QGIS plugin: Mask

QGIS has many fantastic plugin’s, but one of these I use most in my day to day work when creating maps is the Mask tool. This allows me to either completely, or partially, mask the base map outside my area of interest, so the user can concentrate fully on the features you have mapped within their area of interest.

It’s so simple. Just select the polygons you want outside of which you want the mask and then enter the symbology parameters. I personally make the mask completely white to remove the base map but you could alter transparency levels to really bring the base map alive within the polygon.

Completely white base map outside of London boroughs

Completely white base map outside of London boroughs using a shapeburst effect

Semi transparent mask to show the base map outside of London boroughs

Semi transparent mask to really highlight the base map within the London boroughs

Also, I sometimes like to make the base map slightly lighter so as features you have added are not overwritten by the colour’s in the map. I do this by creating a shapefile, and then filling it in white but increasing the transparency to 60 – 70.

A slightly faded base map within Haringey, to allow features on upmost layers to stand out.

A slightly faded base map within Haringey, to allow features on upmost layers to stand out.

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2 thoughts on “QGIS plugin: Mask

  1. Nice work. I especially like the gradient shading effect you add to the perimeter of your polygon, it really helps to bring out the area of interest. Are you able to combine the gradient with the semi-transparent mask on your second image?

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    • Sorry about the delay, been away. Thanks for the interest – you can have a semi transparent background with the gradient shading effect. Just change the transparency of the layer when you create the mask (from the edit button).

      I am not sure if you could have a semi-transparent background with a full gradient shading as you are changing the transparency of the whole layer.

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