I have a line defined by a start and end node. I’d like to insert a node every 10m spacing and label it with the chainage (distance along the line).

I thought I could insert nodes every 10m then label it - but I can only find functions to do this for a single node, not multiples.

Can this be completed with the existing functions, or can I leverage some spatialite functions?

4 Answers 4


This answer presents two dynamic options: Geometry Generator and Virtual Layers/SQL.

Option 1: Geometry generator

This option will require use of an expression, and then a font marker to display the text, which has far fewer style and placement options than labels. However it won't generate another layer and can be saved as a style to use instantly.


Use one of the expressions below.

  • To exclude the first node (i.e. 0 metres along line), change generate_series() to start from 1 instead of 0.
---QGIS 3.4-3.8

10, --change chainage distance value here
geom_from_wkt('MultiPoint (' ||
    replace(array_to_string(array_foreach(generate_series(0,length($geometry) // @chainage),
    geom_to_wkt(line_interpolate_point($geometry,@element * @chainage)))),'Point ','') ||')')

The answer above was written for the original question since geometry functions did not support arrays as input prior to QGIS 3.10.

--QGIS 3.10+ 

10, --change chainage distance value here
collect_geometries(array_foreach(generate_series(0,length($geometry) // @chainage),
    line_interpolate_point($geometry,@element * @chainage)))

If you want to add the last point on the line as well, even if it doesn't match the chainage multiple, use array_append() outside array_foreach() e.g.:

--QGIS 3.10+ Append last point

10, --change chainage distance value here
collect_geometries(array_append(array_foreach(generate_series(0,length($geometry) // @chainage),
    line_interpolate_point($geometry,@element * @chainage)),end_point($geometry)))

Font marker text

You can't use the in-built labels as they can't iterate over the generated geometries to show each distance along the line.

Instead, use a font marker representation for the generated point (in addition to the point marker). Use the following expression as a data-defined override under Character(s) - add optional parameter to round() if you wish to see decimal places:

geometry_n($geometry, @geometry_part_num))) ||'m'

This is how the style would be set up (red circle showing where to enter the above expression):

enter image description here

Font marker text rotation and offset (optional)

Unlike labels, the font marker has limited style and placement options, but you can make the text aligned perpendicular to the line using the following data-defined overrides (adapted from this answer)

Rotation (You can use this + 90 for the point marker as well):




                                         geometry_n($geometry, @geometry_part_num))) + @map_rotation,

if(abs(@azim - pi()) > 1,@angle,@angle - 180)))))

Offset (apply expression below to data-defined override first, then enter desired x/y values in GUI)



if(abs(@azim - pi()) > 1,
   regexp_substr(@value,'([^,]+),') * -1))),


Output (10m) without first node:

enter image description here

Output (100m) with first node, last point and rotation/offset:

enter image description here

Option 2: Virtual Layers / SQL

This Spatialite query, if used in Virtual Layers/DB Manager, will generate a separate layer, and also requires the line layer to have an unique ID field. However, once generated, you can apply full control over labeling and bring in other columns from the line layer to improve styling/analysis; you can also save it as a static file with all the relevant columns.

Similar to the geometry generator method, it also generates a sequence based on the number of 10m segements in your line using a WITH RECURSIVE CTE adapted from Gabriel de Luca's method, which you can then use to interpolate points along your lines (geometry), generate a distance label column (chainage), and a label rotation column (angle).

  • IMPORTANT: With this method you must have an unique id column in your line layer (here id) and it needs to be part of the query. The unique id helps the query generate the right amount of nodes per line. $id and @row_number does not seem to work in Virtual Layer.

  • Replace id and line_layer with the unique column and line layer names accordingly

  • To exclude the first node (i.e. 0 metres along line), change 0 AS PART to 1 AS PART

  • For chainage spacing other than 10, you need to manually replace the 3 instances of 10 with your desired number (SQLite does not make it easy to declare variables).

  • To include the last point on the line, regardless of whether it matches the chainage multiple, delete the lines starting with /* and */

  • You can include other columns from the line_layer

  • Use "chainage"||'m' for the label text, and set the label rotation data-defined override to "angle"`

  SELECT t.lineid, t.total, 0 AS part   --change 0 to 1 to exclude first node
  FROM totals AS t
  SELECT t.lineid, t.total, part + 1 AS part
  FROM totals AS t 
  INNER JOIN nodes AS n ON t.lineid = n.lineid AND n.part < t.total

l AS (
  SELECT id as lineid,   --replace id with name of unique column
  geometry               --add other line layer columns if desired
  FROM line_layer        --replace line_layer with name of line layer
totals AS (
  SELECT lineid, cast(st_length(geometry) / 10 AS int)  AS total    --change 10 if required
  FROM l

SELECT line_interpolate_point(l.geometry, (n.part*10))  AS geometry, --change 10 if required
       (n.part*10)                                      AS chainage, --change 10 if required
       n.lineid                                         AS lineid 
       line_interpolate_angle(l.geometry, (n.part*100)) AS angle
FROM nodes AS n
INNER JOIN l ON n.lineid=l.lineid

/* Optional section to include last point

SELECT end_point(geometry),

ORDER BY lineid, chainage

I would caution against using this query for large datasets as it hasn't been optimised.

Output (10m) without first node:

enter image description here

Output (100m) with first node, last point and rotation/offset:

enter image description here

  • Wow - that iteration hack! Amazing! As you suggest, I think a new layer is the way to go. Unfortunate - that line is sourced from a mssql database. I was hoping to avoid I’d breaking away from the master source. Thanks though!
    – tomtomnz
    Aug 28, 2019 at 19:40
  • Well, if you are willing to have a go with Virtual Layer I've edited the above answer with a similarly hacky SQL query. Bonus is because you can pull in other columns from your source data this allows for much more complex styling based on attributes.
    – she_weeds
    Aug 29, 2019 at 0:35

You may try to execute 'Points along geometry' on your line-layer. Here you can set the distance to 10 meters.

enter image description here

This will create a point layer with a new attribute "distance" Label this point layer with this. (Remember to make the temporary point layer permanent.) enter image description here


IT's no clear if you want to construct lines from start/end nodes or if you already have that lines and only want to create/label evenly spaced points along these lines.

If you already have that lines, simply use Points along geometry algorithm from processing toolbox. The resulting layer contains points in specified interval along lines, also with original attributes and some extra attributes (eg. distance). Then you can simply use extra attributes to label that layer.

If you want to construct lines from points, please provide a bit more info about data. It is not clear to me what do you mean by I have a line defined by a start and end node.


I also used Qchainage to make evenly spaced nodes and then was able to modify the answer above from @she_weeds to make labels work. I put this in the value of rule-based labeling:

to_string(round("cngdegrees"*110913.49,0)) ||'m'

My map defaults to degrees (at 33.5 deg lat) so I had to convert degrees to approximate meters and then round to get an integer. But of course if your map is in meters or units that can be directed converted to meters that would result in a simpler label requirement such as:

to_string("cngmeters") ||'m'

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.