QGIS Planet

Detailed hillshading anywhere in the world!

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Create detailed hillshading anywhere on earth with the MapTiler Plugin and the latest version of QGIS, 3.26 Buenos Aires.

All you need is a free MapTiler Cloud account, version 3.26 of QGIS, and the MapTiler plugin. The plugin provides access to the Terrain RGB layer and a range of other vector and raster basemaps.

QGIS Hillshades at multiple scales

Hillshades made with the plugin look great for whole mountain ranges but are detailed enough to pick out gorges and volcanic craters. The data has a 30m resolution, and with the early resampling now available from MapTiler’s collaboration with Lutra Consulting you can now zoom in without the pixelation that occurred in earlier versions of QGIS.

Multi-scale Hillshades

Add the Terrain RGB layer to any map in QGIS and use the Hillshading renderer to make the landscape appear on your map. Hillshading can be found in the styling panel for terrain layers, just use the dropdown menu to change from the default Singleband to Hillshading.

I recommend using the following settings to make the landforms stand out:

  • Z Factor: 1.5 - to boost the effect
  • Multidirectional: tick - to make a much more realistic hillshade
  • Blending mode: Multiply - to add light and shadows without hiding the other layers
  • Brightness and Contrast: Adjust them up to suit your layers
  • Early resampling: tick - ensures the effect doesn’t pixelate as you zoom in.

Better maps for outdoor activities

The Outdoor and Winter layers available in the Plugin also benefit from the new hillshading. Not only do these layers look better than ever, you can modify the hillshading element to boost the effect or make it more subtle depending on how you want your map to look.

Multi-scale Hillshades

Global contour lines

Terrain RGB does not provide only great hillshading. You can use it for contours as well using the contour renderer.

Global contour lines

Use the same drop-down menu on the styling panel as you did with hillshading to change the rendering.

Master QGIS Hillshading Techniques at FOSS4G 2022

We will be running a workshop at FOSS4G 2022 Firenze, where you can learn more about making beautiful hillshades in QGIS: QGIS & MapTiler Workshop. As one of the sponsors of FOSS4G we also have a stand there. Make sure you drop by and find out more about our Cloud, Data, Server, and other products and opensource projects.

Setting up the plugin

Here is a quick 4 step guide to setting up the MapTiler Plugin:

  1. Get a MapTiler cloud account, they are free to set up and use for non-commercial purposes. Use the following link to sign up or sign in; the process is very simple and only takes a few minutes: Create Account.
  2. Go to your MapTiler Cloud Account page, and click Credentials on the left of the interface. Click on the New Credential button and copy the token (keep this token private – treat it the same way as a password).

MapTiler Cloud Credentials

  1. In the MapTiler plugin, paste this token into the account dialog:

MapTiler QGIS Plugin Authentication

  1. After you paste your token, it is saved in your QGIS Authentication database, which you can control using the Authentication manager in the QGIS Options… menu.

If you haven’t used QGIS Authentication manager before, QGIS will ask you for a master authentication password. The master password is used to protect all your connection details and is used by other plugins such as Mergin. You can find out more here: QGIS Docs: Authentication Overview

More about the MapTiler Plugin for QGIS

The MapTiler Plugin homepage

What is the MapTiler QGIS plugin

How to use the MapTiler plugin

MapTiler QGIS plugin - supported expressions

Book your place at the FOSS4G 2022 Workshop

Global terrain basemap for QGIS

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We have updated the MapTiler QGIS Plugin to version 3.0. The plugin has even more maps, including a fully functional terrain layer. The plugin is one of the easiest ways to get vector basemaps into QGIS from the cloud. Now we have added a terrain layer in a way that allows you to use it like a terrain data file on your hard drive!

All you need to get started is a free MapTiler Cloud account and the latest version of QGIS, 3.24 Tisler, with the plugin. The MapTiler plugin provides access to fantastic vector and raster basemaps. The best bit is that you can customize these basemaps using QGIS’s powerful cartographic functionality.

Terrain basemaps in QGIS

Global Terrain Basemaps

With a few simple clicks, you can now add a digital elevation model (DEM) for the entire planet. You can use the layer for hillshading, hypsometry, analytical applications, and even 3D terrain modeling.

Before the release of QGIS 3.24 it was not possible to access data like the Terrain RGB Tiles provided as part of the MapTiler Cloud service. To put this right, we teamed up with Lutra Consulting to enable QGIS to do this. Now, the community has benefited from the development and the plugin can give easy access to our terrain data!

Lutra Consulting is one of the core QGIS contributor, with expertise in delivering XYZ, WMTS and vector tiles support to QGIS. MapTiler have previously collaborated with Lutra delivering Vector tiles via the MapTiler plugin.

New vector basemaps for QGIS

Along with all the styles in the previous version of the plugin, there are three new ones now available. You can use the Browser toolbar to add the most frequently used maps with a single click. If you right-click on the Plugin title you can access more from your MapTiler Cloud account.

OpenStreetMap style vector tiles

OpenStreetMap style vector tiles

Customize OpenStreetMap by adding the vector tiles from the plugin with a few clicks. You can then edit the cartography from the symbology pane like a regular vector layer. The maps are based on the popular OSM Carto styling, and now you can make changes in the QGIS environment.

Winter basemaps

Winter basemap

Map the routes you took while out skiing, cross-country skiing, hiking, or other winter activities. Add your GPS track data onto our new Winter basemap in QGIS. The basemap shows ski-resorts with chair-lifts, gondolas, and ski runs. You can even see ski areas shown colored by their difficulty. Hillshading gives you an idea of the terrain, and there is even avalanche information marked on the map. Points of interest such as bars and restaurants come in handy after a day of skiing.

The Winter map is available if you right-click on the Plugin, select Add new map… then go to the MapTiler Cloud tab.

Satellite basemaps

Satellite basemaps

We have added our beautiful new satellite imagery as a layer to the plugin. Now you can show your data along with the stunning natural beauty of planet earth. The previous version, which included OpenStreetMap roads, is now called Satellite Hybrid.

To access the hybrid layer right-click on the Plugin, select Add new map… and go to the MapTiler Cloud tab.

Improved security

We have made the plugin more secure by using tokens instead of API keys to authorize your account. The token is encrypted and isn’t exposed when creating webmaps or sharing QGIS projects. This makes the plugin more secure and prevents others from misusing your account.

Getting your token

First, you will need a MapTiler cloud account which are free to set up and use for non-commercial purposes. Use the following link to sign up or sign in; the process is very simple and only takes a few minutes: Create Account. Once signed in, go to your MapTiler Cloud Account page, and click Credentials on the left of the interface. Click on the New Credential button and copy the token (keep this token private – treat it the same way as a password).

MapTiler Cloud Credentials

In the MapTiler plugin, paste this token into the account dialog…

MapTiler QGIS Plugin Authentication

After you paste your token, it is saved in your QGIS Authentication database, which you can control using the Authentication manager in the QGIS Options… menu.

If you haven’t used QGIS Authentication manager before, QGIS will ask you for a master authentication password. The master password is used to protect all your connection details and is used by other plugins such as Mergin. You can find out more here: QGIS Docs: Authentication Database

QGIS Authentication Manager

Don’t worry if you already have maps set up with the API key, they will continue to work!

Helpful messaging

Finally, we have also implemented more helpful messages passed through from MapTiler to QGIS. So if a map doesn’t load due to an expired or invalid Token you get this information and a link to where it can be fixed, rather than a generic fail message.

QGIS Alert

More about the MapTiler Plugin for QGIS

The MapTiler Plugin homepage

What is the MapTiler QGIS plugin

How to use the MapTiler plugin

MapTiler QGIS plugin - supported expressions

Vector basemaps in QGIS

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The new version 2.0 of MapTiler QGIS Plugin was released. The first version of the plugin was written in Python and released as open-source last year. We are happy to see that our source code was ported into QGIS C++ core with some improvements.

The new version of the MapTiler plugin takes advantage of the rewritten code and pushes our maps from MapTiler Cloud almost to perfection. Our maps in Cloud contain data of the entire planet, with details down to the street level, thanks to the OpenStreetMap project and community. But you are not limited just to our Cloud.

Map styles

Load these and many other map styles directly from MapTiler Cloud

Open vector tile style from any URL

MapTiler plugin is the easiest way how to add any complex vector tile map hosted anywhere on the Internet into your QGIS project. Enjoy the comfort of adding your style.json with multiple sources in just a single click.

Add context to your map with icons

Version 2.0 is packed with a lot of visual improvements. Labels, line width, color interpretation, opacity setting, and many other small enhancements make the maps better. However, the biggest improvements are map symbols. The first version suffered from a lack of possibility to display icons. The new version handles them with ease.

Map icons

Let users understand your map

Having place names in a local language can significantly improve how users understand the map. Use Customize in Cloud option from the MapTiler plugin menu to choose from more than 50 languages and customize the language of the map to suit your needs.

Customize Map languages

New Outdoor style in QGIS

In MapTiler, we all are outdoor enthusiasts. That’s why we recently announced a new Outdoor map style. Hiking trails, biking routes, points of interest, landcover, hillshade, and contour lines, everything you wish for in a good outdoor map is now available in QGIS as a base map for planning your adventure.

MapTiler Outdoor in QGIS

High DPI print as the main benefit of vector maps

The previous version of the plugin brought to QGIS high-quality vector maps. However, few issues were identified when printing in high DPI or on retina displays. The new version solved all those issues and you can print maps in high resolution. Set high DPI, print or export your map to PDF, and zoom in deeply to inspect the level of sharpness. Even though our raster tiles are optimized for serving, you can never get such detail as with vectors.

We also prepared a new basemap allowing attribution-free print-out.

Satellite

Keep in mind that for printing maps or exporting from MapTiler Cloud you must have a commercial plan, see terms and conditions or contact our sales.

Download/upgrade the plugin for free

Learn more about the plugin or get it by searching maptiler in the plugin service in QGIS. Installing the plugin is straightforward:

  1. Open QGIS
  2. Click on the menu Plugins → Manage and Install Plugins…
  3. Search for maptiler
  4. Click on the Install Plugin (Reinstall, if you already have the old version installed)
  5. Restart QGIS
  6. Right-click on the MapTiler plugin → Account…
  7. Follow the link after Get a FREE key Now, just add the key and start loading maps.

Open-source code on GitHub

The MapTiler plugin for QGIS is released under an open-source license on GitHub. Feel free to report issues or send pull requests!

Links:

Say hello to the new QGIS plugin

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Adding beautiful maps that fit your needs is now straightforward with MapTiler plugin for QGIS. You can select one of the predefined map styles, load custom maps and use geodata hosted on a global infrastructure.

Really fast-loading maps

MapTiler Cloud offers a set of beautiful maps to give your data context. There are street and satellite maps of the entire world based on the OpenStreetMap project, maps in custom coordinate systems and local maps from government open data. All maps can be easily loaded to QGIS using the new plugin.

Add raster

Installing the MapTiler plugin is straightforward:

  1. Open the QGIS application
  2. Click on the menu PluginsManage and Install Plugins…
  3. Search for maptiler
  4. Click on the Install Plugin
  5. Restart QGIS

Now just add your key, which you will find in the MapTiler Cloud administration on the web and you can start loading maps. Add them as a new layer and maps appear immediately.

Maps with your own colors and fonts

Making your own map design can be done in a few mouse clicks. Select a map you like → right-click on the map → select Customize in Cloud → now change colors and fonts in the Customize tool the way you like → SavePublish.

Customize

To add customized map back to QGIS, right-click on the plugin → select Add new map → pick From URL tab → fill in a Name you like and paste the 256x256 JSON URL from MapTiler Cloud and click on the OK button. That’s it, your own map is loaded to QGIS.

Add raster

MapTiler Cloud also allows hosting geodata of any size, including very large analytical datasets. They can be easily added to QGIS in the same way as custom maps.

All maps and geodata are hosted on a reliable global infrastructure using more than 150 servers on 5 continents.

Add raster

Agricultural data on top of the satellite map

Open-source code on GitHub

The MapTiler plugin for QGIS is released under an open-source license on GitHub. Feel free to report issues or send pull requests!

We would like to thanks our partner, MIERUNE, which made a significant part of the work on the plugin and is a long-term supporter of the QGIS community.

For the upcoming QGIS 3.14, there is an ongoing work by Lutra Consulting on native support for vector tiles. MapTiler plugin is already able to load them - you can test it using the QGIS nightly releases.

Vector tiles in QGIS 3.14

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The new QGIS 3.14 version adds support for the native loading of vector tiles. The easiest way to load them is via the recently released plugin.

New plugin with vector tiles maps

One of the most important new features in QGIS 3.14 is the built-in support for vector tiles. The MapTiler plugin allows anybody to easily load map data of the entire planet, with details down to the street level.

QGIS plugin

The plugin automatically loads maps from MapTiler Cloud in vector or raster tiles, but can also open maps from any other URL.

For the very first time, high-quality maps of the entire world can be printed in QGIS so easily. You don’t need to care about DPI settings, because vector tiles behave as any other vector-based technology and scale infinitely with the same resolution.

QGIS plugin If you don’t have a large format printer at hand, export your map into PDF and zoom in deeply to inspect the level of sharpness.

Styling the vector data

A ready-to-use list of beautiful map styles is available to QGIS users. Those who prefer customized maps can make their own map design in a few clicks using the Customize tool. Users can set their own colors, fonts, or choose the language of map labels.

For power users, there is the Edit tool, with advanced functionality to allow the addition of one’s own data and the manipulation of layers.

QGIS plugin

All map styles from the MapTiler Cloud, including user-customized ones, are translated to QGIS styling. This allows you to use the styling editor in QGIS and give your maps a final touch-up.

QGIS plugin

Anywhere on Earth, in high detail

The MapTiler plugin for QGIS allows users to load maps of the entire world (from the OpenStreetMap project), maps from official government data in the Netherlands (Kadaster maps via Cartiqo), the United Kingdom (Ordnance Survey Open Zoomstack) and Japan (GSI data), high-resolution aerial imagery, hillshading, contour line, and much more.

Geospatial data of any size can be uploaded to MapTiler Cloud and served to QGIS via MapTiler plugin.

QGIS plugin

Maps appear quickly, thanks to the tiles technology for both raster and vector data. The high speed of delivery is also reached because maps are cached on more than 150 CDN servers on five continents.

The coordinate system of your choice 

A huge advantage of vector tiles compared to raster tiles is flexibility. Reprojecting to any coordinate system inside QGIS doesn’t impact the visual appeal of the map tiles. All labels rotate accordingly, warped objects stay sharp, and much more!

You can reproject maps into any coordinate system: the default Mercator, French Lambert, Dutch RD-new, or global WGS84 to name a few.

QGIS plugin

Export rasters, vector images, or CAD files

All maps can be exported as images in GeoTIFF, PNG, or compressed JPEG, for use on the web or in raster graphics editors like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP.

For vector graphics editors like Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape, exports in SVG and PDF formats are available.

Exporting to CAD software like AutoCAD and others is possible via DWG and DXF formats.

QGIS plugin

Before making exports, print, or republishing, please contact us.

Download the plugin for free

Learn more about the plugin or get it by searching maptiler in the plugin service in QGIS. 

Installing the plugin is straightforward:

  1. Open QGIS 
  2. Click on the menu Plugins → Manage and Install Plugins…
  3. Search for maptiler
  4. Click on the Install Plugin
  5. Restart QGIS
  6. Right-click on the MapTiler plugin → Account…
  7. Follow the link after Get a FREE key

Now, just add the key and start loading maps. Enjoy :-)

QGIS plugin

Big thanks to the open-source community!

The development is happening on GitHub. Feel free to report any issue or send a pull request, community feedback is welcomed!

We want to acknowledge people who made all this possible, namely Martin Dobias from Lutra Consulting, and Kanahiro Iguchi from MIERUNE. Thank you!

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