I've been working on a little side-project recently that has arisen from a combination of my work, my origins and my personal interests. Part of my work involves spatial data and mapping in a GIS environment, I'm originally from the Highlands of Scotland and I like to go on holiday to the west Highlands and the islands of Scotland. I also like bad weather. Add to this open source tools (QGIS) and open data (OS VectorMap District) and a remote, rugged peninsula (Knoydart) and you get the following map, which is definitely a work in progress. This blog post explains a little bit more about the development of the map and the different data sources, methods and ideas behind it.
|This is the first proper version, but still a rough draft.|
The above map is the result of a good few hours work playing around with putting data together in QGIS (and a bit in ArcGIS) - OS tiles NG and NM in case you're asking - merging, dissolving and clipping and whatever else I needed to do to get rid of strange artifacts and multipoint features. I also created a hillshade layer based on the sun position at 12noon on the 12th of April. This means that the mountains of Knoydart are illuminated from the south and that you can really get a sense of what the terrain is like.
|A previous version - with greener land|
I'm still trying to decide on the look and feel of the final map but here's a few of the things I've done so far...
- I've used inverted shapeburst fills in QGIS to create the blue blur effect around the shoreline. This was a little complicated because I had to merge the foreshore and land layer from the OS data - otherwise some of the blur gets lost behind the foreshore polygon layer.
- I've used Open Sans Condensed text for the labels (with some buffering in white) and different colours for different features. I've used a red font for the spot height layer only.
- The other font I've used is Abel - for the title, description and scale bar.
- For other features I started off symbolising using the Ordnance Survey QGIS stylesheets and then modified them to suit my own tastes - they are really useful.
- I created larger curved labels for certain features (e.g. 'Sound of Sleat') by following the excellent video tutorial of Klas Karlsson.
- I've exported it at 600dpi and used an A3 size in the Print Composer of QGIS so the resulting full resolution PNG is pretty big - about 30MB.
- I also added a normal shapeburst fill to the freshwater lochs - as in the image below.
|The buffering on the Loch label needs work|
Overall, I'm getting closer to something I'm happy with. I like the green colour better in some ways but this gives a slightly misleading impression of Knoydart so I will probably work towards something more like the actual terrain. If you've no idea where this place is, take a look at this article and video, or this trailrunning video.
That's all for now. A somewhat niche interest perhaps but makes a change from me mapping cities, deprivation and commuting and migration flows!
You can find a much higher resolution version of the first image here.