Hack to adjust map symbols location in QGIS

EN | PT

Now and then I get too many map symbols (points) in the same place, and I thought how nice it would be if we could drag n’ drop them around without messing with their geometries position, just like we do with labels. That thought gave me an idea for a cool hack.

Choose your point layer and start by creating two new fields called symbX and symbY (Type: Decimal number; Size: 20; Precision: 5). Now go the layer properties and in the Style tab edit your symbol. For each level of your symbol select “map units” as the offset units, and set the following expression in the offset data define properties option:


CASE WHEN symbX IS NOT NULL AND symbY IS NOT NULL THEN
    tostring($x - symbX) + ',' + tostring($y - symbY)
ELSE
    '0,0'
END

Screenshot from 2015-02-22 18:18:43

Be aware that, if your coordinates have negative values, you need to adapt the code. E.g., If you have negative values in X you should use “tostring(symbX -$x)” instead.

Now, temporarly  label your layer with a small convenient text (I used a centered ‘+’ (plus sign) with a white buffer) and set its coordinates to data defined using the symbX and symbY Fields.

Screenshot from 2015-02-22 22:42:07

From this point on, when you use the move label tool, not only the label position change but also the actual symbol! Pretty cool, isn’t it?

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Notice that the features geometries are not changed during the process. Also, remember that in this case you can also add leading lines to connect the symbols to the original position of the points.

Calculate polygon centroid’s coordinates

EN | PT

I had the need to add columns with the coordinates of polygons centroids. I came up with the following expressions to calculate X e Y, respectively:

xmin(centroid($geometry))
ymin(centroid($geometry))

The expression seems quite simple, but it toke me some time before I realize that, not having a x(geometry) and y(geometry) functions, I could use the xmin() and ymin() to get the coordinates of the polygons centroids. Since this wasn’t the first time I had to use this expressions, this post will work as a reminder for the future.

Labels leading lines with QGIS and Postgis

EN | PT

Recently I had the need to add labels to features with very close geometries, resulting in their collision.

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Using data-defined override for label’s position (I have used layer to labeled layer plugin to set this really fast) and the QGIS tool to move labels, it was quite easy to relocate them to better places. However, in same cases, it was difficult to understand to which geometry they belonged.

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I needed some kind of leading lines to connect, whenever necessary, label and feature. I knew another great plugin called “Easy Custom Labeling“, by Regis Haubourg, that did what I needed, but it would create a memory duplicate of the original layer, wish meant that any edition on the original layer wouldn’t be updated in the labels.

Since the data were stored in a PostgreSQL/Postgis database, I have decided to create a query that would return a layer with leading lines. I used the following query in DB manager:

SELECT
  gid,
  label,
  ST_Makeline(St_setSRID(ST_PointOnSurface(geom),27493), St_setSRID(St_Point(x_label::numeric, y_label::numeric),27493))
FROM
  epvu.sgev
WHERE
  x_label IS NOT NULL AND
  y_label IS NOT NULL AND
  NOT ST_Within(ST_Makeline(St_setSRID(ST_PointOnSurface(geom),27493), St_setSRID(St_Point(x_label::numeric, y_label::numeric),27493)),geom))

This query creates a line by using the feature centroid as starting point and the label coordinate as end point. The last condition on the WHERE statement assures that the lines are only created for labels outside the feature.

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With the resulting layer loaded in my project, all I need is to move my labels and save the edition (and press refresh) to show a nice leading line.

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