By David Crowther
With the release of QGIS version 3.0.0 planned in February 2018, I took the plunge and downloaded a pre-release (v2.99.0) to see what new and exciting tools this Open Source desktop GIS has to offer – and I wasn’t disappointed!
Having played with the pre-release for a few days now, I am going to use this blog to outline my top 10 favourite new/improved tools which will be available when QGIS 3.0.0 finally ships. These are in no particular order but I am sure you will have some of your own favourites.
1 – CAD Drawing Tools
QGIS has always offered a suite of effective tools for digitising, particularly with the use of the CAD tools plugin. However, QGIS now comes with a new toolbar which provides options for in built CAD digitising, including the easy creation of rectangles and circles using one, two or three point clicks.
2 – Enhanced Node Tools
Continuing the data editing theme, in QGIS 3.0.0 the Node tool has been enhanced to perform a number of new tasks, such as extending lines, moving multiple nodes and adding new nodes in a more intuitive manner.
3 – Updated Processing ToolBox
In QGIS 3.0.0 the Processing Toolbox has been given a makeover, but not only does it look smarter it also has many more tools to choose from.
4 – Search and Locate Box
Forgotten where the Buffer tool is? Well if you have used QGIS for a while you will have likely encountered this problem as its always moving!… the answer is now here in the form of the LOCATE tool which allows you to search for anything in QGIS, from a missing tool (Buffer) to a layer that you have mislaid !
5 – Data Defined Parameters
In QGIS 3.0.0 many of the GeoProcessing tools, such as Buffering, allow you to specify Data Defined Parameters, for example if you have a field which denotes a value (e.g. Size) you can use an In Case and Else statement to create buffers at varying distances. In this example where the CCTV size is greater than 4, we will create a 50m buffer, but for all other CCTV cameras we will create a 20m buffer.
6 – Auto Update Dates for Modified Data
I can’t count the number of times that I have shown the edit tools during a training course and users have said, yes but how can we track when features have been edited? Well now those concerns can be set aside by using a Default Value which is activated on Data Update.
7 – CRS now updated to show Geographic Bounds
Ever wanted to know what the geographic coverage is for a specific Coordinate Reference System (CRS). Well wonder no more, as QGIS has now been updated to provide a geographic overview for all CRS?
8 – Multiple Map Views!
One map window is never enough! In QGIS 3 why not have as many as you like using the New Map View tool.
9 – GeoPackage Support and the Data Source Manager
Are you using an Open Source GIS but still using proprietary GIS files (SHP or TAB)? Well, why not go fully Open Source and start to store your spatial data as GeoPackage files, or within a GeoPackage Database? QGIS 3.0.0 starts to really promote this Open Source file format with the new Data Source Manager Toolbar.
10 – 3D Map View
And finally the big one!,… I have written another blog on generating 3D Maps using the Qgis2threeJS plugin: https://www.cadlinecommunity.co.uk/hc/en-us/articles/115001724629-Creating-3D-Maps-in-QGIS
But in QGIS 3.0.0 get ready for 3D Mapping to be embbeded within the user interface using the New 3D Map View tool. Using 3D spatial data, such as 3D MultiPatch Geometry, or 2D data with a height field, you can now create high impact 3D maps with spatial data extruded and draped over your chosen terrain. Watch out for a full blog on this functionality in the coming weeks!
Thanks in part for my BLOG goes to some other QGIS bloggers who pointed me in the direction of some of these great new features;
- Nyall Dawsons 24 days of QGIS blog – https://north-road.com/2017/12/24/24-days-of-qgis-3-0-features/
- Dragons8MyCat blog – https://dragons8mycat.com/2018/01/25/how-to-use-the-new-qgis-3d-tool/