Often one needs to create a map that can be printed or published. QGIS has a powerful tool called Print Composer that allows you to take your GIS layers and package them to create maps. The tutorial shows how to create a map of Japan with standard map elements like map inset, grids, north arrow, scale bar and labels. We will use the Natural Earth dataset - specifically the Natural Earth Quick Start Kit that comes with beautifully styled global layers that can be loaded directly to QGIS. The tutorial shows how to create a map of Japan with standard map elements like map inset, grids, north arrow, scale bar and labels. We will use the Natural Earth dataset - specifically the Natural Earth Quick Start Kit that comes with beautifully styled global layers that can be loaded directly to QGIS. You would see a lot of layers in the table of content and a styled world map in the QGIS canvas. If you see errors displayed at the top of the canvas, click on the cross to close it. layers. Before we make a map suitable for printing, we need to choose an appropriate projection. This dataset comes in Geographic Coordinate System (GCS) where the units are degrees. This is not appropriate for a map where you want the distances to be in kilometers or miles. We need to use a Projected Coordinate System that minimizes distortions for our region of interest and has units in meters. Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) is a decent choice for a projected coordinate system. It is also global, so it’s a good default that you can rely on and choose a UTM zone that contains your area of interest to minimize distortions for your region. In our case, we will use UTM Zone 54N. Click the For Japan, Japan Plane Rectangular CS is a projected coordinate reference system (CRS) that is designed for minimum distortions. It is divided in 18 zones and if you are working for a smaller region in Japan, using this CRS will be better. to display the full extent of the Layout. Now we would have to bring the map view that we see in the QGIS Canvas to the composer. Go to You will see that the rectangle window will be rendered with the map from the main QGIS canvas. The rendered map may not be covering the full extent of our interest area. Select Now we will add a map inset that shows a zoomed in view for the Tokyo area. Before we make any changes to the layers in the main QGIS window, check the Drag a rectangle at the place where you want to add the map inset. You will now notice that we have 2 map objects in the Print Composer. When making changes, make sure you have the correct map selected. Select the panel and check the box next to it. You can change the color and thickness of the frame border so it is easy to distinguish against the map background. One neat feature of the Print Composer is that it can automatically highlight the area from the main map which is represented in our inset. Select the By default, the grid lines use the same units and projections as the currently selected map projections. However, it is more common and useful to display grid lines in degrees. We can select a different CRS for the grid. Click on the Now we will add a North Arrow to the map. The Print Composer comes with a nice collection of map-related images - including many types of North Arrows. Click Holding your left mouse button, draw a rectangle on the top-right corner of the map canvas. On the right-hand panel, click on the tab, make sure you have chosen the correct map element for which to display the scalebar. Choose the Style that fit your requirement. In the Once you are satisfied with the map, you can export it as Image, PDF or SVG. For this tutorial, let’s export it as an image. Click Source.