No, you didn’t misread that, you can now export your QGIS 2.5D maps straight to a web map thanks to the genius(es) Tom Chadwin & Luca Casagrande who developed the QGIS2Web plugin. Before I run away with myself and start talking 2.5D and cool effects, I think it’s best I clarify a few things.
Firstly, I realise that I told a bit of a fib when I wrote the xyHt article on web mapping where I said that there wasn’t an easier way to build a web map. There is, it is QGIS2Web, the only thing you need is your own website and QGIS. You simply make your map and hit the plugin button….voila! Not only a preview of the web map but also options for measure, popups, scalebar and even basemaps – It is truly a thing of beauty. The only technical knowledge you need is how to copy and paste your folder onto your web host.
It sounds too good to be true, which is why I feel guilty for ignoring it for so long….Having been beaten by the geospatial industry for well over a decade, I naturally assumed it was some scam whereby I would have to buy into something or pay for a subscription but no, this is the real deal. This is what ArcGIS online should have been, you front the cost (or not – have another look at Github pages *ahem*) for your website and the rest is free. You can host as many maps as you want with whatever style and data….of course, with a little know how and you can even link them to other sources using hyperlinks in your fields.
So, let’s clarify what 2.5D is
2D is the everyday “flat” maps which you would generate in QGIS/ArcGIS/MapInfo/CadCorp (add your own here) although there is relation of how features lie in comparison to others, there is no depth. Buildings and trees appear as “top-down” flat objects.
In true Dragons8mycat style, the best way to describe this is using a 2D image of Super Mario Bros:
2.5D Adds depth, though it is not full 3D, it cannot be explored like Google Earth, rather it is an illusion of depth.
This can be seen in the image below of Mario in 2.5D
3D provides true depth and the ability to explore the depth, this would be the Google Earth buildings or the CityEngine webscenes. Unlike a fixed view of the 3D features, they allow full movement around the real-world feature. Here is Super Mario once again to show what 3D is:
Is this the right time to discuss 4D?….No?….Briefly then – 4D is the medium of time, if we were to add a timeslider to the 3D Super Mario above, and we could move around not only the features but also the time, then it would be 4D (temporal).
Out of interest I have had many discussions over what 3.5D is and so far the general consensus is that it would be a 2.5D map with temporal capability, so think of a 2.5D map which showed change over time….could this (below) be 3.5D?
Back to the future (qgis2web)
The QGIS2Web plugin provides the ability to create 2.5D features on a web map, there is the option to adjust & change colour and you can add functionality. What really surprised me was how easy it was.
Of course there are some minor things which I found as I worked through but I am sure that these will be fixed before this post goes live as the developers of this plugin are right on the ball.
Tip 1 – Use geojson files.
Although the Plugin uses any QGIS data (WYSIWYG) I found the plugin quicker and gave a more accurate representation with geojson files
Tip 2 – Forget your shadows
I was told that the plugin DOES honour the shadow effects but I found in my experience that the shapeburst fills and shadow effects didn’t work and in some cases caused the map to hang when switched on
Tip 3 – You need to remove the OSM maps in the code.
There are a plethora of basmaps available, I’m not going to knock it, BUT there is no option to turn them all off or to have them off by default. If you want to remove them, find the layers.js file and then remove the baselayers reference. var layersList = [baselayers,lyr_LandParcelsSedbergh,lyr_Trees]; should be changed to var layersList = [lyr_LandParcelsSedbergh,lyr_Trees];
[iframe src=”http://dragons8mycat.net/QGIS2WEB/sedbergh2D/” width=”600″ height=”400″ scrolling=”yes” ]
Above is the map I made of Sedbergh, as you can see, the OSM baselayer is still on as I keep going through phases of liking it and then hating it.
I am sure you will agree that, once the shadowing and shapeburst fills work, it will be amazing.
If you need any further information or would like some training, please feel free to contact me.