Maps fall into three main categories in terms of how they are added to QLandkarte GT: raster, vector and streaming. The former two may be maps that you have purchased, downloaded off the Web or scanned in yourself but the last is accessed streaming from a map server.
- Raster maps
- These are your basic raster images (i.e. non-vector like PNGs and JPEGs) of maps. QLandkarte GT requires raster maps to use the GeoTIFF format (a georeferenced TIFF format that contains information about the location of the map on the globe). The Canadian GeoBase, for example, provides its data (maps and aerial photographs) on the GeoTIFF format. Other formats may need converting.
- For raster maps without any meta-data, QLandkarte GT has tools with which you can georeference a map yourself. This way you can scan your own maps and use them with QLandkarte GT. You can also download maps where these are available. The National Land Survey of Iceland, for example, provides free to download scans from its archives.
- Vector maps
- Vector maps are particularly useful to overlay maps with other maps. These can for example be contour maps or maps of points of interest which can be overlaid on top of a background raster or vector map.
- QLandkarte GT supports the old Garmin TDB vector format. This provides information on IMG map files which need to accompany the TDB file, but QLandkarte GT does not support IMG maps directly. The new Garmin GMAP map format is not supported.
- Streaming maps
- QLandkarte GT supports two streaming map protocols; the Tile Map Service (TMS) and The Web Map Service (WMS). Both are protocols that allows georeferenced maps to be served over the internet. TMS will request particular tiles whereas WMS requests a map with a particular bounding box with specific information. WMS is thus more powerful whereas TMS maps are faster. QLandkarte GT currently leaves the WMS work to GDAL so you need to have compiled GDAL with WMS map support to connect to a WMS server.
- Both TMS and WMS maps can be opened by loading an special XML description file. Some servers provide these XML files, but others can be constructed with a bit of work. For available XML files, see the collection of #freely available maps, below.
- Note that the map-server can get very slow so sometimes it may be better to try later.
Loading maps to QLandkarte GT
If you just want to quickly load a map, go to File → LoadMap and select the map. To permanently add a map to QLandkarte GT, you create a map collection. These are stored in so-called QMAP definition files that are displayed in the map tab in the toolview on the left.
- Select Maps(F1) → Edit/Create Map(F6) and select "Create map collection from existing geo-referenced files." from the combo-box.
- Create a new QMAP file or load an existing one you wish to modify.
- Optionally add a comment and tick if you want it to use quadratic zoom.
Collections can contain several layers which are activated depending on the zoom level. Each layer can have multiple maps but these must all share the same projection. For example, you could have a set of detailed 1:25 000 maps in the top layer while putting a larger 1:1 000 000 map into the next layer overview that would kick in at a higher zoom level. Maps can be any format supported by GDAL (e.g. GeoTiff, WMS XML).
- Press Add or Edit' to add or edit a map layer.
- Choose the maps to include and how many zoom levels to span.
- Hit Save.
Tile service maps
As of version 1.3.2, QLandkarte GT has a simple way of adding a TMS map:
- Right click on a map entry in the streaming map tab.
- Select "Add TMS map"
- Enter the TMS server URL in the dialog. Make sure to provide the placeholders '%1', '%2' and '%3'
|Google Maps||http://mt.google.com/vt/x=%2&y=%3&z=%1||TMS||Google map||04.07.2011|
|Google Maps||http://mt.google.com/vt/lyrs=s&x=%2&y=%3&z=%1||TMS||Sattellite map||2012.02.16.|
|Google Maps||http://mt.google.com/vt/lyrs=t&x=%2&y=%3&z=%1||TMS||Terrain map||2012.02.16.|
Freely available maps
Ignoring for a moment that there is no such thing as a free map, there are a number of ways to access maps on line free of charge. The bulk of these have been created by government agencies (and thus paid for by taxpayers) who have made them freely available to the general public.
To use such a streaming map in QLandkarte GT you have to load a small XML file defining the map's parameters. These definition files can be found in the download section. Simply load the files like a map via File->Load Map. From version 1.5.0 you can get a list of available maps within QLandkarte GT. Use File->Load Online Map to query the list and to install a map from it.