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I am trying to create points (new layer) at specific distance along the road (existing layer) in QGIS. This gives solution for ArcGIS. How to achieve this in QGIS? This one explains how to create points but does not do anything about the distance.


(I applied the proposed solutions with different measures of lengths for I did not know the conversion) @Nathans's solution worked to some extent, I got...

enter image description here. Here, the projection of these equidistant points is different from the original line.

With @underdark's suggestion, I got

this image where the points does not seem to be equidistant. I guess there is some projection issue with both of these which I am not understanding.

Thank you very much.

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A couple of points. Firstly, the line has to be in a projected CRS (not lat/lon). Secondly, is your line a true polyline? I don't think any method will work properly on a line comprising a string of individual lines. Nick. – nhopton Jun 10 '12 at 18:01
Also with my code, you don't need to call the import locate line more then once. Just call it once then you can call locate.pointsAlongLine(30) as much as you need – Nathan W Jun 11 '12 at 8:27
Another method (given that Sextant as suggested by some answers here is QGIS <2.0 only), is also to use the plugin called QChainage. – andy Jun 19 '14 at 13:30

4 Answers 4

Note: There is now a QGIS plugin QChainage. It does all this and more. The code below is out of date with QGIS 2.0 and above.

Here is some Python code that you can stick in a file and use inside QGIS:

QGIS does have a method in it API to do liner referencing however I couldn't get it to work correctly, but I will contact the author of the code and see if I was doing something wrong.

For now you will need the shapely Python library, which you should install anyway because it's handy to have around. It also has great documentation at

This is the section I am using in the following example

Most of the following code is QGIS boilerplate code just creating the features, layers, converting from wkb and wkt and back. The core bit is the point = line.interpolate(currentdistance) which returns a point at a distance along a line. We just wrap this in a loop until we run out of line.

import qgis
from qgis.core import *
from PyQt4.QtCore import QVariant
from shapely.wkb import loads
from shapely.wkt import dumps

vl = None
pr = None

def createPointsAt(distance, geom):
    if distance > geom.length():
        print "No Way Man!"

    length = geom.length()
    currentdistance = distance
    feats = []  

    while currentdistance < length: 
        line = loads(geom.asWkb())
        point = line.interpolate(currentdistance)
        fet = QgsFeature()
        fet.setAttributeMap( { 0 : currentdistance } )
        qgsgeom = QgsGeometry.fromWkt(dumps(point))
        currentdistance = currentdistance + distance


def pointsAlongLine(distance):
    global vl
    vl = QgsVectorLayer("Point", "distance nodes", "memory")
    global pr
    pr = vl.dataProvider()  
    pr.addAttributes( [ QgsField("distance", QVariant.Int) ] )
    layer = qgis.utils.iface.mapCanvas().currentLayer()
    for feature in layer.selectedFeatures():
        geom = feature.geometry()
        createPointsAt(distance, geom)


Copy and paste the above code into file, I called my, in ~./qgis/python directory (because it is in the Python path) and just do the this in the Python console inside QGIS.

 import locate

That will create a new point layer with points at every 30 meters along the selected lines, like so:

enter image description here

Note: Code is pretty rough and might need some clean up.

EDIT: The lastest QGIS dev build can now do this natively.

Change the while loop in createPointsAt to:

 while currentdistance < length: 
    point = geom.interpolate(distance)
    fet = QgsFeature()
    fet.setAttributeMap( { 0 : currentdistance } )
    currentdistance = currentdistance + distance

and you can remove the

from shapely.wkb import loads
from shapely.wkt import dumps
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Thanks @Nathan. I could not get the Shapely package for my python. I installed python 2.7 but Shapely installer says that python 2.7 is not in my registry. Is there another way to install Shapely. – Stat-R Jun 9 '12 at 18:23
I followed… and typed the above two lines for calling locate and using it but still I did not get the equidistant points. Also, I am a neophyte in Python so I did not understand where to run the code (1) python in qgis directory or (2) that at C:\Python27\? – Stat-R Jun 9 '12 at 21:34
What OS are you on? – Nathan W Jun 9 '12 at 21:51
Windows 7 Professional – Stat-R Jun 9 '12 at 21:58
create the python file in C:\Users\{you user name}\.qgis\python then restart QGIS if open, and go to ` Plugins-> Python Console. Load a line layer, select a line a call import locate` and locate.pointsAlongLine(30) – Nathan W Jun 9 '12 at 22:56

You could use the QGIS GRASS plugin tool to create points along lines at regular intervals

# convert line to points; dmax = distance between points -i -v -t in=road out=road_pts type=line dmax=90
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I used dmax as 100 and the resultant projections for each is as follows. (I do not know how the CRS is getting assigned by itself. ) CRS of Original Shape file, the line = EPSG:26915 - NAD83 / UTM zone 15N, CRS of Grass line vector obtained using = EPSG:4269 - NAD83, CRS of Grass points vector obtained using = EPSG:4326 - WGS 84 – Stat-R Jun 10 '12 at 18:20
Now also like this: QGIS -> Sextante -> GRASS -> – markusN Sep 11 '12 at 15:03

If you want to plot the chainage at fixed intervals along a road line you could use the 'Profile from line' plug-in to do this. You need a DEM under the road line layer, but the procedure is quick and very simple. Nick.

enter image description here

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this is a pretty good and easy method too, thanks! – Shepherdjo Jul 30 '12 at 9:50

Sextante has a tool that might work for you. Sextante can be downloaded from the Qgis plugin repository.

Look for:
"Tools for Line Layers"
"Lines to equispaced points"

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