child features to predefined layers’ relationships, users were only able to add feature attributes. This changes with this new version of QField.

As of now, users will be able to digitize geometries alongside attributes for new child features. This is a significant user experience improvement and will surely ease field data entry in many cases.

A maturing search bar now with address searches

A new address search framework was added to QField’s search bar. In this new version, Finnish users will be able to search for street addresses and locations straight from QField. More coverage is planned in future releases.

serach

If you want to sponsor a specific country, contact us.

User interface and experience improvements

While this new version of QField brings an exciting amount of new features, it also showcases countless refinements and improvements to its user interface and experience. Some noteworthy improvements include:

  • QField now remembers the last map extent for each project and dataset opened, allowing users to launch QField and pick things up where they left off.
  • QField now provides visual feedback when opening large projects so users don’t have to wonder what is happening to a frozen QField frame.
  • Significant attention was paid to improve the visual consistency of the feature form widgets, and users will be pleased to see project-set background colours for attributes are now reflected in the QField interface.

QField Cloud

We have also been working hard on improved methods for synchronizing data from field to the office. QField Cloud is looming around the corner to help you simplify processes and data integration. Don’t miss out and join the waiting list if you haven’t done so already!

That’s it! Thanks for reading and check out the complete changelog on our repository.

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