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I am trying to design a beautiful map using QGIS. As I'm a software developer not a designer, I was hoping that this will be easy, but it isn't!

There is a similar question here Where to find QGIS tutorials and web resources? but I would like to focus from "applications using Qgis" to "designing a map using Qgis".

I was looking for some tools, style database or tutorials to guide me, but had no luck so far.

New How to use label classes, expressions, and annotations? helped me a lot and OSM seems to look great: 1, 2. However I need to use my own shapefiles.

Also there is Quantumnik. It could be a great help, however it prints map on another tab and I need it to be on the same with my Qgis project.

So basically I am looking for a way to design a beautiful looking map using basic QGIS tools, any resources on that?

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What kind of maps do you need to create? What type of features do you want to show? There are no style databases yet, but it's on the (rather huge) wish list. – underdark Jun 1 '11 at 13:48
It will be a road network with some forest and urban areas, water lines and areas and border lines. Basically I have a satisfactory result for now, but roads are ugly and I struggle the most with them. – Mykolas Simutis Jun 1 '11 at 13:50
Agree with underdark what is the purpose of the Map to be created? Attribution of the shapefiles is import. – Mapperz Jun 1 '11 at 14:04
But I would rather leave this question more general, not including atributes... For more help in my case then lets focus only on roads. I have 8 shapefiles for roads, each of them for different road sizes. They all have such attributes as Name, number, type and directional. For me only Type and Name is important. – Mykolas Simutis Jun 1 '11 at 14:17
up vote 27 down vote accepted

This video should give you a general idea of how to create nice line styles in QGIS with new symbology: "Video tutorial #1: Creating a custom railway style"

More related posts:

In Tomtom data for example, you have an attribute called frc that can be used to classify roads. The following setup will create a GoogleMaps-style roadmap with different styles for different zoom levels.

enter image description here

I've worked out a solution for Google-like labeling too, this time based on OSM data:

enter image description here

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Thank you! For my case I would also add tip to use scale dependant rendering to add smaller roads only when zoomed in enough and have them pale before they go solid, but I guess it is quite obvious – Mykolas Simutis Jun 2 '11 at 6:05
But how would labeling work for rule-based symbology? – Mykolas Simutis Aug 30 '11 at 13:08
Labeling is mostly independent of symbology. Lines that are not drawn because of the min/max scale rules, are not labeled either. – underdark Aug 30 '11 at 14:06
Well I guess labels can be stored in separate files if I want to have different styles for them per class. Either way, thanks! I totally ignored this feature and I think it would have been much of use, will not forget it next time :) – Mykolas Simutis Aug 30 '11 at 19:14
The video is now here – xhie Jul 17 at 17:25

I have created a blog post on how I did, and just thought to share it here.. So here it is:

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