QGIS Top Features 2015


With the release of the first long term release (2.8 LTR), and two other stable versions (2.10 and 2.12), 2015 was a great (and busy) year for the QGIS community, with lots of improvements and new features landing on QGIS source code.

As a balance, I have asked users to choose wich were their favorite new features during 2015 (from the visual changelogs list). As a result I got the following Top 5 features list.

5 – Python console improvements (2.8)

Since QGIS 2.8, we can drag and drop python scripts into QGIS window and they will be executed automatically. There is also a new a toolbar icon in the plugins toolbar and a shortcut ( Ctrl-Alt-P) for quick access to the python console.

4 – Processing new algorithms (2.8)

Also in QGIS 2.8, there were introduced some new algorithms to the processing framework. If you are into spatial analysis this must have done your day (or year).

  • Regular points algorithm
  • Symmetrical difference algorithm
  • Vector split algorithm
  • Vector grid algorithm
  • Hypsometric curves calculation algorithm
  • Split lines with lines
  • Refactor fields attributes manipulation algorithm

3 – Show rule-based renderer’s legend as a tree (2.8)

There were introduced a few nice improvements to QGIS legend. Version 2.8 brought us a tree presentation for the rule-based renderer. Better still, each node in the tree can be toggled on/off individually providing for great flexibility in which sublayers get rendered in your map.

2 – Advanced digitizing tools (2.8)

If you ever wished you could digitize lines exactly parallel or at right angles, lock lines to specific angles and so on in QGIS? Since QGIS 2.8 you can! The advanced digitizing tools are a port of the CADinput plugin and adds a new panel to QGIS. The panel becomes active when capturing new geometries or geometry parts.


1 – Rule-based labeling (2.12)

This was a very awaited feature (at least by me), and it was voted by the majority of users. Since 2.12, you can style features labels using rules. This gives us even more control over placement and styling of labels. Just like the rule based cartographic rendering, label rules can be nested to allow for extremely flexible styling options. For example, you can render labels differently based on the size of the feature they will be rendered into (as illustrated in the screenshot).


There were other new features that also made the delight of many users. For example, the Improved/consistent projection selection (2.8), PostGIS provider improvements (2.12), Geometry Checker and Geometry Snapper plugins (2.12), and Multiple styles per layer (2.8).

Don’t agree with this list? You can still cast your votes. You can also check the complete results in here.

Obviously, this list means nothing at all. I was a mere exercise as with such a diverse QGIS crowd it would be impossible to build a list that would fit us all. Besides, there were many great enhancements, introduced during 2015, that might have fallen under the radar for most users. Check the visual changelogs for a full list of new features.

On my behalf, to all developers, sponsors and general QGIS contributors,


I wish you a fantastic (and productive) 2016.


13 thoughts on “QGIS Top Features 2015

  1. Thank you very much for having conducted the survey and presenting the results. I hope to see at some point indications what people would like to have in the future 🙂

    My impression is that in the current survey extensive QGIS users have responded, less casual ones. What do you think?


    1. I don’t have stats about what kinds of people toke the survey. But I agree with you that those who answered were probably regular users and possibly QGIS project fans. There were not many people answering to the Wishes for 2016 question, and from the few that answered I could not get a general common idea that I could use. But I can send you the results if you wish.


  2. That’s a great suggestion, I would happily like to get those results. Thanks.
    QGIS is great also for marketing people who do geo-analysis/visualization and sometimes I wish the already great QGIS could take a few of those use cases more into consideration 🙂


    1. Here you go: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1p9mt2yp8ngjd2e/QGIS%20Top%202015%20New%20Features-report.xlsx?dl=0

      That’s one thing about open source, If you really want some new feature you need to somehow be proactive about it. If you check the visual changelogs, you will see that new features arrive QGIS in two distinct flavors: 1 – Someone, with the right programming skills and commit rights to the QGIS code, had interest in that particular feature and decided to spend some time on it and altruistically shared the result; 2 – Someone (normally a institution or enterprise), with no necessary skills, needed that particular feature for his workflow, and sponsored (hired) someone to add that new feature to QGIS and, again, altruistically shared the result.

      So new feature arrive QGIS by the hands of those that support it, either with time or money, and therefore reflect the interest and needs of those people. The other “non-supporting” users can simply do two things: Wait that someone one step forward and fill their needs (it can take some time…) or do something about it (give time/skill or money).


    1. Boa tarde não sei se é possível esclarecer a minha dúvida mas eu tenho o QGIS 2.10 e não consigo encontrar na toolbox a ferramenta “Split lines with lines”, é necessário instalar alguma ferramenta adicional? Queria dividir as linhas da minha camada quando estas se cruzam com outras linhas e não consigo efectuar este processo.


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