Looked around but couldn't find the answer to my question, so here goes. I am trying to export some decent quality (300dpi) aerial images from QGIS using the OpenLayers plugin. Sometimes it works, and then sometimes it doesn't. The export goes through just fine, but when I go to the file it looks like this.

Weird export problem

Basically I get the image I wanted in the center, but it's hacked off at the sides and corners into a rough oval shape, with a zoomed-in image filling the gaps around it.

It's weird.

This happens whether I export as jpg or pdf, whether I check print as raster or not. I reset the project projection to the google aerial's projection; that didn't help. Previously I thought I was causing this problem by trying to export too large or with the resolution set too high, but now it's happening all the time.

Any ideas why this is happening and how to get around it?

  • 1
    Can you go through your workflow in a bit more detail? Which menu options you are using for example. Are you trying to get Google aerial imagery? You may want to also read the Google Terms of Service.
    – Spacedman
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 16:58
  • @Spacedman, I'm using Google imagery from the Open Layers plugin. I'm a student, it's for an academic project. Are you asking about menu options for the export or the qgis file itself? For the print composer I'm using Arch A (9x12") paper size, 300 dpi, scale 1:100000 (though I've tried others). I've tried export as image, export as pdf, and print to pdf. I'm not all that skilled with qgis so I don't think I've messed with any more complex settings. My workflow: import imagery into existing file from OpenLayers, zoom to area, open print composer, try the above methods to export.
    – aj88
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 17:06
  • Hmm well it wasn't obvious how you were using the print composer. So you go: start QGIS; Menu: Web: Open Layers: Google Satellite; zoom, add your rivers layer, switch to print composer, add map, see it all nicely laid out. Then "Export as PDF", and PDF appears as above? I can't duplicate that. Can you screengrab your QGIS main and QGIS composer window and add those to the question?
    – Spacedman
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 17:42
  • I have not been able to export to pdf and have the imagery show properly. You might check this out for some ideas: hub.qgis.org/issues/5827#change-57935
    – John
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 17:52
  • @Spacedman, thanks for your help. I went back through and tried to export again using a new print composer, without adjusting any settings. Now it seems to work when I export to PDF using the default page size (A4) but it gets funny when using 9x12. I will upload screenshots later but I have to actually get my work done now that I've found a workaround. Thanks again!
    – aj88
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 19:06

1 Answer 1


One alternative solution is to use Mobile Atlas Creator (MOBAC)


to download aerial imagery tiles as a .png + worlfile (stipulation remains that it be in EPSG:3857) or depending on where you are the National Aerial Imagery Program has some good aerial imagery that can be downloaded as .Tif files


(or potenitally from your local GIS geospatial gateway) then you can clip it in Qgis and save it as a .tif.

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