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I know that the shapefiles seen in figure 1 contain data taken from a database on the internet which is constantly changing.

enter image description here

However whenever I try change its properties such as its symbology, seen in figure 2 I am unable to change the symbols shape, colour, size etc

enter image description here

Why is this? Or is there a way to make this possible?

I use QGIS v3.2

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You don't have a shapefile, you have loaded a WMS-service. WMS are raster data loaded from a server hosted by any entity/corporation/municipality interested in giving people access to specific data - without giving away vector data. You can't change its content.

If the server supports SLD operations you may be able to change its style by using the SLD_BODY or SLD parameters in the request.

Either load a WFS-service on the same topic and save that locally, or ask the provider whether they could give you access to the vector data.

  • Would I access a WFS-service from the same place I got the WMS raster? – Bodhi Nov 16 '18 at 14:29
  • If the data providing entity offers a WFS-service, it should be mentioned right next to the WMS-service. – Erik Nov 16 '18 at 14:35

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