Qgis Tips and Tricks: How to Create Circular and Other Shapes Inset Map

Inset map is a smaller map in a frame of a main map to help users get a reference to the surrounding area or bigger extent which is called overview map. An inset map also can be used to show more detailed features of an area in a main map as illustrated in figure 1.

Main map, overview and focus inset map
Figure 1. Main map, overview and focus inset map

Commonly the shape of a main map is in a rectangular shape. How to make it circular or any other shapes?. This tutorial will discuss it. Let's go!

First step: Prepare two map frames in a layout as a main map and a smaller one as an inset map as shown in figure 2.

Main map with a small inset map
Figure 2. Main map with a small inset map

Using the Add Shape tool, draw an ellipse/circle to the layout. If you want to draw a perfect circle, while drawing, push the shift key. Then place the circle over the inset map as shown in figure 3.
Figure 3. Circle over inset map
Select inset map frame and in the Item Properties select Clipping Settings tool as shown in the figure 4.

Figure 4. Clipping settings tool

In the Clipping settings window as in figure 5. Check the Clip to item option and select the shape. The inset map's frame now should be clipped into the circular shape as in the figure 1.

Clipping settings window
Figure 5. Clipping settings window

To change the shape, it could be done by changing the shape to predefined shapes (Triangle, Rectangle or Ellipse) from the shape's properties. Moreover if you want other shapes, you can draw a polygon using Add Node Item > Add Polygon tool as in figure 6. 

Add Polygon tool
Figure 6. Add Polygon tool

Figure 7 shows inset map in ellipse, circular and polygon shape.

Inset map in triangle, ellipse and any polygon shape
Figure 7. Inset map in triangle, ellipse/circular and any polygon shape

That's all the tutorial on how to create various shapes of inset maps like circular, triangle and any polygon shape. With this capability, it gives more freedom in designing a nice and beautiful map in QGIS. Thanks for reading! For other interesting QGIS tips and tricks please visit QGIS Tips and Tricks series.

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