I'm excited to upgrade from QGIS 2.18 to 3.0. However, I rely heavily on the plugin QuickMapServices for base maps. For example, the main project I'm working on currently uses these base layers, all from QuickMapServices:

  • CartoDB Positron [no labels]
  • ESRI Gray (dark)
  • ESRI Gray (light)
  • Google Road
  • Google Terrain

QGIS 3.0 doesn't currently have this plugin or the similar OpenLayers plugin. Instead it seems we're supposed to use the "add WMS layer" function. I'm trying to replace the layers I listed above using this method, but I'm struggling. I can't figure out what URL to use to get any of the layers.

Here I found instructions for adding these layers as xyz tiles in QGIS 2.18. The URL they provided for adding a Google road layer is: https://mt1.google.com/vt/lyrs=m&x={x}&y={y}&z={z}

I tried every possible variation on this URL without success.

enter image description here

How can I get these base maps in QGIS 3.0?

  • works for me using XYZ provider using https://mt1.google.com/vt/lyrs=m&x={x}&y={y}&z={z} , using QGIS 3.0.0-3 (Mac, KyngChaos), on a fresh project. Have you tried running QGIS with plugins disabled, in case anything is messing with the canvas/zoom levels?
    – Steven Kay
    Mar 22, 2018 at 20:23
  • I just got that URL to work by accessing XYZ Tiles from the Browser panel. It wasn't working for me through the "Create a New WMS Connection" window shown in my screenshot.
    – csk
    Mar 22, 2018 at 20:46
  • So my issue with adding Google layers is solved, but I'm still trying to figure out WMS layers. Is it possible to load that same layer through the "Create a New WMS Connection" dialog window?
    – csk
    Mar 22, 2018 at 20:48
  • I don't see an option to add an XYZ connection through the Data Source Manager window.
    – csk
    Mar 22, 2018 at 20:54
  • Partially answered here (possible duplicate) gis.stackexchange.com/questions/272778/…
    – Billy34
    Mar 22, 2018 at 21:47

1 Answer 1


I figured out how to add base maps from Google without the QuickMapServices plugin. The link I was trying to use as a WMS connection is actually for XYZ tiles. QGIS 3.0 has a great new feature, the Data Source Manager, which makes it easy to add pretty much any type of layer except XYZ tiles.

enter image description here

So at first I thought that XYZ tiles weren't available in QGIS, or that maybe they had been rolled into one of the other data types that I don't really understand.

Instead, to add XYZ tiles I had to open the Browser panel, scroll down to the bottom, and right click on XYZ Tiles > New Connection

enter image description here enter image description here

One Google layer successfully added to my project! :)

I also learned how to add a WMS layer. It's not all that hard once you have the right link, but I've found it quite challenging to find the right links.

The USGS has a lot of layers that cover the continental United States. That's not the link to paste into QGIS as the WMS URL. Follow that link and look through the different categories to get the actual links; each layer has its own link.

For example, this is the URL for a layer called "USGS Topo Base Map - Primary Tile Cache (Tiled)": https://basemap.nationalmap.gov/arcgis/services/USGSTopo/MapServer/WMSServer?request=GetCapabilities&service=WMS

And screenshots showing how to actually add that layer: enter image description here enter image description here

So now I have my Google layers back, as well as some new layers I didn't have before.

It seems like the QuickMapServices plugin was a bit of a crutch, because it allowed me to avoid ever learning how to use WMS and XYZ tiles. I'm still hoping it'll be updated for 3.0, but in the meantime I learned some new skills.


How to add any layer available through the QuickMapServices plugin to QGIS 3.0.

I just realized that the link for any layer added from the QuickMapServices plugin is available in the layer properties of that layer. So all you have to do is add that layer to a project in QGIS 2.18, open the layer properties, copy the link, and then use that link to add it as an XYZ tiled layer in 3.0.

enter image description here


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