Highlighting Selections in QGIS

I have been working a lot with points recently, and one thing with the default selection highlighting in QGIS is that selections do not really stand out. This is especially true with point layers.

A bit of an extreme example, but there are 15 points selected in the middle of this image.

hard_to_see

However, we can remedy this with the Expression Plus plugin (by Nathan Woodrow) and a rule based symbology.

plugin

This plugin adds a great function: isselected()

With this we can easily create rule to symbolise features that are selected.

The rule for symbology is as follows:

QGIS 2.12+:

isselected( @layer_name )

QGIS 2.8:

isselected( 'ACTUAL_NAME_OF_LAYER' )

So we can see that 2.12 has added a slightly more dynamic way of applying the symbology.

symbology

We can now slightly more easily see our selection.

more_visible

But one final setting. With symbol levels we can really make the selections pop.

symbol_levels

Symbol levels can be set from the bottom right of the styles tab, through rendering order. We simply want out selection to have a higher number than the other symbologies. Thus being rendered in a later pass and appearing on top.

final_selection

Much better.

Mapping Google Location Data

A cool python script has been created that allows you to easily convert your google location (Takeout) data into a shapefile.

You can get your data from: Google Takeout
And you only need the “Location History – JSON format”

The conversion python script can be downloaded from: GitHub

The python script requires GDAL and its python bindings, but can be easily run if you installed QGIS using the OSGeo4W installer. From the advanced installer, under the Lib section.

instruct

Then using the OSGeo4W Shell.
shell

Run the command:

python "C:\FullPath_to_Python_Script\read_location_data.py" "C:\FullPath_to_Input_File\LocationHistory.json" "C:\output_path" output_file_name ESRI_Shapefile

Example:

python "C:\FilePath\Takeout\Location History\read_location_data.py" "C:\FilePath\Takeout\Location History\LocationHistory.json" "C:\FilePath\Takeout\Location History" output ESRI_Shapefile

Then just style it in QGIS as desired.
GoogleTakeOut

GIS to CAD using ogr2ogr – Part 2 – GML to DXF with OS MasterMap

GIS to CAD using ogr2ogr – Part 1 – Shp to DXF with Contour Data
GIS to CAD using ogr2ogr – Part 3 – Point Annotation to Text in CAD

For this example we are using Ordnance Survey MasterMap Topology Layer data.

MasterMap Topo Sample Data:

https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/business-and-government/licensing/sample-data/discover-data.html

Now we know that we can maintain an attribute through layers, as we saw in the shp to DXF example, the export of MasterMap should be straightforward.

Let’s first see what the GML file contains.

ogrinfo -so os-mastermap-topography-layer-sample-data.gml
Had to open data source read-only.
INFO: Open of 'os-mastermap-topography-layer-sample-data.gml'
using driver 'GML' successful.
1: TopographicArea (Polygon)
2: CartographicText (Point)
3: CartographicSymbol (Point)
4: BoundaryLine (Line String)
5: TopographicPoint (Point)
6: TopographicLine (Line String)

So we have 6 layers in total.

For MasterMap in CAD we will be mainly interested in CartographicText, TopographicPoint, and TopographicLine.

Lets start with TopographicLine.

ogrinfo -so os-mastermap-topography-layer-sample-data.gml TopographicLine

Nothing too useful.

A bit more details:

ogrinfo os-mastermap-topography-layer-sample-data.gml TopographicLine

Sample:

OGRFeature(TopographicLine):185
fid (String) = osgb1000000347615024
featureCode (Integer) = 10019
version (Integer) = 5
versionDate (String) = 2005-03-30
theme (StringList) = (2:Buildings,Land)
accuracyOfPosition (String) = 1.0m
changeDate (StringList) = (4:1994-01-26,2003-11-10,2004-02-19,2005-01-05)
reasonForChange (StringList) = (4:Modified,Attributes,Attributes,Attributes)
descriptiveGroup (String) = Building
physicalLevel (Integer) = 50
physicalPresence (String) = Obstructing
descriptiveTerm (String) = Outline
make (String) = Manmade
nonBoundingLine (String) = (null)
LINESTRING (...)

For this feature the “descriptiveGroup”” seems the most useful, and from reading the os-mastermap-topography-layer-user-guide.pdf the best would be either a combination of descriptiveGroup and descriptiveTerm or using the featureCode. Since this is a simple conversion we will just use a combo of descriptiveGroup and descriptiveTerm to create our DXF layers.

I will be using || for concatenation, which works with the SQlite SQL dialect.

ogr2ogr -f DXF TopographicLine.dxf os-mastermap-topography-layer-sample-data.gml TopographicLine -sql "select descriptiveGroup || ' - ' || descriptiveTerm as Layer from TopographicLine" -dialect SQlite

Result:

layer names ignored in combination with -sql.
ERROR 1: No known way to write feature with geometry 'None'.
ERROR 1: Unable to write feature 0 from layer SELECT.

ERROR 1: Terminating translation prematurely after failed
translation from sql statement.

Not quite. Seems to be missing geometry, perhaps a SQL select issue.

This can be tested with:

ogrinfo os-mastermap-topography-layer-sample-data.gml TopographicLine -sql "select descriptiveGroup || ' - ' || descriptiveTerm as Layer from TopographicLine" -dialect SQLITE

Result:

OGRFeature(SELECT):14634
Layer (String) = Building - Outline

OGRFeature(SELECT):14635
Layer (String) = Building - Outline

So we do not have any geometry. Lets bring that in.

ogr2ogr -f DXF TopographicLine.dxf os-mastermap-topography-layer-sample-data.gml TopographicLine -sql "select descriptiveGroup || ' - ' || descriptiveTerm as Layer, * from TopographicLine" -dialect SQLITE

Geometry looks good:

Screenshot[6]

But if we check the attributes in QGIS:

Screenshot[7]

We can see that all of the attributes that are not 0 have both a descriptiveGroup and a descriptiveTerm, which was not what we can see in the ogrinfo summary. So our SQL statement is cutting some out.

Try again:

ogr2ogr -f DXF TopographicLine2.dxf os-mastermap-topography-layer-sample-data.gml TopographicLine -sql "select descriptiveGroup ||' - '|| coalesce(descriptiveTerm,'') as Layer, * from TopographicLine" -dialect SQLITE

Looking better:

Screenshot[8]

But it won’t open in AutoCAD DWG TrueView. Lets try running it through a ShapeFile format first before the DXF conversion.

ogr2ogr TopographicLine.shp os-mastermap-topography-layer-sample-data.gml TopographicLine -sql "select descriptiveGroup || ' - ' || coalesce(descriptiveTerm,'') as Layer, * from TopographicLine" -dialect SQLITE

ogr2ogr -f DXF TopographicLine3.dxf TopographicLine.shp

Success:

Screenshot[9]

No indication of why a direct GML to DXF conversion would hang TrueView, and your mileage with other CAD software may vary. But ShapeFile is a very simplified geometry format, so perhaps running through that helps with some more complex geometry in the GML. Hard to say with no errors from TrueView, just a stuck program.

Repeat for point:

ogr2ogr -f DXF TopographicPoint.dxf TopographicPoint.shp

ogr2ogr TopographicPoint.shp os-mastermap-topography-layer-sample-data.gml TopographicPoint -sql "select descriptiveGroup || ' - ' || coalesce(descriptiveTerm,'') as Layer, * from TopographicPoint" -dialect SQLITE

GIS to CAD using ogr2ogr – Part 1 – Shp to DXF with Contour Data
GIS to CAD using ogr2ogr – Part 3 – Point Annotation to Text in CAD

GIS to CAD using ogr2ogr – Part 1 – Shp to DXF with Contour Data

GIS to CAD using ogr2ogr – Part 2 – GML to DXF with OS MasterMap
GIS to CAD using ogr2ogr – Part 3 – Point Annotation to Text in CAD

The power of GDAL, and specifically ogr2ogr is pretty impressive. This conversion is from shp to DXF, which is a somewhat universal CAD format so further conversion should be possible.

This post will cover contour export while maintaining 3D elevation, in addition to contour values as layers in CAD. The data used is OS terrain 50.

OS Terrain 50:

https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/opendatadownload/products.html

In QGIS:

Screenshot[1]

Contours in 3D:

ogr2ogr -f DXF contour_zfield.dxf SX99SW_line.shp -zfield PROP_VALUE

With the -zfield creating the 3d elevation.

Great result:

Screenshot[3]

The alternative is to just store the z-value as layers.

ogr2ogr -f DXF contour_layer.dxf SX99SW_line.shp -sql "SELECT PROP_VALUE AS Layer FROM SX99SW_line"

Layers work great:

Screenshot[2]

With the ogr2ogr DXF driver, if you have an input column called “Layer” then it will be used to group features as a layer in DXF. We use a SQL query to achive this. Prop_Value is the height field in my input data.

And putting them all together:

ogr2ogr -f DXF contour_zfield_layer.dxf SX99SW_line.shp -zfield PROP_VALUE -sql "SELECT PROP_VALUE AS Layer FROM SX99SW_line"

Result not as expected, flat output:

Screenshot[4]

Adding our SQL select statement removes our zfield attribute as such ogr2ogr cannot access it. Lets resolve this:

ogr2ogr -f DXF contour_zfield_2_layer.dxf SX99SW_line.shp -zfield PROP_VALUE -sql "SELECT PROP_VALUE AS Layer, * FROM SX99SW_line"

Excellent:

Screenshot[5]

Layers and height.

GIS to CAD using ogr2ogr – Part 2 – GML to DXF with OS MasterMap
GIS to CAD using ogr2ogr – Part 3 – Point Annotation to Text in CAD

Multi Ring Buffer – Buffer the Buffer or Incrementally Increasing Distance?

Does it matter, and who cares?

Multi-ring buffers can be useful for simple distance calculations as seen in:
X Percent of the Population of Scotland Lives Within Y Miles of Glasgow
And:
X Percent of the Population of Scotland Lives Within Y Miles of Edinburgh

For these I simply created multiple buffers using the QGIS buffer tool. This works for small samples, but was quite frustrating. I had initially hoped to do the whole analysis in SQLite, which worked pretty well initally, but struggled on the larger buffers. It took too long to run the queries, and did not allow for visualisation. I think using PostGIS would however be pretty feasible.

But creating a multi-ring buffer plugin for QGIS also seemed like a good learning experience. Which got me thinking, does it matter if you create increasingly large buffers around the original feature, or if you buffered the resulting buffer sequentially. My hypothesis was that there would be pretty significant differences due to the rounding of corners.

I asked on StackExchange but the conversation did not really take off:
http://gis.stackexchange.com/questions/140413/multi-ring-buffer-methodology

My question is not about the overlapping-ness of the buffers, since I think multi-ring buffers should be “doughnuts” anyway. But rather if smoothing will occur. The only answer was to try it myself.

Buffer styles:
Buffer the resulting buffer sequentially: Sequential
Buffer the original feature with increasing buffer distance: Central
[table caption=”Speed – In seconds”]
Features, Rings,Central, Sequential
1, 5, 0.59, 0.56
55, 5, 8.06, 6.38
1, 200, 60.83, 31.76
3, 200, 62.89, 40.89
55, 200, 628.38, 586.67
1, 2000, 203.84, 67.00
[/table]

No matter how you do it the sequential style is quicker, but that may be down to my code.

Rendering

Interestingly, although understandably, the sequential style results in a lot more vertices in the outer rings. For comparison, for a 500 ring buffer the outermost ring had the following vertice counts:
[table]
Style, Vertices
Central,488
Sequential,30918
[/table]

We can see this with editing turned on.
Central:
Central_editing
Sequential:
Sequential_editing

We can also see a smoother profile in the sequential buffer. However the difference is not major, and hard to discern with the naked eye.

So we have at most about around a 10m discrepancy, with 500 50m rings, so around 25000m of distance from the original feature.
Screenshot[34]
This impacts rendering time dramatically, an example with our 500 rings:

Central:

Sequential:

So quicker to create but slower to draw. So which one is better, quicker calculation, or quicker rendering? Or should we not do 200+ ring buffers?

Hard to say. In version 0.2 of the Multi Ring Buffer Plugin. There is an option for either in the advanced tab.

Plugin: https://plugins.qgis.org/plugins/Multi_Ring_Buffer/
Please report any issues through GitHub: https://github.com/HeikkiVesanto/QGIS_Multi_Ring_Buffer/issues