Digital Geography

26. October 2015

Short Announcement: my top 5 features of QGIS 2.12

QGIS is under steady development and with the new release QGIS 2.12 we get some interesting and also visible changes in QGIS. What are the best improvements? Check them out here and decide whether to update or not. First of all: Be aware! Despite the long list of new features, this QGIS version is not a LTS version (But 2.14.1 will be 😉). So if you rely on your everyday work/setup you should probably stick with QGIS 2.8 and try this version on your personal pc or inside a virtual machine.

Top 5 QGIS Improvements

Of course every user has his/her unique usage scenario for a software. When it comes to me I am using QGIS more or less always in a PyQGIS-way and with a look into web-map creation. So the following list is biased but here is my top 5:

Open scripts in external editor

I always hated to copy-paste my code between sublime and the in-line editor in the python interface. And somehow I often ended in messed up code due to tab-blank problems… Now you can open a py-script which was saved already in your standard editor and it will be reloaded in the python-script editor after editing in the editor of your choice. NICE!!! It will improve my rapid prototyping a lot!

Export thumbnails from style manager

As I started to develop qgis2leaf I was frustrated in getting the same symbols as I have used in QGIS. With the new option (which is “hidden” and needs a short-cut in the “Style” tab of the vector layer properties…) you can easily export symbols from QGIS as svg or png. So you can design your symbol in QGIS and use it in your webmapping application without asking yourself whether you need inkscape to create an identical looking svg to those used in QGIS 😉

save a symbol used in qgis

This will increase the styling with qgis2web and the possibilities to create exact online copies of what you’ve did offline.

Rule-based labeling

This might be a bit special for most of you, but with the newest release you will get improved labelling:

Rule based labels. Great!

Simple define your rules in an easy interface and apply different styles for different types of features driven by attributes… Easy as one-two-three!

rule editor

Digitising improvements

Ever wanted to digitize arcs in QGIS? With QGIS 2.12 you can do so! One limitation: You need to say goodbye to *.shp as this new feature called “digitize arcs/curves” is supported by only a few formats like GML, PostGIS or WFS. Unfortunately GeoJSON can’t work with it… But nevertheless it looks damn sexy:
curves in QGIS

digitizing curves in QGIS

What else?

Another great enhancement for the everyday user in QGIS is probably the “recent projects” overview in QGIS after you opened it. It provides an easy way to choose the desired project as it shows a snapshot of the project, the used name, projection and location on your hard drive.

Recent projects short-cut in QGIS


What is really annoying is the new custom certificate dialog that pops up at first usage. You can ignore it but for the unknowing users this looks quite disturbing…:

SSL and authentication “error”

Your turn?

What are your favourite features of this QGIS release? What do you want to have in QGIS 2.14.1, the next LTR? Just comment!
  • Niall Conway

    Thanks for sharing Riccardo. A useful heads up

  • Do you want to get rid of the master password dialogue when QGIS starts?

    If you you trust your co-workers and/or your system profile security (= encrypted home directory …) You can Auto-set the master password!

    Create the file .qgis2pythonstartup.py and enter the following:

    from qgis.core import *
    authmaster = QgsAuthManager.instance()
    authmaster.setMasterPassword(“password”, True)

    Replace “password” with your own master password. The code will run every time QGIS is started and set the master password, opening the autentication database.

  • Thank you Riccardo, nice work.
    Great tip Klas!

  • Lewis Villierme-Puputauki

    I like open my script in a choosen editor !

  • Carlos Rivas

    I kind of exploring the use of Features Effects