SA QGIS User Group meeting – 24 March 2017
Twelve people attended the second meeting of the South African QGIS User Group, held on 24 March 2017 and hosted by NGI in Mowbray.
The meeting was opened by Immo Blecher who gave a report back on the inaugural Gauteng meeting held in November 2016. He said that the consensus amongst the attendees at that meeting was that no subscription fees should be charged and that there should rather be voluntary contributions towards. This was in line with feelings at the first Cape Town meeting.
Tim Sutton spoke briefly about the QGIS organisation and how it is structured. He also said that country user groups were able to nominate a voting member who would be able to votes on issues concerning the QGIS project. Tim gave details of QGIS funding and how this used to support the project.
Technical talk: What’s coming in QGIS 3.0 (Tim Sutton)
Tim outlined the QGIS roadmap and explained the QGIS release schedule, with particular reference to QGIS 3.0. He then gave a demonstration of the exciting new features coming in QGIS 3.0, including:
- New features for Windows releases - Installation will now be via an MSI and no longer with a batch file. This will mean a tighter integration between QGIS and the Windows operating system.
- Configuration - There will be a unified configuration across operating systems with settings saved in a .qgis3 config directory. This will allow different profiles to be loaded and make multi-user management much easier in enterprise environments.
- Other new features that Tim demonstrated included the task manager, increased support for data defined properties, variables, multi-canvas support, the name change from presets to map themes, enhancements to the Layers panel, the search function in settings, raster editing API, the overhaul of the processing environment, and cartography tools.
Tim showed us the change log where new features are document. He also asked people to consider helping with testing of nightly builds, documentation, translating, etc.
Technical talk: QGIS and MySQL/MariaDB (Immo Blecher)
Immo showed how data from MySQL and MariaDB databases can be used in QGIS. He demonstrated this using both the command line and a Windows-based program HeidiSQL. He also demonstrated the use of the MySQL/MariaDB Importer plugin in QGIS. This plugin is used to import spatial data into the database, after which the table can be loaded into QGIS and the spatial data displayed as a map.
Technical talk: GeoPackage (Frank Sokolic)
Frank gave an overview of the history and development of the GeoPackage OGC standard and the advantages it has over traditional spatial formats like shapefiles. He then showed how QGIS provides support for GeoPackages. A GeoPackage file database was created and a number of vector layers were written to the package using QGIS. Raster layers were loaded into the database using the gdal_translate command line tool. Finally, the QGIS database manager was used to explore the raster and vector layers in the GeoPackage.
Demonstration: SA DEM webserver (Christian Christalis)
Christian gave a brief demonstration of a website serving SA DEM data that is being developed at Kartoza.
Demonstration: Plugins (Shaakir Deal)
Shaakir works at NGI and showed how to download SG diagrams, both via the SG website and with the QGIS plugin developed for this purpose. He also demonstrated a plugin he wrote that displays coordinates from SG diagrams on a north oriented canvas without users having to first convert the coordinates from survey format (by having to swap x- and y-coordinates and multipying them by -1). The name of the plugin is SouthToNorth Hartebeesthoek94 Converter.
Meeting closed at 15h30.