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Frequently Asked Questions - Maps

How to control visibility of POI info?

(Inspired by newsgroup discussion)

The possibility to control the POI visibility in QMS map windows depends on the type of the displayed map:

  • Raster and online maps: All map info is hard-coded in the map. Visibility of map elements (POI, roads, ...) can't be changed within QMS.
  • Vector maps: The QMS user has various ways to control the display of the information contained in a map:
    • Using the maps tab: (if closed, open it with the help of the menu entry Window - Maps) After clicking the small triangle at the front of an active map
      the following map display options can be modified:
      • Map opacity. Use slider to increase or decrease map opacity. This controls the visibility of maps in a stack of active maps.
      • Zoom levels for map display. Select minimum resp. maximum zoom level of map display by clicking the small buttons at the left resp. right of the scale.
        If the zoom level slider is in the green interval, then the map is displayed.
      • Type of displayed map objects. Use the check boxes to switch on or off the display of areas, lines and points (POI).
      • Details level. Use levels between -5 and 5 to select the amount of map objects for a given zoom level.
    • Using the main menu.
      • The menu entry View - POI Text is a toggle. If it is selected, then the name of a POI (if available in the map) is displayed. The font used can be changed
        with the help of the menu entry View - Setup Map Font.
      • The menu entry View - Map Tool Tip is a toggle. If it is selected, then after moving the mouse pointer to a map object (POI, line, area) in a vector map a small tool tip window pops-up with information about the object (typically, the name of the object is shown).


  • Several (vector) maps may have the same data source (e.g. OpenStreetMap/OSM). It is up to the author/publisher of the map to select

    • the data to be included into the map,
    • the style in which the data is displayed,
    • the zoom levels at which data objects are displayed.

    Thus, it may happen that maps having the same data source have rather different
    content and layout. QMS cannot alter this map data.

  • Workspace GIS data (waypoints, tracks, routes, areas) is drawn on an extra layer on the map window. The rules described above for map data don't apply to GIS data.
    The display of GIS data is controlled via checkboxes in the workspace.

Why are waypoints shown with a blue dot icon?

Source: Newsgroup discussion


Blue dot waypoint icon

The blue dots shown on the map are not the icons of waypoints but they are used as indicators that at the given zoom level
of the map and at the given locations there are several waypoints on the map. Thus, cluttering of the map is avoided.

Changing the zoom level results in the display of all waypoints at the given location with the necessary icons (exception:
several waypoints with equal coordinates).

No blue dot waypoint icons

How to find information about a position (a POI) in the Web?

(valid starting with QMS commit c57ba23001c7, Wed Jul 25 13:02:57 2018)

  • Open a map view and move the mouse to the position (location) of interest.
  • Right click the mouse to open the context menu (this menu is included in the waypoint context menu , too).
  • Select Search Web for position and then one of the preconfigured web services that provide information about the position. The default browser opens the web service which displays information about the selected position (if available).

    Web service selection

  • Select the menu entries Search Web for position - Configure services to view the configuration of the default services and to add or remove web services with the help of the service configuration window:

    Web service configuration

  • To add a new service insert a name in the name field and a valid URL in the URL field. Use the placeholders %1, %2 resp. %3 in the URL for the longitude, latitude resp. elevation. QMS replaces the placeholders with the data of the selected position.

    Web service added

  • Each web service (the default ones, too!) can be deleted. After deleting all web services QMS re-establishes the default configuration at the next start.

The configuration of web services is saved in the QMS INI file.

Here is an overview of some web services (composed by Mitxel in the QMapShack newsgroup, items labeled with an asterix are default web services in QMS):

  • Peakfinder (*)

    Purpose: Get 360° panorama with the names of all mountains visible from given location.


    Hints: As DEMs are not very accurate, sometimes the summit itself could hide your view. To avoid this add &off=10 to the URL. This raises the viewpoint by 10m.

  • Waymarked trails (*)

    Purpose: Get waymarked hiking trails near the given location.


    Hints: Clicking on the name in the track list opens additional information about the track and you can download the track. In the upper menu you can change the settings to get cycling trails, MTB trails,...

  • Waymarked cycling trails

    Purpose: Get waymarked cycling trails near the given location.


    Hints: Just a second example for the waymarked trails server: display cycling trails and use English as language.

  • Wikiloc (*)

    Purpose: discover outdoor trails for hiking, cycling and many other activities near the given location.


    Hints: This lists all activities near the given location. A filter can be used for a more specific selection of trails.

  • Wikiloc Skitours (*)

    Purpose: discover ski tours near the given location.


    Hints: This pattern filters ski tour and snowshoe activities from Wikiloc. You can follow this sample to get other activities by changing the value act=40,17 or add other filters, too.

  • Wikiloc MTB

    Purpose: discover MTB tours near the given location.


    Hints: This filters MTB activities from Wikiloc. When using filters you will be asked to log in.

  • Webcam (*)

    Purpose: Find webcams near the given location.


    Hints: If you don't see webcams near the chosen location, try zooming out with the mouse wheel.

  • MeteoBlue 7 days (*)

    Purpose: Get 7-day weather forecast at the given location.


    Hints: The default URLs points to the web page in English. You can change it easily. Example: Replace /en/ by /es/ in the URL to get the Spanish version.

  • MeteoBlue 5 days (*)

    Purpose: Get 5-day weather forecast at the given location.


  • MeteoBlue Multi model (*)

    Purpose: Get 3/6/7-day weather forecast at the given location with data from different weather models.


  • MeteoBlue Map (*)

    Purpose: Get weather forecast maps for various weather parameters near the given location.


    Hints: Once on the map site choose the map type to display: precipitation, wind, .. and you can see the evolution by hours.

  • Ventusky (*)

    Purpose: Get weather forecast maps for various weather parameters near the given location. Default map: rain.


    Hints: Once on the map site choose the type of map to display: precipitation, wind, etc. and you can see the evolution by hours. Clicking on a point displays a weather table for the clicked location.

  • Rome2Rio

    Purpose: Find public transport between two points including alternative routes with information about stops, transfers, schedules, and operators phone numbers and websites.


    Hints: In the given URL Bilbao (Spain) is used as the start point and the selected location is the end point for the route. You must replace Bilbao with the name of your town or city. If the name is composed use hyphens, e.g.: Selva-di-Val-Gardena. You can also use your home coordinates e.g.: 43.164,-1.236.

  • Transport Públic de Catalunya

    Purpose: Find public transport between two points in Catalonia.


    Hints: This is a local service for the Catalonia region. It looks for bus stops near the given point. Once in the web you can consult lines, timetables and A-B routes. If you live in Catalonia you could build a URL similar to the one for Rome2rio from your home to the given location.

  • GoogleMaps driving routes

    Purpose: Find a route between two points including alternative routes with information about stops, transfers, ...

    _ URL:_,%1&travelmode=driving

    Hints: In the given URL Bilbao (Spain) is used as the start point and the selected location is the end point of the route. You must replace Bilbao with the name of your town or city. If the name is composed replace spaces with +, e.g.: Selva+di+Val+Gardena. You can also use your home coordinates e.g.: 43.164,-1.236 (... but remind that this is Google!). Select the type of transportation in the Google maps window.

  • GoogleMaps

    Purpose: Show the Google map at the given location.


    Hints: Contributed by JOSEPV. Once in Google maps you can use the StreetView function.

  • GoogleEarth

    Purpose: Show the GoogleEarth map at the given location.


    Hints: Contributed by JOSEPV. For now it only opens in the Google Chrome browser!

What is the difference between Copy position and Copy position (Grid)?

A right click in a map window at a certain positions opens a context menu which offers (among others) the 2 choices:

  • Copy position
  • Copy position (grid)

In the first case the position is copied in the format used to display coordinates (see menu View - Setup Coord. Format),
e.g N49° 21.734 E012° 44.146

In the second case the position is copied as a pure grid coordinate.
For long/lat coordinates it is degrees (49.599924 10.599991 or -15.065344 -39.915421). For northing/easting
coordinates it is meters. (6307013m, 1415953m)

Is there a possibility to display small roads/tracks in a vector map without zooming in too much?


This problem appears with a vector map like Freizeitkarte where smaller
roads/tracks are only visible at a zoom level where the overview gets lost.

There is no such possibility in QMapShack. The detail levels for vector map data are defined by the map author and can't be
changed within QMapShack.

Users reported about the following ways to improve the visibility of small roads:

  • Choose the menu item View - Setup Map View - Projections&Datum
  • Append to the given configuration string one of the following strings:
  • +lat_ts=60 This sets the latitude of true scale for a Mercator projection. The closer you get to the polar regions the more the map will be skewed horizontally in comparison to the vertical scale. At the latitude of true scale (usually 0 for the equator) the scales are equal.
  • +k_0=0.3 (Source: gmane.comp.gis.qlandkartegt) This is an additional scale factor on the normal scale. A value of 1.0 will have no effect. Try to increase or decrease the given value to get the wanted result

Does QMS support the use of single Garmin-style map tiles?

A map in the Garmin format consists of single map tiles plus a so-called type file which describes how the elements
in the map should be displayed. The map tiles for a given area are typically packed together with a type file
into a special container format. A typical name for such a container file is gmapsupp_xxx.img.

QMS does support maps loaded from gmapsupp container files. It doesn't allow the use of single tiles.

How to change the layout of vector maps?

(valid starting with QMS version 1.9.0)

The layout of a vector map in QMS is defined by rules found in a so-called type file. Type files are contained in the gmapsupp.img files required for
the display of a vector maps in QMS.

There is a strong relation between the object types used in the description of the map data and the object types defined in a type file used for the display of the map.

The layout of a vector map can be changed in QMS by loading a new type file in the following way:

  • open the Maps tab in the workspace (select menu entries Window - Maps if tab is closed),
  • open the map features window of the activated map for which the layout should be changed,

    Type file selection window

  • click on the Load external type file icon in the Type file row of this window and select a type file (extension TYP),

  • click the Forget external type file icon to return to the original map layout.

The following image shows various layouts of a vector map obtained by using 4 different type files.

Different vector map layouts

The first layout is the default one for the map, the second one displays the same map data as the first one but in a slightly different way.

The third and the forth layouts illustrate how important and even dangerous layout changes can be when changing to an incompatible type file. If wanted, certain object
types are not displayed anymore (a motorway might be of no interest for a bicycle user). The forth layout results from a type file not
built for the given vector map. As a result, even the motorway is not displayed correctly.

Which raster map formats are supported?

There are various sources of raster maps in various formats.

QMS supports raster formats that are

  • supported by the GDAL version used with QMapShack. Create a VRT file for the given raster map. Then it can be used in QMS. To get a list of formats supported
    by GDAL run gdaltransform.exe --formats in a console window.
  • of type RMAP, GEMF, JNX (formats directly loaded by QMS).

An advantage of the GEMF format is that reading the tiles from the map file is very fast.

The MOBAC Mobile Atlas Creator can be used as a source of raster maps.
With the help of this application
the user can load tiles of on-line maps as well as some other map formats and save them as raster maps. Use GEMF or RMAP as output formats.
For details check the MOBAC Wiki.

The proprietary Mapsforge vector map format, which is rather popular on mobile phones, can be read by the latest version of MOBAC.
After converting a mapsforge map to a GEMF map with MOBAC, the GEMF map can be loaded with QMS. Remark: This conversion can take
some time depending on the size and the structure of the map!

The MAPC2MAPC64 map converter is designed as a
converter between various raster map formats.

Remark about the QMS Windows version: Many applications handling geodata use the GDAL package. Thus, it may happen that several different versions of this package
can be found on the computer with different support for raster map formats. In order to avoid version conflicts QMS works exclusively with the GDAL version in its
installation directory. Thus, a change of the GDAL related environment variables doesn't result in a change of the GDALversion used by QMS.

How to use Russian military and similar raster maps with QMapShack?

Source: Newsgroup thread

When downloading a map tile 2 files are created:
a GIF file (or other image file) with the raster map and an OZIExplorer MAP file with geodetic calibration data.

  • QMapShack supports the use of raster maps via VRT files. These files can be created with the GDALBuildVRT tool
    and can also be accessed from within QMapShack.
    Doing so leads for the above mentioned maps to an error message indicating that
    georeference data can't be found within the MAP files.

  • To make the raster map usable for QMapShack the following procedure (described for a Windows installation) can be used:

    • Ensure that the GDAL toolset and the proj.dll are in the QMapShack installation directory.
    • Add this directory to the PATH environment variable
    • Ensure that the data subdirectory of the QMapShack installation directory is properly installed
    • Add this directory to the GDAL_DATA environment variable
    • Move the image and the map file to a location where QMS is looking for maps or add the directory where
      these files are located to your QMapShack map paths.
    • Run

    gdalwarp -of VRT full_path_to_your_raster_map.vrt

    • Remarks:

      • It is unclear why GDALBuildVRT does not find the georeference information.
      • If there is a need to move the files discussed in this topic to a different location then repeat this procedure! The VRT file has a pointer to the relative or absolute path of the MAP file.
  • Raster maps may have borders. Use QMapTool to cut the map to the wanted shape without borders. For details compare section
    "Raster maps"

Why is a raster map not displayed?


Consider the following hints:

  • Use gdalinfo to verify if the required VRT file provides proper information. Keep in mind that the VRT file
    is just an XML wrapper around your
    real raster map file. It stores a path to that file. If the path changes,
    the VRT file has to be created again.
  • If the map is loaded correctly, QMS may suppress drawing the map because it
    would take too long. In this case the map boundary is still visible as a black frame as shown on the left of
    the following images.

To force drawing of the map zoom in into the map.

Raster map not displayed Raster map displayed
Raster map boundary Raster map

If overview maps are supported (compare section Basic knowledge about maps and DEM files)
then the raster map is displayed with lower
level of detail when zooming out.

Overview raster map

Data of raster maps may be outdated. To assess the data quality use the possibility to overlay the raster map
with a map providing recent data (e.g. on-line Google map) in QMS. The following example reveals that the
German motorway A4 was reconstructed and avoids now some mountain area.

Raster map with overlay

  • If you have a layer of raster maps reading the files and scaling the content to an upper zoom level is
    getting more and more resource intensive the more you zoom out. To avoid endless map loading, QMS will
    skip the map if the effort to display it is getting too large.
    However, if QMS detects overview levels attached to the map it will use them. gdaladdo is the tool to do so.
    Things are getting a bit more difficult for insane large map collections. gdaladdo will create an overview
    file over all maps combined in the VRT file. That might get too large. In this case you have to create single
    overview files and combine them in a VRT file.

How to find the location of a raster map?

A raster map requires a VRT file to display it in QMS. The location of a raster map is part of the information
of the VRT file.
The gdalinfo tool can be used to display this information in a readable way. Call the tool
from the command line as follows:

gdalinfo complete_path_to_vrt_file

Be sure the path to

  • gdalinfo is set in the PATH environment variable,
  • the GDAL data subdirectory is set in the GDAL_DATA environment variable.

Here is an example of the result:

Files: c:\Maps\WT\500k--m32-2.vrt
Corner Coordinates:
  Upper Left  (  490191.757, 5773077.762) (  8d51'24.88"E, 52d 5'11.35"N)
  Lower Left  (  490191.757, 5534334.766) (  8d51'48.12"E, 49d56'25.79"N)
  Upper Right (  719872.602, 5773077.762) ( 12d12'17.72"E, 52d 2'34.72"N)
  Lower Right (  719872.602, 5534334.766) ( 12d 3'38.19"E, 49d54' 0.62"N)
  Center      (  605032.180, 5653706.264) ( 10d29'46.95"E, 51d 0'14.73"N)

The coordinates given help to identify the location of the raster map on the QMS map screen. An easy way to do so is to
define a waypoint in QMS with coordinates at the center of the raster map defined above and then to double click on the
waypoint. This centers the map in QMS to the waypoint and thus to the raster map.

Is it possible to use several VRT files?

Compare: newsgroup

Raster maps and DEM (Digital Elevation Model) data are supported in QMS via corresponding VRT files.
Several VRT files can be used. It is up to the user to organize the files properly.

When to use GDALWarp to get VRT file?

The fastest way to create a VRT file for a raster map is the VRT builder included in QMS (select menu Tool - VRT Builder). This tool calls the GDAL GDALBuildVRT.exe for the creation of the VRT file. For some raster maps the tool may fail with some error message, e.g. of the form

Warning 6: gdalbuildvrt does not support rotated geo transforms.

The reason for this error message is that GDALBuildVRT can not create VRT files for raster maps that need additional projection transformations (in the example due to a rotated map). Such transformations can be carried out with the help of GDALWarp. GDALWarp has VRT as one of its output formats. Thus, in the described situation run the following command from a command line:

gdalwarp -of VRT input_raster_file_name output_VRT_file_name

and use the VRT thus obtained in QMS.

Remark: The VRT file obtained from GDALWarp has a more complicated structure than the one obtained from GDALBuildVRT. They show in the first line of the VRT file the additional info


Is it possible to use EPSG codes for the coordinate system setup?

(inspired by newsgroup discussion)

Geodetic coordinate systems can be identified by a so-called EPSG code. If this code is known for a coordinate system, then it can be used
for the setup of the coordinate system used for the map or the map grid.


  • WGS 84, geographic:


    more detailed proj.4 setting of this coordinate system:

    +proj=longlat +datum=WGS84 +no_defs
  • WGS 84 / Pseudo-Mercator (selected in QMS/QMT via "World Mercator (OSM) - datum WGS_1984")


    more detailed proj.4 setting of this coordinate system:

    +proj=merc +a=6378137 +b=6378137 +lat_ts=0.0 +lon_0=0.0 +x_0=0.0 +y_0=0 +k=1.0 +units=m +nadgrids=@null +wktext +no_defs

Parts of the coordinate system (projection, datum ellipsoid) can be described in a similar way if the EPSG code is known.

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