In QGIS, I have a polygon layer with square polygons in it. The polyogons are of same size but different orientation. I want to create a set of maps using the atlas feature. My aim is to rotate the map accordingly to the orientation of the polyogns.

The "item properties" offer the possibility to insert an expression for the map rotation. If I had a rotation-field in the property table of the poygons layer I'd be able to automate map rotation accordingly, I suppose. So my question is: is it possible to calculate the rotation of quadratic polyon features relative to the N-S (or W-E) axis?

Here I found a similar question; however, not being familiar with PostGIS, I want to accomplish this in QGIS.

  • You could write a python function to get the four coordinate points and compute the angle. Care to offer some sample data?
    – Spacedman
    Apr 10, 2017 at 16:41
  • Unfortunately, I am not familiar with python at all. I am trying to do this with the azimuth function in the field calculator. However, I do not really understand how to tell the programm to always use the first two nodes of each polygon and calculate the azimuth...
    – yenats
    Apr 10, 2017 at 16:51
  • 1
    (180/pi())* atan2($y_at(1)-$y_at(0), $x_at(1)-$x_at(0)) should get you an angle for the first two points.
    – Spacedman
    Apr 10, 2017 at 17:03
  • 1
    Or this for azimuth: 180/pi() * azimuth(make_point($x_at(0), $y_at(0)), make_point($x_at(1),$y_at(1))) (which is probably just 90 degrees away from the previous example)
    – Spacedman
    Apr 10, 2017 at 17:08
  • I'll add them as answer.
    – Spacedman
    Apr 10, 2017 at 17:09

1 Answer 1


You can use $x_at(n) to get the n-th x coordinate. Then you can either use atan2 with the coordinate differences:

(180/pi())* atan2($y_at(1)-$y_at(0), $x_at(1)-$x_at(0)) 

or azimuth by making points:

180/pi() * azimuth(make_point($x_at(0), $y_at(0)), 

The 180/pi() gets you degrees. I think the only difference between these two is the angle for zero, and maybe the direction (clockwise or anti-clockwise...).

  • 3
    there's also a degrees() function to convert radians to degrees
    – Steven Kay
    Apr 10, 2017 at 21:21
  • How would you do calculate polygon orientation if they are within 4 to 15 points ? If think first would be determinating polygon box then bow orientation. But my programming skills are terrible...
    – Laurent
    Mar 3, 2020 at 20:43
  • @Laurent try asking as a new question if you really want to know.
    – Spacedman
    Mar 3, 2020 at 23:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.