An easy way to publish your map online

web publishing
There are several ways you can publish or share your maps, created in QGIS, online. One very easy way is to use the Gisquick publishing platform. It basically requires two steps only; create a QGIS project, and upload it. tags: online map, data sharing, open source

Paulo van Breugel


July 15, 2020

For the QGIS users, there are different ways to publish maps online. In this post I want to highlight the option to publish your geospatial data using the Gisquick open source platform. The motto on their website is “Let’s share GIS much quicker’. And they make it very easy indeed.

As they explain on their website, Gisquick consists of QGIS plugin, Django based server application, QGIS-server, and web/mobile clients. For those who want to set up their own server, the different Gisquick server components can be easily deployed in Docker containers.

For those not so much into setting up servers or deploying docker containers, you can share data through their public instance. To do so, you’ll first need to create an account. The account is free, which is great. Note, this is a demo site. So for anything beyond testing the toolset, I would first contact the developers.

The GISQuick plugin

The process of data publishing with Gisquick is quite easy. Obviously, you first have to install the plugin. To do so, open the plugin window (Plugin > Manage and install plugins), search for the Gisquick plugin and install it. After installation, you’ll find a new Web > Gisquick menu and a new button on the toolbar.

Figure 1: The new Gisquick menu item in the Web menu (1) and on the toolbar (2)

The next step is to create and set up your projects with QGIS. For those already using QGIS, no further explanation will be required I assume. If you are new to QGIS, check out the QGIS documentation, for example, to learn more about QGIS projects. Don’t forget to fill in the layer properties for the QGIS server. This is the layer information that will be shown in the Gisquick map.

Figure 2: Layer metadata to be shown by the server

Publishing your maps

After setting up your QGIS project, you can use the GISQuick plugin to export the project as a zip file, ready to upload to the server on the project management page. After upload, you can open the mapviewer (click on the map icon), modify existing projects, or upload new projects (Figure 3).

Figure 3: The Gisquick project management page.

To modify an existing project, click on the project name. This will open a settings page, where you can make your changes. For example, on the page shown in Figure Figure 4, you can define new, or modify existing Topic pages (alternative project views with different combinations of layers).

Figure 4: Editing the project settings, like adding, deleting or modifying topics.

There is also the option to directly publish from QGIS, using the Q publish button in the menu (Figure 3). To be able to do so, you’ll need a complementary Gisquick plugin, which you can download from the same page. With this plugin you connect directly to the server from QGIS. Once connected, you can see and upload updated files directly.

Figure 5: Updating modified files using the direct QGIS connection. Files with their name in orange are changed. With the ‘upload files’ button these will be updated on the server.

An example

Last school year, our 2nd year students of Geo Media and Design carried out fieldwork to map soil properties of a 16 hectare site in the municipality of Meierijstad in the south of the Netherlands. The site is being developed as forest garden, and these soil measurements will serve as a baseline for the monitoring of changes in the soil properties. If you can read Dutch, see this website for more information about this initiative.

The students spend a day in the field taking soil samples. From these samples, they measured the pH, organic matter content, and the percentage of loam in the soil. Next, they tested different spatial interpolation methods available in the processing toolbox of QGIS to characterize patterns in these soil properties across the site.

Of course, there is not much use in doing all this work without sharing the results. So I though to give the QGIS Gisquick plugin a try. I already had put together the data in a QGIS project, so all I had to do was to export the data and upload it to the server. You can see the result here.

Figure 6: Screenshot of the webapp with maps of soil properties of Hardekamp location of the Schijndel Forest Garden project.

Most work is in setting up the QGIS project, but that is something I would have done anyway. Publishing the results to the server was really a breeze, and it not only makes available the maps, but also gives users access to the data in the attribute tables of the vector layers. It would have been nice if the user would be able to query the raster values as well. And when printing out a map (only available if you are logged in), the baselayer is not included. But hé, there should always be left something to wish for :-).