Opening up to QGIS: QML launched for OS OpenData

Charley from our CartoDesign team was in Stirling yesterday to officially launch our new QGIS stylesheets (QML) for OS OpenData products. The inaugural Scottish QGIS User Group Meeting, organised by thinkWhere and the UK QGIS User Group, came at a great time for us to announce our latest cartographic developments.


QGIS is an Open-Source Geographical Information System (GIS) package that has rapidly become very popular. With an ever-increasing QGIS audience for our products, we have decided to add QML to our standard cartographic stylesheet offerings, starting with our OS OpenData products.

Stylesheets offer an enhanced experience of our products to our users, making them increasingly accessible and even easier to understand and appreciate.

All things open

We have released open-source code for open data, for use in open-source software, supplied through an open platform.

As well as offering a transparent approach to supplying stylesheets, the use of GitHub also provides us with a great platform from which to handle our version control.

GitHub is the largest code host in the world and many of our customers already use it. As we move forward and update or edit the stylesheets, all versions will be available to access as GitHub takes a snapshot every time you make changes. The stylesheets will also continue to be available from our products’ webpages on the Ordnance Survey website; these webpages are also being improved to make everything easier to find and use. The CartoDesign webpage containing information about the cartographic stylesheets has also been updated.

For launch, we have created styles for OS Terrain 50 contours, Boundary-Line, OS VectorMap District, Meridian 2 and Strategi. The latter three are contextual map products and for these we have applied our two new corporate map styles; Full Colour style for a saturated map and Backdrop style for a muted map ideal for overlaying additional data. QGIS natively supports lots of data formats and we have decided to release QML stylesheets for all ESRI Shapefile and GML datasets.


 Make the maps you want

These stylesheets allow you to make the map that you want. They will ‘plug and play’ but equally you are free to customise the styles to suit your preferences and the ability to combine datasets means you can quickly create beautiful maps.

More to come

This is just the start as we are dedicated to releasing more stylesheets in the coming months that will make our portfolio of vector products as easy to use as possible.

We already supply Styled Layer Descriptors (SLD) and ESRI Layerfiles for lots of our products and we will soon be bringing these to GitHub too. We aim to make our styles accessible to all so we are also looking at other possibilities including colour charts.

We have endeavoured to make our stylesheets as easy-to-use as possible. If you use the stylesheets we would greatly appreciate your feedback and would love to see your maps.

Email us at CartoDesign@ordnancesurvey.co.uk

Our official stylesheet releases can be found on the Ordnance Survey GitHub page.

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2 Responses

  1. Pingback : GitHub for cartographers | cartoblography

  2. Pingback : What are all these QGIS file types? Why do I need them | Nathan Woodrow

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