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QGIS Planet

Creating circular insets and other fun QGIS layout tricks

Thanks to the recent popularity of the “30 Day Map Challenge“, the month of November has become synonymous with beautiful maps and cartography. During this November we’ll be sharing a bunch of tips and tricks which utilise some advanced QGIS functionality to help create beautiful maps.

One technique which can dramatically improve the appearance of maps is to swap out rectangular inset maps for more organic shapes, such as circles or ovals.

Back in 2020, we had the opportunity to add support for directly creating circular insets in QGIS Print Layouts (thanks to sponsorship from the City of Canning, Australia!). While this functionality makes it easy to create non-rectangular inset maps the steps, many QGIS users may not be aware that this is possible, so we wanted to highlight this functionality for our first 30 Day Map Challenge post.

Let’s kick things off with an example map. We’ve shown below an extract from the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Bid that some of the North Road team helped create (on behalf of SMEC for EKS). This map is designed to highlight potential venues around South East Queensland and the travel options between these regions:

Venue Masterplan Brisbane 2032 Olympics
Venue Masterplan for 2032 Olympic Games, IOC Feasibility Assessment – Olympic Games, Brisbane February 2021

Circles featured heavily in previous Olympic bid maps (such as Budapest) where we took our inspiration from. This may, or may not, play a part in using the language of the target map audience – think Olympic rings!

Budapest Olympics 2024 MasterplanBudapest Olympics 2024 Masterplan


Step by Step Guide to Creating a Circle Inset

Firstly, prepare a print layout with both a main map and an inset map. Make sure that your inset map is large enough to cover your circular shape:

From the Print Layout toolbar, click on the Add Shape button and then select Add Ellipse:

Draw the ellipse over the middle of your inset map (hint: holding down Shift while drawing the ellipse will force it to a circular shape!). If you didn’t manage to create an exact circle then you can manually specify the width and height in the shape item’s properties. For this one, we went with a 50mm x 50mm circle:

Next, select the Inset Map item and in its Item Properties click on the Clipping Settings button:

In the Clipping Settings, scroll down to the second section and tick the Clip to Item box and select your Ellipse item from the list. (If you have labels shown in your inset map you may also want to check the “force labels inside clipping shape” option to force these labels inside the circle. If you don’t check this option then labels will be allowed to overflow outside of the circle shape.)

Your inset map will now be bound to the ellipse!

Here’s a bit more magic you could add to this map – in the Main Map’s properties, click on Overviews and set create one for the Inset map – it will nicely show the visible circular area and not the rectangle!

Bonus Points: Circular Title Text!

For advanced users, we’ve another fun tip…and when we say fun, we mean ‘let’s play with radians’! Here we’re going to create some title text and a wedged background which curves around the outside of our circular inset. This takes some fiddly playing around, but the end result can be visually striking! Here we’re going to push the QGIS print layout “HTML” item to create some advanced graphics, so some HTML and CSS coding experience is advantageous. (An alternative approach would be to use a vector illustration application like Inkscape, and add your title and circular background as an SVG item in the print layout).

We’ll start by creating some curved circular text:

First, add a “HTML frame” to your print layout:

HTML frames allow placement of dynamic content in your layouts, which can use HTML, CSS and JavaScript to create graphical components.

In the HTML item’s “source” box, add the following code:

<svg height="300" width="350">
            <clipPath id="circleView">
                <circle id="curve" cx="183" cy="156" r="25" fill="transparent" />
        <path id="forText" d="M 28,150, C 25,50, 180,-32,290,130" stroke="" fill="none"/>
            <text x="0" y="35" width="100">
                <textpath xlink:href="#forText">
                    <tspan font-weight="bold" fill="black">Place text here</tspan>
        dominant-baseline: hanging;
        font: 20px Arial;

Now, let’s add in a background to bring more focus onto the title!

To add in the background, create another HTML item. We’ll again create the arc shape using an SVG element, so add the following code into the item’s source box:

<svg width="750" height="750" xmlns="">
  <path d="M 90 70
           A 56 56, 0, 0, 0, 133 140
           L 150 90 Z" fill="#414042" transform=" scale(2.1) rotate(68 150 150) " />/>

(You can read more about SVG  curves and arcs paths over at MDN)

So there we go! These two techniques can help push your QGIS map creations further and make it easier to create beautiful cartography directly in QGIS itself. If you found these tips useful, keep an eye on this blog as we post more tips and tricks over the month of November. And don’t forget to follow the 30 day Map Challenge for a smorgasbord of absolutely stunning maps.

Save the date: QGIS contributor meeting in Firenze

After a long hiatus, we are happy to announce that there will be a another international QGIS Contributor Meeting in conjunction with this year’s FOSS4G in Firenze, Italy from 18 to 22 August 2022.

QGIS Contributors Meetings are volunteer-driven events where contributors to the QGIS project from around the world get together in a common space – usually a university campus. The event is normally three days in duration and we hold two such events each year. During these events, contributors to the QGIS project take the opportunity to plan their work, hold face-to-face discussions and present new improvements to the QGIS project that they have been working on. Everybody attending the event donates their time to the project for the days of the event. As a project that is built primarily through online collaboration, these meetings provide a crucial ingredient to the future development of the QGIS project. The event is planned largely as an ‘unconference’ with minimal structured programme planning. We do this to allow attendees the freedom to meet dynamically with those they encounter at the event. Those sessions that are planned are advertised on the event web page and we try to enable remote participation through video conferencing software. Although our hosts are not funded and donate the working space to us, we show our appreciation by making one of our software release’s splash screens in honour of that host, which is a great way to gain exposure of your institution and country to the hundreds of thousands of users that make use of QGIS.

For more details and to sign up, please visit the corresponding wiki page.

PSA: Update to 3.16.13

This is a public service announcement:

Our developers have discovered a critical issue in QGIS 3.16.12 which may cause plugins to hang on Windows. All users are encouraged to upgrade to 3.16.13

Megaphone icon made by BomSymbols from

QGIS on Windows: Oops … Could not load qgis_app.dll message

Sometimes after a Windows update, or after a QGIS update Windows users see the dreaded “Oops, looks like an error loading QGIS’… Could not load qgis_app.dll…” message In short it means that one of the main libraries of QGIS cannot be fully loaded, because it is actually depending on other libraries, which (apparently) are not […]

(Nederlands) New PDOKServicesplugin (dutch public OWS services plugin)

Mostly interesting for dutchies: there is a new version of the PDOKServiceplugin, a plugin which makes it easier to set a WMS/WFS/WCS layer into QGIS from our national OWS services: PDOK. Best addition for now: free High Resolution images of almost the whole of The Netherlands. To show of the old and the new version: […]

QGIS Open Day – 24 Sept 2021

Dear QGIS Users

On Friday, 24 September 2021 we will be holding our monthly QGIS Open Day!


My QGIS. Each of us has a specialty in QGIS and our own workflows and tricks join this months QGIS Openday to learn from each other.

Where to watch

Please see the event wiki page at for all the details of times and links for participation.


All of the YouTube live-streamed events will be recorded and made available on the QGIS Open Day Youtube channel.

If you missed the last event, have a look at the excellent contributions by Leonardo Nazareth (Brazil), Victoria Neema (Kenya), and Tim Sutton (Portugal):

(YouTube live streams sometimes take 24 hours to be available for catch-up viewing. Be sure to check back here for updates!)

Code of Conduct

Participants are kindly reminded to please read and observe our QGIS Code of Conduct and Diversity Statement to make these events a great experience for everyone!

Please contact Amy on Twitter @amzenviro or via the Telegram Channel if you have any queries or need help setting up events.

We look forward to seeing you there!


The QGIS Open Day Organising Team!

In memory of Martin Isenburg

Being part of an open community like QGIS is a unique experience. We get to engage with and become friends with people from many different backgrounds and walks of life. Each person brings their unique flavour to the project and helps create something that is more than just the sum of its parts. The QGIS community is blessed enough to also have attracted some of the greatest minds in the Open Source Geospatial community.

Martin Isenburg was one of these great minds – his work on LASTools and making LiDAR data accessible to the world was truly groundbreaking. The .LAS/.LAZ formats for point cloud data have become ubiquitous, supported by virtually all point cloud processing tools in existence.

This week we received the incredibly sad news that Martin is no longer with us. Martin was a regular fixture at QGIS Hackfests, sitting quietly to one side doing incredible things with his plugin that integrates LASTools into QGIS or sharing a stand-up paddleboard outing with fellow QGISers.

Beyond being a gifted software developer, Martin was acutely aware of our impact on the world and its perilous ecological state. Like many in the QGIS community, he cared not only about technology but also about the potential of technology to transform lives and improve the planet and the human condition. With great sadness, we say a last goodbye to Martin Isenburg and wish his loved ones our deepest condolences.

Thank you, Martin, we will miss you.

The QGIS Community

Håvard Tveite has passed away

It is with a heavy heart that we announce that on 2021-05-31, our friend and colleague Håvard Tveite has passed away at the age of 59 after a period of illness.

Håvard was a very active member of the QGIS community, providing valuable input to the documentation, developing numerous plugins, and taking care of the QGIS Resources Sharing Repository to name just a few of his contributions.   

Besides his contributions to the QGIS project, Håvard was also an active volunteer in the Norwegian Orienteering Federation and in the International Orienteering Federation Map Commission (more:

The QGIS community would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to Håvard’s wife Ingrid and son Nils.  Håvard’s contributions to the QGIS Project will leave a lasting impact on the lives of many people around the world as they benefit from the work he has done on a daily basis.

R.I.P. Håvard

QGIS Open Day – 26 March 2021

Dear QGIS Users

On Friday, 26 March 2021 we will be holding our monthly QGIS Open Day! What is a QGIS Open Day you may be wondering to yourself? It is an initiative to replace the wonderful community meetups we used to hold every six months when times were different. Like our in-person meetings, the event is organised on the principle of self-organisation and community participation.


  • QGIS INTEGRATED (The open day that shows QGIS working as part of an ecosystem with other software and programs to create dynamic and shareable spatial data, maps, and systems)

Where to watch

Please see the event wiki page at QHF-March-2021 Wiki for all the details of times and links for participation.


All of the YouTube live-streamed events will be recorded and made available to users who couldn’t make the live events. YouTube live streams sometimes take 24 hours to be available for catch-up viewing. Be sure to check back here for updates!

Code of Conduct

Participants are kindly reminded to please read and observe our QGIS Code of Conduct and Diversity Statement to make these events a great experience for everyone!

Please contact me, Zinziswa Xakayi by email [email protected] or via the Telegram Channel username @zinzixakayi if you have any queries or need help setting up events.

We look forward to seeing you there!


The QGIS Open Day Organising Team!

New version of (dutch) PDOKservices plugin for QGIS

Short notice that there is a new version of the PDOKservices plugin for QGIS, adding aerials 2020 and a way to set two favourite layers.

Scheduled maintenance for plugins repository

We are running out of space on our server running – a sign of success, given the large number of plugins and plugin versions hosted on the platform. On Thursday 28 January at 9am West European Time, we will bring the server offline for a scheduled upgrade to the storage space on the server. We anticipate that the work will be completed within an hour. We thank you for your patience whilst we undertake this critical maintenance.

The maintenance of QGIS infrastructure is undertaken largely by volunteers and the cost of servers and hosting related costs are funded by your donations and sustaining memberships. If you would like to help support this (and the many other excellent initiatives carried out by, please consider heading over to to find out how you can help!

(Nederlands) PDOKservices-plugin update

Sorry, this entry is only available in Dutch.

Institutional, centralized QGIS installation/configuration (

QGIS more and more get’s to be installed ‘organisation wide’ by Windows Administrators (eg using SCCM, now Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager ), instead of personal installations by the GIS-people on their personal machines. I get more and more questions about this (eg here) So a short post about this. The good thing is that peeps […]

Say hello to the QHackFriday

Dear Community,

2020, as we all know, has been an unusual year. In addition to all the other issues we have all faced, we also had to cancel our beloved hackfests. Since we first started holding bi-annual hackfests in 2009, this will be the first year without an in-person event where our friendly community can meet. 

First hackfest in Hannover 2009 (

That can’t be! We are a modern and thriving community based on exchange, discussion and collaboration and should foster this even when physical meetings are not possible.

I’m super excited to announce that after some very motivating discussions on the HackFest telegram channel and in the PSC, starting from next week on every last Friday of each month we will hold an informal online virtual meeting to hack around, document, discuss and in general meet the awesome QGIS community. 

First QGIS User Conference in Nødebo 2015 (

There will normally be no formal agenda, no fixed schedule nor moderators, simply join the QHackFriday (pronounced KwakFriday) jitsi room and say hi! 

I added a page to the wiki, so if you have topics that you like to discuss/present you can put them there and others might join you. 

Stay safe and see you next Friday!

QGIS Pi Mapping Contest Results

As you may have noticed, the next release version will be 3.14 and therefore, we will call it ‘Pi’.

Usually our versions are named for community meeting locations and the splash screen shows a map related to this location.

For 3.14 we were looking for creative maps that capture the essence of Pi.


The submission phase was open for two weeks and we received numerous inspiring submissions:

Public voting

From these submissions, a short list of top 3 candidates was compiled and put up for the public vote:

Candidate #1 Ezequiel Orquera writes about his submission: “As an agronomist, Pi is used every single time that you need to develop a pivot irrigation system (those nice circles we can see on sat. images), making most use of Pi number and the radius. In this image, we can see the circles in contrast with rectangles shapes. The interest thing is that on most of the circles you can see the irrigation system arm that is coming from the center of each circle, making it the radius. Furthermore we all know that Pi x r^2 = circle area. This is useful to estimate for example, crop yields.”

Candidate #2 Francis Josef Gasgonia writes about his submission: “This map would not be complete without the use of Pi. Multicentric ring buffers represent potential danger zones in this map of Mt. Isarog in the Philippines. The calculations necessary to develop the ring buffers depend on Pi. Mt. Isarog is classified as a potentially active stratovolcano. This map best represents the use of Pi in a map because these buffers are crucial in disaster planning, especially now in a Covid-19 pandemic world; wherein ring buffers, and other types of buffers are in use for humanitarian and logistics planning.”

Candidate #3 Michel Stuyts writes about his submission: “Since Pi is very much linked to circles, I looked for the most circular place I could find. The place I made a map of is Vahanga, an atoll in the Pacific Ocean. I decorated the map with angles of a circle in radians as divisions of Pi. Because QGIS splash screens usually show a map of a location where a developer meeting was, the chance it would ever have a map of this part of the world is just as irrational as Pi, because the closest inhabited place is more than a 1000km away. My map is also linked to Corona (the reason there was no dev meeting in the first place), because the atoll is crown shaped and Corona means crown. Besides being linked to Pi and Corona, my map is also very much linked to QGIS, because it’s 100% made with QGIS. The angles in radians where made with “geometry generators” from the central point. The fills where made using “random marker fills” combined with an expression using “randf()” to set the size of the markers with a “Data defined override”. For the shallow water on the inside of the atoll I used a “Shapeburst fill”.

And the winner is …

In the public vote, Francis Josef Gasgonia’s map received the most votes (46%):

Congratulations Francis and thank you again to everyone who participated in this fun contest to ensure that QGIS 3.14 Pi will have great visuals!

QGIS Annual General Meeting – 2020

Dear QGIS Community

We recently held our 2020 QGIS Annual General Meeting. The minutes of this meeting are available for all to view.

I would like to welcome our new QGIS Board Chair: Marco Bernasocchi and our new QGIS Board Vice-Chair and QGIS PSC Member, Alessandro Pasotti. In case you are not familiar with Marco and Alessandro, you can find short introductions to them below. I will continue to serve on the PSC and am pleased also to say that the project governance is in good hands with Jürgen Fischer, Andreas Neumann and Anita Graser kindly making themselves available to serve on the PSC for another two years. It is also great to know that our project founder, Gary Sherman, as well as long-term PSC member Tim Sutton continue to serve on the PSC as honorary PSC members. They both set the standard for our great project culture and it is great to have his continued presence.

QGIS has been growing from strength to strength, backed by a really amazing community of kind and collaborative users, developers, contributors and funders. I am looking forward to seeing how it continues to grow and flourish and I am excited and confident it will do so with Marco acting as the project chair and representative. Rock on QGIS!

Marco Bernasocchi ( @mbernasocchi)

I am an open source advocate, consultant, teacher and developer. My background is in geography with a specialization in geographic information science. I live in Switzerland in a small Romansh speaking mountain village where I love scrambling around the mountains to enjoy the feeling of freedom it gives me. I’m a very communicative person, I fluently speak Italian, German, French English and Spanish and love travelling.

I work as director of which I founded in 2011. Since 2015 I share the company ownership with Matthias Kuhn. At LLC we (6 superstar devs and myself) develop, train and consult our client on any aspect related to QGIS.

My first QGIS (to be correct for that time QuantumGIS) ever was “Simon (0.6)” during my BSc when the University of Zurich was teaching us proprietary products and I started looking around for Open Source alternatives. In 2008, when starting my MSc, I made the definitive switch to ubuntu and I started working more and more with QGIS Metis (0.11) and ended developing some plugins and part of Globe as my Masters thesis. Since three years the University of Zurich invites me to hold two seminars on Entrepreneurship and Open Source. In November 2011 I attended my first Hackfest in Zürich where I started porting all QGIS dependencies and developing QGIS for Android under a Google Summer of Code. A couple of years and a lot of work later QField was born. Since then I’ve always tried to attend at least to one Hackfest per year to be able to feel first hand the strong bonds within our very welcoming community. In 2013 i was lucky enough to have a release named after a suggestion I saved you all from having QGIS 2.0 – Hönggerberg and giving you instead QGIS 2.0 – Dufour. In 2018 I’ve been honored to be nominated Co-chair of the QGIS PSC, since then I’ve been taking care of GitHub, the user groups, running votes, elections, doing some small work on the website, giving more talks on opensource advocacy and foremost helping in the day to day work needed to help our amazing project keep on growing.

Beside my long story with QGIS as user and passionate advocate I have a long story as QGIS service provider where we are fully committed to its stability, feature richness and sustainable development. For that in 2019 we started our own QGIS sustainability initiative financed through our support contracts.

Alessandro Pasotti (@elpaso,

I am an open source software developer and I live in Italy. By education I’m an agronomist with some topography and pedology background, but I turned to the dark side early in my career and I started programming any kind of device that has a chip inside as soon as their price dropped low enough. I started using Linux in 1994 and after some real work as an R&D data analyst for a big pharmaceutical company I started my own small business that was making map-based web applications for the touristic market (there was no Google Map and such at that time) and it is for this reason that I discovered GRASS, Mapserver, PostGIS and finally QGIS when I needed a GIS viewer.

Over the years I’ve made minor contributions to several open source projects and I created a bunch of QGIS Python plugins, but it is from the QGIS Lisbon Hack-Fest in 2011 that I really got involved within the community and my first big contribution was a new website for the fast growing set of QGIS Python plugins (the one that it is already in production today at ).

8 years ago I re-started to write some C++ code and I’m now a QGIS core developer and a proud member of this amazing community.


Paolo Cavallini (outgoing Chair)

SLYR ESRI to QGIS compatibility suite – April 2020 update

Since the last update, our “SLYR” ESRI to QGIS compatibility suite has gained a ton of new functionality, including full support for conversion of ArcMap MXD documents (with page layouts!). In this update, we’ll explore some of the new functionality available in the tool — but instead of focusing solely on SLYR, this time we’ll also explore the enhancements we’ve been making in QGIS itself that have helped improve the quality of ArcMap document conversion.

While many of these enhancements are already available to all users of QGIS 3.12, others are exciting additions to the upcoming QGIS 3.14 release. Let’s dive in!

Improved legend customisation

One shortcoming we realised early on during our work on SLYR was that QGIS map legends just didn’t offer a comparable level of customisation as ArcMap legends. We could convert the basic layout of a legend, but we just couldn’t get the legend appearance in QGIS sufficiently close to its original appearance in the MXD file.

To address this we’ve been extending QGIS’ inbuilt legend support by adding finer control over the legend layout and spacing.

As a result, one exciting addition we’ve recently made for QGIS 3.14 is adding the ability to customise legend patch shapes and sizes on an item-by-item basis! Previously, legends in QGIS were rather boring, with all polygon layers showing as a plain rectangle and line layers as a horizontal line.

Now, users have full control over setting custom shapes for their legend patches! This makes for much more user-friendly legends, as you can now show representative shapes in your legends — e.g. a river symbol can be shown as a wiggly line, instead of an unrealistic straight horizontal line.

You can also override the size of a legend patch on an item-by-item basis too, which allows for further control over the final legend appearance. Checkout the screencast below showing both these features in action (naturally, using a legend from a converted MXD document… ArcMap users will likely recognise the fonts and patch shapes used here!)

We really wanted custom legend patch shapes to be a full first-class citizen in QGIS, so we also added support for managing them in user’s style databases. This makes it easy to setup your own libraries of custom legend shapes and share them with others. As a nice bonus, the SLYR tool even offers support for converting area and line patch shapes while converting ESRI .style databases:

Marker north arrows

Another issue we ran into while converting ArcMap page layouts was converting north arrows. QGIS used a very different approach to north arrows compared with ArcMap — in QGIS, north arrows were always based on existing SVG files, while ArcMap uses a rotated marker symbol for north arrows. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, but we struggled to get good results when trying to convert ArcMap’s marker based approach to QGIS’ SVG based approach.

In the end, we weren’t happy with the result, so we took the step of implementing full support for marker symbol north arrows in QGIS 3.14. Now QGIS users have a choice of both north arrow styles — you can still create north arrows direct from SVG files, but you’ve also now got the flexibility to create them from standard marker symbols instead!

Adding support for marker based north arrows in QGIS allows us to get an perfect match when converting ESRI Page Layouts with north arrows:

Hollow and stepped line scale bars

While adding support for scale bar conversion to SLYR, we identified that some scale bar styles which are widely used in ArcMap just weren’t possible to reproduce in QGIS. Accordingly, from QGIS 3.14 on, we added native support for “Stepped line” and “Hollow” scale bar styles:

Embedded images in QGIS print layouts

ArcMap offers users the ability to directly embed images inside symbol definitions or page layouts. Whilst QGIS has offered embedded image support in symbols for a number of releases, this previously wasn’t possible to do in print layouts.

This was an issue for us while converting ArcMap page layouts, because we didn’t have any way to represent embedded images in QGIS layouts. Accordingly, for QGIS 3.14 we’ve added native support for directly embedding images (either raster images or SVG pictures) inside a page layout:

One handy consequence of this improvement is that it’s now possible to create completely self contained print layout templates for QGIS — you no longer have to separately distribute any required images (such as company logos) along with your QPT templates!

Naturally, our SLYR plugin now automatically converts any embedded images it finds in an ArcMap page layout and correctly creates a converted, embedded version of the image in the QGIS print layout.

Scalebar numeric formats

Another missing customisation in QGIS’ scale bar functionality was allowing users control over the scale bar’s number format. Previously, QGIS offered no customisation for these numbers, so you got only what QGIS decided you wanted. We improved this in QGIS 3.12 by offering users the ability to control exactly how they want their scale bar numbers to appear. There’s options for manually controlling the thousand and decimal separators, rounding, and much more:

This enhancement allowed us to get an exact match when converting ArcMap scale bars — the converted results should appear identical to their original ArcMap appearance!

Random marker fill

Until recently, one of the few remaining layer symbolisation gaps between QGIS and ArcMap was that QGIS had no symbology option for randomised marker placements for fill symbols. This was a big issue for us, because without it there just wasn’t any way that SLYR could convert layers styled with ArcMap’s “dot density renderer”  or using a marker fill’s “random offset” option.

So for QGIS 3.12, we add inbuilt support for a new “Random marker fill” symbol type:

This new symbol layer type allows for randomised (or stable seed-based) placement of markers inside polygon features. You’re given the option of either an absolute number of points to show in the feature, or a density-based count which retains its dot density regardless of the map’s scale!

Aside from being a useful symbology option in it’s own right, adding this functionality allowed us to accurately convert random markers or dot density renders from ArcMap to QGIS.

Other enhancements

The highlights above are only a small subset of the work we’ve done in QGIS to improve its interoperability with ArcMap via the SLYR plugin! Some of the other work we’ve done includes:

  • Many improvements to QGIS’ bad layer handling and automatic repair functionality. For instance, QGIS now emulates ArcMap’s helpful behaviour where ALL similar broken layer paths in a document are fixed automatically after fixing the path to one broken layer. Handling broken layer paths was a pain point for our customers, so we’ve sought to make this as painless as possible.
  • Support for plugins to handle pasting content into QGIS print layouts. We use this in SLYR to offer the ability to directly copy and paste content from ArcMap page layouts into a QGIS print layout.
  • Support for plugins to hook into the standard QGIS “Open Project” dialog, offering support for opening projects of their own custom types. We use this to allow users to directly open MXD, MXT, PMF and SXD files from the QGIS Open Project menu action.
  • We’ve worked closely with the upstream proj project, to ensure that coordinate reference systems from ESRI documents are correctly matched to known EPGS/ESRI CRS definitions in certain circumstances.

Other new features in SLYR

Aside from all the goodness we’ve explored above, the latest versions of SLYR offer TONS of new functionality for conversion of ArcMap documents, including:

  • Full support for joins and relations when converting MXD documents
  • Print layouts, including support for conversion of data driven pages to QGIS print atlases and support for multi-map page layouts using multiple data frames.
  • Support for reading MXD document metadata (and converting this to QGIS document metadata)
  • Support for dragging and dropping layers direct from ArcMap or ArcCatalog to a QGIS window, respecting all the layer styling.
  • Support for AVL style conversion
  • A new tool for dumping the full structure of MXD or LYR files to a json document. This is very handy for digging right into the full internals of the documents and for diagnosing corrupted documents.
  • Full support for conversion of vector and raster layers
  • Support for converting MXD, MXT and PMF documents
  • Support for converting ArcScene SXD documents to 2-dimensional QGIS maps

Read more are the SLYR home page, or contact us today to discuss purchasing SLYR and your licensing needs!

QGIS Events Cancellation

Dear QGIS Community:

Due to the uncertainty caused by rapidly unfolding global events related to the COVID-19 virus, we have decided to cancel all in-person QGIS events until further notice. This includes the 25th QGIS Contributor meeting and User Conference that was scheduled to be held this year in Nødebo, Denmark. In the interim, we will pursue ways to meet virtually from time to time, and of course, continue working using our normal collaboration process via email and GitHub.

Thank you for your understanding,

The QGIS Team

Public Service Announcement: Update to the latest point release now

QGIS users who have adopted the 3.10 version when initially released at the end of October 2019 have likely noticed a sharp drop in reliability. The underlying issues have now been addressed in 3.10.2, all users are advised to update *now*.

When QGIS 3.10 was first released in the end of October 2019, a pair of libraries – namely GDAL and PROJ – were updated to their next-generation versions. The advantages are plenty: GeoPDF export[1] support, more accurate coordinate transformation, etc. For those interested, more technical information on this is available here[2].

The update of these crucial libraries led to a number of regressions. While we expected some issues to arise, the seriousness of the disruption caught us off guard. Yet, it was also somewhat inevitable: QGIS is the first large GIS project to expose these next-generation libraries to the masses. The large number of QGIS users across the globe were essentially stress testing both new code within QGIS as well as the libraries themselves.

Thanks to dedicated users taking time to file in report and the community helping out as well as our project sponsors for allowing us to fund development time, developers have been able to fix all known regressions in both in QGIS as well as underlying GDAL and PROJ libraries, benefiting a large number of open source projects.

As a result of this collective effort by the community, QGIS 3.10.2 is now back to being the reliable and stable GIS software we all love. As such, we cannot stress enough the importance of updating now.

Once again, thanks to our community of testers, sponsors, and developers for their countless hours and efforts in making QGIS better.

Happy mapping!


SLYR ESRI to QGIS compatibility suite – November 2019 update

It’s a been a month full of huge improvements since the last update, and we have some exciting news to share about our SLYR ESRI to QGIS compatibility suite. With the recently published plugin version 3.7, MXD conversion has moved from a “beta” state to being fully supported and available out-of-the-box for all users!

Based on our massive library of reference files (almost 10,000 files covering a huge range of ArcGIS versions and features!), the tool is now able to successfully convert 96% of LYR files and 94.5% of MXD documents. This is a significant milestone, and with it we decided that MXD conversion support is now stable enough to move out of its previous beta state.

Aside from this milestone, the 3.7 release brings many more enhancements and improvements, including:

  • SLYR now has full support for PMF published map documents created by ArcGIS Publisher, along with a new Processing algorithm to convert from a PMF document to a QGS projects
  • We’ve also added support for converting ArcScene SXD scenes to QGS projects. This conversion is 2-dimensional only for now, but we plan on adding 3D conversion when QGIS’ 3D support further matures.
  • We now convert all data frames contained within MXD documents, instead of just the first data frame. Currently, these are exposed as their own individual groups within the project layer tree (when we enable support for page layout conversion we’ll be automatically creating corresponding map themes from each data frame).
  • We’ve added support for reading many more layer types, including raster catalog layers, topology layers, terrain layers, and LAS dataset layers. While QGIS doesn’t have support for these layer types, we need to fully parse them in order to convert the rest of the MXD document contents. Whenever an unsupported layer type like these are encountered the plugin shows a warning advising users which layers could not be successfully converted.
  • We’ve also added support for reading TIN layers. Although previous QGIS versions had no means to read ESRI tin layers, thanks to work done in the MDAL library the upcoming QGIS 3.10.1 release adds full support for reading these data files! Accordingly, we’ll be unlocking support for converting TIN layers contained within MXD documents following the 3.10.1 release.
  • Full support for WMTS and tiled internet layers
  • Support for reading MXD documents which have repaired by the MXD Doctor utility
  • Support for layers with a geopackage source
  • Conversion of ImageServer based layers (since QGIS only has basic support for ESRI ImageServers, we convert these layers to their equivalent MapServer versions wherever possible)
  • Basic support for representation renderers. Although QGIS has no capability to utilise the symbology linked with a representation renderer, we’ve added support for rendering these layers using any geometry overrides which may be present for the features.
  • Conversion support for simple scale dependent renderers (these are a funny beast, which can’t be created directly through the ArcMap interface and which require custom ArcObjects code to create! That said, we’ve encountered a few examples of these inside our test library so have added support for converting them to the equivalent QGIS rule based renderer).
  • We added a new “random marker fill” symbol type to the upstream QGIS project, which will be available in QGIS 3.12 along with support in SLYR for conversion of ESRI random marker fills.

So what’s next for SLYR? Over the remainder of 2019 we’ll be working furiously toward 100% conversion rates for LYR and MXD files. We’ll also start rolling out conversion support for page layouts to QGIS print layouts, and support for automatic conversion of ArcMap TIN layers to QGIS mesh layers.

Keep an eye on this blog and our Twitter channel for further updates!


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