Basemap is often the first layer added at the start of a GIS project. Basemaps are often presented through different webservices: TMS, WMS, WMTS, ESRI ArcGIS Services or simply as XYZ tiles.
Desktop GIS have different tools for adding basemaps.
QGIS, for example, has its own providers and 3rd-party plugins to access those services. WMS and WMTS protocols are implemented in the core. It is possible to access XYZ tiles through WMS Driver by writing a special XML file understandable by GDAL. This is not convenient, as you need to remember all these addresses and takes time to create those files.
Existing plugins offer some of the needed functionality, but after studying, we felt that there is a niche for a new plugin which will combine the best features. Welcome QuickMapServices – a plugin that makes work with web-based basemaps easy.
- Includes continuously updated list of services that you can add to the project in one click (as OpenLayers Plugin, but the latter uses webkit approach to add tiles which is not optimal).
- Doesn’t have problems with scaling labels on non-standard zoom levels (unlike Tile Map Scale Plugin, which uses universal GDAL driver that leads to problems with visualization and printing on non-standard zoom levels in QGIS).
- Uses tile access implementation with aliasing on non-standard zoom level (like TileLayer Plugin, but this plugin can’t add basemaps in one click).
- Is easily extendable by adding simple ini files.
We didn’t limit ourselves by one type of service: you can add almost all kinds of basemaps XYZ tiles, TMS, WMS, WMTS, ESRI ArcGIS Services. Using this extention with our NextGIS QGIS build that uses GDAL 2.0 you can easily add dynamic ArcGIS Server services, such as Rosreestr maps or layers from Digital Atlas of Moscow.
We’ve just started and implemented only basic functionality. We plan to extend the list of services that can be plugged via QuickMapServices and add new functionality: better work with scales, more data sources, support for native user forms for adding services on the map etc.
We will be grateful for feedback, links to services that can be openly used, etc. Pull-requests are welcome at Github.
Detailed manual for QuickMapServices is also available.