Category Archives: small things

Replicating a media-hyped color by numbers Etsy map in 10 minutes

Thats beautiful… how long it took?

Well, that looks like QGIS’ random colors applied to

So I fired up QGIS, extracted the region from, realised those rivers came without a corresponding basin, extracted the region from, set the map background to black, set the rivers to render in white, set the rivers’ line width to correspond to their UP_CELLS attribute, put the basins on top, colored them randomly by BASIN_ID, set the layer rendering mode to Darken and that was it.

I should open an Etsy store.

Yes, I realise that replicating things is easier than creating them. But seriously, this is just a map of features colored by category and all the credit should go to


But Hannes, that original has some gradients!

Ok, then set the rivers not to white but a grey and the basin layer rendering mode to Overlay instead of Darken.

This product incorporates data from the HydroSHEDS database which is © World Wildlife Fund, Inc. (2006-2013) and has been used herein under license. WWF has not evaluated the data as altered and incorporated within, and therefore gives no warranty regarding its accuracy, completeness, currency or suitability for any particular purpose. Portions of the HydroSHEDS database incorporate data which are the intellectual property rights of © USGS (2006-2008), NASA (2000-2005), ESRI (1992-1998), CIAT (2004-2006), UNEP-WCMC (1993), WWF (2004), Commonwealth of Australia (2007), and Her Royal Majesty and the British Crown and are used under license. The HydroSHEDS database and more information are available at

Update: Someone asked me for more details so I made a video. Because I did not filter the data to a smaller region I did not use a categorical style in this example (300,000 categories QGIS no likey) but simply a random assignment.

Data-defined images in QGIS Atlas

Say you want to display a feature specific image on each page of a QGIS Atlas.

In my example I have a layer with two features:

  "type": "FeatureCollection",
  "features": [
      "type": "Feature",
      "properties": {
        "image_path": "/tmp/1.jpeg"
      "geometry": {
        "type": "Polygon",
        "coordinates": [[[9,53],[11,53],[11,54],[9,54],[9,53]]]
      "type": "Feature",
      "properties": {
        "image_path": "/tmp/2.jpeg"
      "geometry": {
        "type": "Polygon",
        "coordinates": [[[13,52],[14,52],[14,53],[13,53],[13,52]]]

And I also have two JPEG images, named “1.jpeg” and “2.jpeg” are in my /tmp/ directory, just as the “image_path” attribute values suggest.

The goal is to have a map for each feature and its image displayed on the same page.

Create a new print layout, enable Atlas, add a map (controlled by Atlas, using the layer) and also an image.

For the “image source” enable the data-defined override and use attribute(@atlas_feature, 'image_path') as expression.

That’s it, now QGIS will try to load the image referenced in the feature’s “image_path” value as source for the image on the Atlas page. Yay kittens!

Building QGIS with debugging symbols

As I keep searching the web for way too long again and again, I hope this post will be #1 next I forget how to build QGIS with debugging symbols.

Add CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug to the cmake invocation.


cmake -G "Unix Makefiles" ../ \

For a not as safe but more performant compilation, you can use RelWithDebInfo. I just found out today but will use that in the future rather than the full-blown Debug. See for some background.

On Archlinux, also add options=(debug !strip) in your PKGBUILD to have them not stripped away later.

Writing one WKT file per feature in QGIS

Someone in #qgis just asked about this so here is a minimal pyqgis (for QGIS 3) example how you can write a separate WKT file for each feature of the currently selected layer. Careful with too many features, filesystems do not like ten thousands of files in the same directory. I am writing them to /tmp/ with $fid.wkt as filename, adjust the path to your liking.

layer = iface.activeLayer()
features = layer.getFeatures()

for feature in features:
  geometry = feature.geometry()
  wkt = geometry.asWkt()
  fid = feature.attribute("fid")
  filename = "/tmp/{n}.wkt".format(n=fid)
  with open(filename, "w") as output:

Specifying the read/open driver/format with GDAL/OGR

For the commandline utilities you can’t. One possible workaround is using and to blacklist drivers until the one you want is its first choice. A feature request exists at but it seems that the option is not exposed as commandline option (yet?).

PS: If what you are trying to do is reading a .txt (or whatever) file as .csv and you get angry at the CSV driver only being selected if the file has a .csv extension, use CSV:yourfilename.txt

PPS: This post was motivated by not finding above information when searching the web. Hopefully this will rank high enough for *me* to find it next time. ;)

More structural detail in hillshading with this one weird trick

I wanted to have more structural detail in my QGIS live hillshading so I blended a duplicate layer with the sun angle set to directly overhead (90°) and the blending mode as darken.

It seems to make steep structures more prominent.

z/x/y.ext tiles to mbtiles/gpkg

I just had some trouble converting a set of tiles I scraped into a nice package. I tried both mb-util and Both seemed to work but QGIS did not display anything. The “solution” was to convert the tiles from 512×512 pixels to 256×256. WTF? also crashed at joining its intermediate files if used in Python 3.6. It needs “-tileorigin ul” for OSM-like tile names.

Initial setup failed. Cannot continue. Error: Couldn’t run mojosetup

If you are trying to install a game downloaded from but you get something like

$ ./
Verifying archive integrity… All good.
Uncompressing Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun ( 100%
Collecting info for this system…
Operating system: linux
CPU Arch: x86_64
trying mojosetup in bin/linux/x86_64

Initial setup failed. Cannot continue.

Error: Couldn’t run mojosetup

then your file is corrupted or incomplete. You will have to re-download it. Ignore the “bin/linux/x86_64” path, that references something inside the installer, not something on your system.

Petition GOG to add checksums to their download pages or better yet, have reasonable download options that support resuming and HTTPS and what not…

e-foto (free GNU/GPL educational digital photogrammetric workstation) on Archlinux

I wrote this a year ago and meant to write more. Turns out I did not but it still works. You might need to figure out dependencies yourself. Here you go:

e-foto is a free GNU/GPL educational digital photogrammetric workstation in active development.

svn checkout e-foto-code
cd e-foto-code/c
tar xfv shapelib-1.3.0.tar.gz
mv shapelib-1.3.0 shapelib
cd ..
mkdir build
cd build
qmake-qt4 ../ 

Ready to run in


A simple and hacky column chart in HTML & CSS

This is a draft from two years ago, I just thought I would publish it in case it is useful for anyone. I don’t remember anything about it, not even what it was for. Feel free to use it in any way you like.

It looks like this:


#histogramcontainer {
height: 20%;
width: 10%;
position:relative; /* To make the children's percentages relative */
/* setting position="absolute" bottom="0" on the histodivs makes them all overlay each other horizontally */
/* */
-moz-transform:rotate(180deg);-webkit-transform:rotate(180deg); -ms-transform:rotate(180deg);
div.histogrambar {
div#histogrambar_a {height: 20%; margin-left: 1%;}
div#histogrambar_b {height: 10%; margin-left: 1%;}
div#histogrambar_c {height: 40%; margin-left: 1%;}
div#histogrambar_d {height: 100%; margin-left: 1%;}
div#histogrambar_e {height: 30%;}
<div id="histogramcontainer">
<div class="histogrambar" id="histogrambar_e"></div>
<div class="histogrambar" id="histogrambar_d"></div>
<div class="histogrambar" id="histogrambar_c"></div>
<div class="histogrambar" id="histogrambar_b"></div>
<div class="histogrambar" id="histogrambar_a"></div>