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I am looking to place an OpenStreetMap/Google Maps layer underneath the rest of my shapefiles for referencing purposes.

Let's say for instance, that I am looking at the Swiss Cantons and cities, and I want the Street Maps underneath these layers. What I have been doing is importing OpenStreetMap from the OpenLayers plugins. However, this imports a world map and rendering is slow.

Is there a way to import the OSM/Google Maps layer and then exclude extraneous or superfluous areas?

If I am only interested in Switzerland I don't necessary need Uganda, Botswana, Kazakhstan and Indonesia as well.

  • The Openlayers plugin only downloads the 256x256 tiles you see in the canvas. I never experienced that to be slow (unless you have slow Internet). – AndreJ Aug 26 '14 at 5:47
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I found this gudie by Anita Graser a couple of days ago, and it looks like just what you need:

http://anitagraser.com/2014/05/31/a-guide-to-googlemaps-like-maps-with-osm-in-qgis/

Using that method you can define the lat-long box that you are interested in and apply it to .pbf file downloaded from the Geofabrik site.

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