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Making Professional Maps with QGIS and Inkscape

category: courses

If you’ve ever wanted to break away from default cartography imposed by GIS programs and become more creative with you maps, this calss is for you! The course is currently available for a promotional price of $10! Access the course through the courses page, or visit https://opensourceoptions.teachable.com.

Cartography with QGIS and Inkscape

This course provides multiple hours of instruction on how to format and export data and images from QGIS into Inkscape where map symbology and layouts can be customized. Inkscape is a free, open-source graphic design program that greatly improves the ability to customize cartography. An introduction and course preview will be available on YouTube starting May 28, 2018. Several of the initial course videos will also be released on a YouTube playlist, which can be accessed through the video below.

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Course Description

You will develop three maps in the course that will take you through the basics of exporting data from QGIS, importing data to Inkscape, creating custom symbology in Inkscape, and importing charts to Inkscape from data analysis programs (we use LibreOffice Calc and RStudio). The course provides instructions for installing all required software and step by step instructions for writing code and building charts. Additionally, those who register for the course will have access to all the data files (including finished maps, spreadsheets, and code) used to create the maps.

First, we will create a simple map of the Temple Fork watershed to learn the basics of working with geographic data in Inkscape. This simple example will teach the basics of data export from QGIS, data import to Inkscape, and basic, yet elegant, data symbology with transparency and drop shadows.

Simple watershed map.

Second, we will build upon the first map by adding custom symbols for stream lines in the legend. We’ll also use QGIS and LibreOffice Calc to create a chart showing the length of each stream order in the watershed. This chart will be imported to Inkscape where we will symbolize it to match the color scheme of the map. We’ll also build a continuous color gradient to symbolize elevations in lieu of the QGIS discrete raster symbology.

Watershed map with custom symbology and a chart imported from LibreOffice Calc.

Third, we’ll use data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) to create a world map showing elevation, water depth, and ice depth. Custom color ramps and continuous gradients will be created to symbolize each layer. A chart of world elevation is created using RStudio and imported and symbolized in Inkscape.

Map of world elevation, water depth, and ice depth with chart imported from RStudio.

Overall, this course provides and introduction to creating custom maps that incorporate both geographic and data analytics. The skills you learn will help you take your maps to the next level!