Making simple map images with qGIS

Occasionally you just need a quick map, and it’s not going to be used for interaction or even necessarily display on the internet (say a Keynote/PowerPoint presentation, for example). We could build it as a Google map, get a gigantic computer monitor and fullscreen the window and take a screenshot, and have it look like every other web map out there – or we can reach into the toolbox of those who are NOT neogeographers and borrow a few things.

For me this tool is still qGIS (for Mac check out KyngChaos for binary builds), though there are alternatives like GRASS GIS and TileMill, to name only a couple. (TileMill is actually designed to create tiles similar to how Google Maps / OpenStreetMap do it, but you can shoehorn it to do “print” maps)

Of course, it bears repeating that the results from doing this are not survey quality. Don’t use my recommendations / guidance to determine where not to dig to avoid buried lines, where to build a road, or anything else. But zoomed back a ways where the dot on the map is easily the size of a 40,000 population town, it’s close enough.

Since this is a process with no code, I’m switching format a bit and creating a screencast, which you can see here as a QuickTime file.

Mentioned files you may want for your own maps:

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