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Thu Jul 9 10:00:32 2020

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QGIS Planet

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.

Submissions

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 Server and OGC API Features

Based on text and information from Paul Blottiere and Alessandro Pasotti (both QCooperative)

QGIS Server implements a number of OGC services, such as WMS, WFS, WCS or WMTS and extends these services where useful. Thanks to the efforts of a number of QGIS Server developers and companies, QGIS 3.10 (and 3.4 before) had been certified by the OGC for the WMS 1.3.0 service, and is also a WMS reference implementation.

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Last year in 2019, a new protocol has been developed and named OGC API Features (commonly known as WFS3). With the purpose of having an up-to-date QGIS Server, both OSGeo and QGIS.ORG have dedicated funds to work on the implementation of this brand-new service: but we wanted to do it right, so the ambition was also to reach the OGC certification!

This new protocol with REST interfaces gets rid of the XML specification to use the OpenAPI standard as well as the JSON open format instead. In other words, it’s not just another protocol to support, but a whole package of changes and fresh mechanisms to work on. It was quite a challenge!

QGIS core developers of QCooperative were remotely participating in OGC sprints to closely monitor the development of the new OGC API Features protocol. Hence, we started its implementation and a fully operational version landed in QGIS Server 3.10.

Implementation and features

As a reminder, the WFS protocol allows to query, retrieve and manipulate vector features, unlike the WMS format which provides raster outputs. OGC API Features is the natural continuity and consistently provides basic mechanisms to retrieve features and corresponding information in a specific area (the famous GetFeatureInfo request in WFS 1.X).

In addition, QGIS Server also provides transactions for the OGC API Features protocol. This means basically that we can update, insert or delete features in the underlying data. And of course, everything can be easily reached and configured through QGIS Desktop.

Yet another interesting thing to note is also the full support of the date and time filtering. Nifty!

And last, but not least, QGIS Server 3.10 provides a default HTML template with an embedded map to explore the data served by the server. There’s literally nothing to configure, it’s just there as soon as you work with the OGC API Features protocol :).

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OGC Certification

Once the implementation was completed, we started to address the OGC certification goal. To avoid unwanted regressions along the way, we first added nightly tests by updating the dedicated QGIS repository for OGC tests. From that moment, HTML reports are available day-to-day to monitor development over time.

Then, some bugfixes and backports later, we’re finally there: OGC tests are green on the development version, 3.12 and 3.10 releases. Yippee!

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Conclusion

Now that everything is in order, the last step is to start the formal OGC certification process. From now on, the dedicated QGIS OGC Team takes care of further operations.

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 (http://berna.io @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 OPENGIS.ch which I founded in 2011. Since 2015 I share the company ownership with Matthias Kuhn. At OPENGIS.ch 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 https://www.itopen.it, https://www.qcooperative.net)

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 https://plugins.qgis.org ).

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.

Regards

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!

[1] https://north-road.com/2019/09/03/qgis-3-10-loves-geopdf/
[2] https://gdalbarn.com/

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!

 

Introducing new QGIS macOS packages

We now have signed packages for macOS. You can find these packages published on the official QGIS download page at http://download.qgis.org.

Rationale

In addition to being a very powerful and user-friendly open source GIS application, QGIS can be installed on different operating systems: MS Windows, macOS, various flavours of Linux and FreeBSD. 

Volunteers help with generating the installers for those platforms. The work is highly valuable and the scale of effort put into packaging over the years is often underappreciated. QGIS has also grown significantly over the years and so has its complexity to package relevant libraries and 3rd party tools to the end-users.

QGIS has been packaged on OSX/macOS for many years, making it one of the few GIS applications you can use on this platform. This is largely thanks to the tireless work of William Kyngesburye (https://www.kyngchaos.com/software/qgis/) who has shouldered the task of compiling QGIS and its dependencies and offering them as disk images on the official QGIS website. The packages for each new release are available within days for all supported macOS versions.

Unlike most other operating systems, macOS can only be run on Apple hardware. This is a barrier for developers on other platforms who wish to compile and test their code on macOS. For other platforms, QGIS developers have automated packaging, not only for the major releases but also for daily code snapshots (aka nightly or master builds). Availability of the daily packages has allowed testers to identify platform-specific issues, well before the official release.

Apple also has a system of software signing so that users can verify if the packages are securely generated and signed by the developers. Up until now, signed macOS packages were not available, resulting in users who are installing QGIS needing to go into their security preferences and manually allow the QGIS application to be run. 

A new approach

In October 2018, Lutra Consulting started their work on packaging QGIS for macOS. The work has been based on OSGeo tap on Homebrew. Homebrew is a ‘bleeding edge’ package manager similar to those provided by Gentoo or Arch Linux. The packages by Lutra bundle the various libraries and resources on which QGIS depends into a single QGIS.app application bundle.  The packages were made available in late 2018 for QGIS official releases and master. QGIS Mac users have eagerly tested and reported various issues and the majority of them were resolved in early 2019.

Following the successful launch of the prototype packages and in discussion with other developers, it was agreed to transfer the ownership of the packaging infrastructure and scripts (https://github.com/qgis/QGIS-Mac-Packager) to QGIS.org. Using the new infrastructure and OSGeo Apple developers certificate, all QGIS ‘disk images’ (installers) have been available since late May 2019.

What are the main difference between the new installers and the ones offered by Kyngchaos? The new installer offers:

  • 3 clicks to install: download, accept Terms & Conditionss, drop to /Application
  • All dependencies (Python, GDAL, etc)  are bundled within the disk image
  • Signed by OSGeo Apple certificate
  • Availability of nightly builds (master)
  • Scripts for bundling and packaging are available on a public repository
  • Possibility of installing multiple versions (e.g. 3.4 LTR, 3.8 and master) side-by-side

There are some known issues:

For a full list, see: https://github.com/qgis/QGIS-Mac-Packager

Further work

We hope that by providing the new installers, macOS users will have a better experience in installing and using QGIS. Ideally, with the availability of nightly builds and being more accessible to new users, more software bugs and issues will be reported and this will help to improve QGIS overall.

Maintaining and supporting macOS costs more compared with other platforms. As QGIS is one of the only viable GIS applications for macOS users in an enterprise environment, we encourage you and your organisation to become a sustaining member to help assure the continued availability and improvement of the macOS packages in the long term.

Future plans

In future we plan to migrate the packaging process to use Anaconda QGIS packages as the source for package binaries. We also would like to integrate macOS builds into the Travis-CI automated testing that happens whenever a new GitHub pull request is submitted so that we can validate that the macOS packages do not get any regressions when new features are introduced.

Conclusion

With this work, we now have nightly builds of the upcoming release (‘master’) branch available for all to use on macOS. We now have signed packages and we have an automated build infrastructure that will help to ensure that macOS users always have ready access to new versions of QGIS as they become available. You can find these packages published on the official QGIS download page at http://download.qgis.org. A huge thanks to the team at Lutra Consulting for taking this much-needed work, and to William Kyngesburye for the many years that he has contributed towards the macOS/OSX QGIS packaging effort!

 

Videos from A Coruña

We’re glad to announce that the recorded presentations from our user conference in A Coruña are now available online on the TIB AV-Portal.

Enjoy and thanks to all participants, sponsors and organizers!

qgisuserconf2019

 

Crowdfunding initiatives in spring 2019

Currently there are a number of ongoing crowdfunding initiatives for improvements in QGIS that need your support:

1. Diagrams in print layouts, atlas and reports: the popular data plotly plugin for interactive, exploratory charts and diagrams should be enhanced to support embedding in print layouts, atlas serial prints and reports. Details can be found at the North Road campaign website. This is a joint effort of companies Faunalia and North Road. Funding goal: € 8’600 (1’780 collected as of April 2, 2019)

2. Cartography proposal: selective masking of symbol levels behind labels and map symbols. Inspired by the high-quality topographic maps of Swisstopo. Details can be found at the Oslandia campaign website. Funding goal: € 20’000 (8’000 collected as of April 2, 2019)

3. GeoPDF-Export: Export of georeferenced PDF files, with the possibility to measure, query coordinates, toggle map layers and query feature attributes. The project is partitioned into several work packages. This is a joint effort of Even Rouault and North Road on request of several Austrian local government agencies. For more details, please contact Johannes Kanonier of the Landesvermessungsamt Vorarlberg. Funding goal: € 30’800 (24’400 collected as of April 2, 2019)

4. SLYR: Converter for ESRI LYR and MXD-Files. Project is partitioned in several work packages for the conversion of ESRI styles to QGIS styles, MXD-Files into QGIS project files and ESRI layouts to QGIS layouts. Please find more details at the SLYR website of North Road.

Thank you for your support in making these projects a reality!

End of life notice: QGIS 2.18 LTR

257901067_158842QGIS 3.4 has recently become our new Long Term Release  (LTR) version. This is a major step in our history – a long term release version based on the massive updates, library upgrades and improvements that we carried out in the course of the 2.x to 3x upgrade cycle.

We strongly encourage all users who are currently using QGIS 2.18 LTR  as their preferred QGIS release to migrate to QGIS 3.4. This new LTR version will receive regular bugfixes for at least one year. It also includes hundreds of new functions, usability improvements, bugfixes, and other goodies. See the relevant changelogs for a good sampling of all the new features that have gone into version 3.4

Most plugins have been either migrated or incorporated into the core QGIS code base.

We strongly discourage the continued use of QGIS 2.18 LTR as it is now officially unsupported, which means we’ll not provide any bug fix releases for it.

You should also note that we intend to close all bug tickets referring to the now obsolete LTR version. Original reporters will receive a notification of the ticket closure and are encouraged to check whether the issue persists in the new LTR, in which case they should reopen the ticket.

If you would like to better understand the QGIS release roadmap, check out our roadmap page! It outlines the schedule for upcoming releases and will help you plan your deployment of QGIS into an operational environment.

The development of QGIS 3.4 LTR has been made possible by the work of hundreds of volunteers, by the investments of companies, professionals, and administrations, and by continuous donations and financial support from many of you. We sincerely thank you all and encourage you to collaborate and support the project even more, for the long term improvement and sustainability of the QGIS project.

User question of the Month – Feb’19 & answers from Jan

In January, we wanted to learn more about if and how QGIS users contribute back to the project. We received 299 responses from all over the world:

user_survey_january_map

55% of responders have contributed to the project in the past:

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Responders who stated that they had contributed to QGIS were asked to specify what kind of contributions they had provided. This question was multiple-choice. Time contributions are generally more common than financial contributions. 30% of responders helped by creating reproducible bug reports and 24% implemented improvements themselves. The most common financial contribution are personal donations to QGIS.ORG at 17%.

Membership in user groups, contracting developers / documentation writers / translators, or having a support contract with a QGIS support provider are less common amongst responders:

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Responders who stated that they had not contributed to QGIS most commonly stated that they didn’t know how to contribute (26%), while lacking financial resources were only raised by 10% of responders:

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New question

This month, we’d like to know which plugins you think should be advertised as “featured” on the official QGIS plugin repository.

The survey is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Ukrainian, Danish, and Japanese. If you want to help us translate user questions in more languages, please get in touch!

Results of the MacOS bug fixing initiative

Thanks to your donations, we were able to hire core developers to focus on solving Mac OS specific issues for QGIS. More than 30 MacOS QGIS users donated a little more than 3000 € for this bug fixing round.

After an effort of triage and testing, here is what has been achieved:

Unfortunately, some issues remain. Mainly, the text being rendered as outlines in PDF export (https://issues.qgis.org/issues/3975) remains for now. It might be fixed in a following effort.

Thanks to all donors who helped in this effort and to Denis Rouzaud as a core developer who spent a lot of time investigating and fixing these issues!

User question of the Month – Nov 18

QGIS 2.18 is the third LTR since we started this effort back in 2015 and next year will see the first LTR of QGIS 3. On this occasion, we want to learn more about our users and which versions of QGIS they use. Therefore, we invite you to our QGIS user question of the month.

Add Realistic Mist and Fog to Topography in QGIS 3.2

I recently came across a great tutorial by in which he demonstrated how to create map of Switzerland in the style of Edward Imhof, the famed Swiss cartographer renowned for his hand painted maps of Switzerland and other mountainous regions of the world. John’s map used traditional hillshading, multidirectional hillshading and crucially, a translucent topographic layer that created a mist like appearance he likened to the sfumato technique used by painters since the Renascence.

I followed John’s tutorial in QGIS 3.2 and I was quite pleased with the initial result below. However, the process creating it is a bit too complicated for a tutorial so I set about simplifying the process and rather than imitating Imhof’s distinct style, my goal this time is realism.

The heart of the effect involves the very clever idea of using the topographic layer as a subtle opacity mask to simulate mist, fog and atmospheric haze. Have a look at the image below taken on March 17th, 2005 by NASA’s Terra satellite. This is the industrialised Po valley of northern Italy, surrounded by the Alps and Apennine Mountains that rise above the valley’s hazy pollution. The haze adds a sense of depth to the surrounding hills and mountains. It’s not uncommon to see fog and pollution in satellite imagery that gives way to the clear air in high mountains e.g. northern India and Nepal, China, Pakistan and India. Creating a similar mist effect in QGIS is actually quite simple.

First download topography for the Alps and Po region (a 68.55 Mb GeoTiff file derived from freely available EU-DEM data I resampled from 25 to 100m resolution). Next, make sure you have the plugin QuickMapServics (QMS) installed (menu Plugins – Manage and Install Plugins). This great plugin provides access to over 1000 basemaps.

Load the GeoTiff file into QGIS (Raster – Load) and rename the layer Hillshade. Right click the layer to open the Layer Properties window. In the Symbology panel, next to Render Type, choose Hillshade. Change the altitude to 35 degrees, Azimuth to 300 degrees and Z Factor of 1.5 (illuminating the landscape from the top left). Finally, change the Blending mode to Multiply. Click OK to close the dialogue.

To add the basemap layer, Esri World Imagery (Clarity), type “ESRI clarity” in the QMS search bar to find and add the basemap; Go to View – Panels and activate the QMS search bar if it isn’t initially visible. Make sure it’s the bottommost layer.

Oh, that’s a bit disappointing, we only increased the relief little a bit. It’s missing the vitally important mist layer.

To create mist, right click the Hillshade layer and choose Duplicate. Rename the new layer Mist and make sure it’s above the Hillshade layer. Now open the Layer Properties window of the layer, we’re going edit it’s attributes to make it look like mist.

Change the Render type to Singleband Pseudocolor and use 0 and 3000 for the min and max values (limiting maximum latitude of the mist to 3000 meters). Then open the colour ramp window by clicking on the Color ramp and enter these values:

  • Left Gradient – HSV 215 15 50 and 75% transparency
  • Right Gradient – HSV 215 15 50 and 0% transparency

Close the Color Ramp dialogue. In the Layer Properties window, and this is very important, change the Blending mode to Lighten. Click OK to close the Layer Properties window.

Wow, we have mist!

The mist effect looks great. It certainly adds a lot of realism to the topographic map, it now looks quite like NASA’s images. This is just a quick and basic map so there’s lots of scope to improve the effect. Play around with the colour of the mist layer and its opacity, or even brighten the Hillshade layer underneath. See what effects these changes have.

Here’s another example below. In this example I duplicated the hillshade layer and set the second hillshade layer to Multidirectional Hillshading (yes, QGIS 3.2 has Multidirectional Hillshading). I then adjusted the transparency of both hillshade layers so they blended together nicely. I then replaced the basemap with another duplicated topography layer that I coloured using the gradient sd-a (by Jim Mossman, 2005) using the cpt-city plugin. And lastly, I doubled the opacity of the mist layer turning it into a milky fog. I think it looks great!

What next? Well, there’s lots of possibilities. Perhaps download Martian topography and add mist to the bottom of Valles Marineris?

References:

Eduard Imhof – Biography

TV documentary about Eduard Imhof

The Map as an Artistic Territory: Relief Shading Works and Studies by Eduard Imhof

Haze in northern Italy – NASA Terra Satellite

Tzvetkov, J., 2018. Relief visualization techniques using free and open source GIS tools. Polish Cartographical Review, 50(2), pp.61-71.

MacOS specific bug fixing campaign

If you are a MacOS QGIS user, you are probably bothered by some MacOS specific bugs. These are due to the fact that we have fewer QGIS developers working on the MacOS platform and there are additional MacOS specific issues in the underlying qt5 library.

Nevertheless, we found a developer, Denis Rouzaud, who wants to specifically look into investigating and hopefully solving several of these issues. If you are a MacOS user and care about a better QGIS experience on this platform, we invite you to financially support this effort. As a private person, and for smaller amounts, please use the usual donation channel – if you are a company or organization and want to contribute to this specific effort, please consider becoming a sponsor. In any case – please add “MacOS bug fixing campaign” as a remark when donating/sponsoring or inform [email protected] about your earmarked donation.

This effort runs from the 14th September 2018 until the 3.4 release date, due on October 26, 2018. See the QGIS road map for more details about our release schedule.

Specific issues that are looked into, are:

issue priority subject
11103 1 Support for retina displays (HiDPI)
17773 1 No Retina / HiDPI support in 2.99 on osx
19546 1 QGIS 3 slow on macOS at high resolutions
19524 1 [macOS] Map canvas with wrong size on QGIS 3.2.1 start up
19321 2 Map Tips on Mac doesn’t display the content correctly
19314 1 3.2 crashes on startup on a Mac
19092 2 Measure tool on a Mac uses the top right corner of the cross hair cursor instead of the centre
18943 3 QGIS Server on MacOS X High Sierra
18914 3 [macOS] Plugin list corrupted by wrongly placed checkboxes on Mac
18720 2 QGIS 3.0.1 crashes on Mac
18452 3 Snapping options missing on Mac
18418 2 Scroll zoom erratic on Mac trackpad
16575 3 QGIS 2.18.7 crashes on macOS 10.12.4 when undocking the label panel
16025 2 [macOS] Control feature rendering order will crash QGIS
3975 2 PDF exports on OSX always convert text to outlines

Thank you for considering to support this effort! Please note that some issues may also exist due to up-stream issues in the qt library. In such a case, it can’t be guaranteed if and how fast, such an issue can be fixed.

Andreas Neumann, QGIS.ORG treasurer

QGIS 3.2 Bonn is released!

We are pleased to announce the release of QGIS 3.2 ‘Bonn’. The city of Bonn was the location of our 16th developer meeting.

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This is the second release in the 3.x series. It comes with tons of new features (see our visual changelog).

Packages and installers for all major platforms are available from downloads.qgis.org.

We would like to thank the developers, documenters, testers and all the many folks out there who volunteer their time and effort (or fund people to do so). From the QGIS community we hope you enjoy this release! If you wish to donate time, money or otherwise get involved in making QGIS more awesome, please wander along to qgis.org and lend a hand!

QGIS is supported by donors and sponsors. A current list of donors who have made financial contributions large and small to the project can be seen on our donors list. If you would like to become and official project sponsor, please visit our sponsorship page for details. Sponsoring QGIS helps us to fund our six monthly developer meetings, maintain project infrastructure and fund bug fixing efforts. A complete list of current sponsors is provided below – our very great thank you to all of our sponsors!

QGIS is Free software and you are under no obligation to pay anything to use it – in fact we want to encourage people far and wide to use it regardless of what your financial or social status is – we believe empowering people with spatial decision making tools will result in a better society for all of humanity.

 

 

 

 

QGIS Grant Programme 2018 Results

We are extremely pleased to announce the winning proposals for our 2018 QGIS.ORG grant programme. Funding for the programme was sourced by you, our project donors and sponsorsNote: For more context surrounding our grant programme, please see:

The QGIS.ORG Grant Programme aims to support work from our community that would typically not be funded by client/contractor agreements, and that contributes to the broadest possible swathe of our community by providing cross-cutting, foundational improvements to the QGIS Project.

Voting to select the successful projects was carried out by our QGIS Voting Members. Each voting member was allowed to select up to 6 of the 14 submitted proposals by means of a ranked selection form. The full list of votes are available here (on the first sheet). The second sheet contains the calculations used to determine the winner (for full transparency). The table below summarizes the voting tallies for the proposals:

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A couple of extra notes about the voting process:

  • The PSC has an ongoing program to fund documentation so elected to fund the QGIS Training Manual update even if this increases the total funded amount beyond the initial budget.
  • Although the budget for the grant programme was €25,000, the total amount for the winning proposals is €35,500. This increase is possible thanks to the generous support by our donors and sponsors this year.
  • Voting was carried out based on the technical merits of the proposals and the competency of the applicants to execute on these proposals.
  • No restrictions were in place in terms of how many proposals could be submitted per person / organization, or how many proposals could be awarded to each proposing person / organization.
  • Voting was ‘blind’ (voters could not see the existing votes that had been placed).

Of the 45 voting members, 29 registered their votes 17 community representatives and 12 user group representatives.

On behalf of the QGIS.ORG project, I would like to thank everyone who submitted proposals for this call!

A number of interesting and useful proposal didn’t make it because of our limited budget; we encourage organizations to pick up one of their choice and sponsor it.

QGIS User Conference 2018

This year’s QGIS User Conference will be embedded within the FOSS4G conference. That means that you should refer to the FOSS4G web site for all registration and event details with the exception of the QGIS Hackfest (22-26 August) which follows our normal organisation procedure on the QGIS Wiki.

There are five main activities for QGIS Users to enjoy at the conference:

  1. The QGIS Hackfest: This is our twice-yearly meet up to work on and improve the QGIS code base. Come along to this event if you want contribute documentation, bug fixes, bug reports, features and other ideas for improvements to the QGIS project. The hackfest is a side event to be held on the island of Zanzibar and will happen before the main conference. Again refer to the QGIS Hackfest wiki page for details and to register.
  2. The Workshops: FOSS4G is always popular for the wide range of workshops presented. The workshop presentations are very often by the developers of the software being explained, which gives you a unique opportunity to talk face to face with the people using the software you are using. There will be a number of QGIS specific workshops at FOSS4G – you will be able to identify them easily on the mobile app that provides the conference programme by filtering on ‘QGIS’ in the workshops section. For a current list of all the workshops at the event please refer to: https://2018.foss4g.org/workshop-schedule/ 
  3. The Presentations: There will be a wide range of QGIS related presentations during the main conference. 17 QGIS related presentations have been registered. See https://2018.foss4g.org/programme/list-of-presentations/ for a full list of the conference presentations.
  4. The Academic Track: This year a large number of academic papers have been submitted, a good number of which relate to QGIS. Watch the conference web site for more details to be published soon!
  5. The QGIS Plenary / Panel Discussion: During the conference we will have an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session with QGIS developers and community members forming a panel to field any questions you might want to ask! This is a unique opportunity to find out more about the project, its roadmap or just come along to say ‘thank you’ to the dedicated team of community members who put so much work into making QGIS!

If you have not already registered for FOSS4G2018, do so now to enjoy early bird rates! Visit the Registration Page for more details! We are looking forward to meeting you in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar!

About the FOSS4G2018 Conference

The annual Free and Open Source Software 4 Geospatial. (FOSS4G) conference is the largest community gathering focused on open source geospatial software. FOSS4G brings together developers, users, decision-makers and observers from a broad spectrum of organizations and fields of operation. Through six days of workshops, presentations, discussions, and code sprints, FOSS4G participants, learn, exchange, and create new collaborations, geospatial products, standards.

FOSS4G is a global conference, with attendees from around the world! Last year, Boston, USA was the host city, before that in 2016 it Bonn, Germany. Now is the time for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania! FOSS4G 2018 will host numerous workshops over 27 – 28 August with exciting keynotes and presentations at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre 29 – 31 August, and finally Code Sprints and community building events September 1 & 2. In addition to bringing together the FOSS4G community in Dar, the 21st QGIS Developer meeting will take place in Zanzibar (a short 60min ferry trip away!) the 22 – 26 of August – the Geospatial Savanna is on the rise in East Africa!

The vision for the conference is to make it as accessible and inclusive as possible, bridging the gaps between the various communities that make us so strong, to make us stronger. This will be achieved through a Travel Grant Program that will enable economically disadvantaged participants the opportunity to attend, covering travel, lodging and conference costs. This will be bolstered by an exciting conference program, taking the very best that the open source geospatial community can offer. This ranges from locating schools to the instrumentation of communities with cheap, open source, 3D printed weather stations that improve community resilience to climate change.

The theme for FOSS4G 2018 is “Leave No-One Behind”. We live in a world where our users and developers have the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of everyone, whether it’s those in extreme poverty looking for access to clean water, to those using routing algorithms to calculate the fastest route to work. Location and geography are at the heart of these challenges and a FOSS4G 2018 in Dar es Salaam will invigorate our existing projects, bringing them to new users and developers while supporting and nurturing the existing community.

Preparing for the next LTR

Dear QGIS users,

As you know, QGIS 3 has recently been published. This version introduced big changes in  the code structure that, in addition to the new functionalities already exposed, makes our code base more modern and easier to expand and improve on in the future.

As a normal by-product of such a huge overhaul, these changes also triggered a series of new issues, that you, our users are helping to discover and document. Our objective is to eliminate the most important of these issues in time for what will be our next Long Term Release (LTR) – version 3.4. This release is scheduled for October 2018. The resources available from QGIS.ORG funds are limited, and we have already invested in QGIS 3.0 far more than we have done for any previous version.

Now is a great time for users, and particularly for power users, larger institutions and enterprises, to invest in QGIS bugfixing. You have a number of different options: donating your developers’ time or hiring a developer directly to resolve the bugs that annoy you most, sponsoring our foundation, or donating to QGIS.ORG.

Our targets are:

  • 20k€ within 2018-05-18 (for 3.2)
  • 40k€ within 2018-09-14 (for 3.4)

If you would like to help, feel free to contact us (preferably through the qgis-users or qgis-developers mailing list, or directly to [email protected]) for further details!

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