Monthly Archives: February 2014

Styling with QGIS

This post is written in response to a question from a QGIS beginner (+Jamal Almuallem) about how I styled some freedata (, he was looking for a tutorial but I didn’t know of one so said I would blog about it.  The picture below is the output and as you can see I’ve applied a style to make some of the features appear as if they are in 3D.



The start of this process is to get some data, I used Ordnance Survey Open Data, Vector Map District, load into QGIS, select the layer and either double-click or right click and select ‘properties’, go to ‘Styles’.  The Settlement layer are all polygons but whether it is line work, points or polygons, the process is the same.

The Layer Properties dialog looks like this:



In the ‘Symbol layers’ section there will be a ‘simple fill’ representing the default colour applied to the layer on loading. You can change this to whatever you like.  The trick to making the buildings look 3D is to add another fill – select the ‘Fill’ at the top of the tree and use the + button to add another fill.  Set the colour, type of fill and an offset see the dialog below for extra options when one of the fills on the tree is chosen:



You can see on the right of the dialog that I have offset the lower fill by 0.5 on both axis. This has the effect of moving the lower fill down and to the left of the top fill.  As a rule I always have the lower fill a darker shade than the top as this imitates shadow.

Click OK and you will see the effect on the map – play around until you find something that you like.  You can save this style to a file for reusing in other projects by using the ‘Save Style’ button.