I am using Qgis 2.18.9 and I have a very simple request from a client. They have provided me with shapefiles of their mining sites and they want me to produce for them a PDF they can print at a really large scale, about 1 inch equals 2000 feet on a sheet of paper at a size 42 inches x 60 inches with the background looking very close to that of google maps.

I can add a google maps basemap to my drawing but the issue is when I make the PDF all of the labels are so small they are unusable. I am adding the google maps basemap through the use of the openlayers plugin.

Can somebody please guide me in this?

One final note, the final product does not have have the gray color that is seen on google maps used as a background, if it does it does if it doesn't it doesn't.

  • 1
    google maps is raster and only 72dpi - note google maps can be increased to 300 dpi - see alvipixels.co.uk/blog/high_resolution_google_map_300dpi.php
    – Mapperz
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 16:52
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    This is a common problem with tiled layers. In order to get the layer at high resolution, you end up with a tile for a high zoom level (ie zoomed in really far). The labels are a fixed size on each tile, and the labels are really small on high zoom levels.
    – csk
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 17:15
  • The easiest solution would probably be to export the shapefile(s) as kml or kmz, and produce the map in Google Earth.
    – csk
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 17:16
  • Also, what do you mean by "the final product does not have have the gray color that is seen on google maps used as a background, if it does it does if it doesn't it doesn't?" I don't see how this fits into your question.
    – csk
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 17:18

1 Answer 1


I have faced a similar issue and ended up using NAIP imagery (can be downloaded from here) for the background imagery. When downloaded and used in an exported map it maintains its spatial resolution, unlike that of the Google basemap.

For roads, I downloaded Open Street Map data (can be downloaded here) and symbolized the features manually. Some organizations that provide these data have style files that can be used to expedite the symbolizing process (for example lyr files for ArcGIS).

All of this takes a considerable amount of time, but the end result can be of high quality with regards to resolution. Learning the process of downloading and bringing the data into QGIS also takes some time. This is likely a solution, but you may want to hold off to see what others suggest.

  • Thank you for your suggestion and is basically the method we always do but was wondering if there was a better/simpler solution of maybe I add layer that somebody has created to my map that matches the streets labels and styles that match google maps. I am going to hold off for a few and see if anybody gives a better answer than you, if not you are currently the leader.
    – Jon Gray
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 17:22

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