Completing the Land Documentation Process: Printing in QGIS

Cadasta recently released a Quantum Geographic Information System (QGIS) plugin that enables partners to edit projects and records and as well as import existing data into the platform. One of the QGIS features we are most excited about is the “Atlas Preview” Print Composer. This feature allows users to automatically create and print dynamic reports in QGIS based on the data collected in Cadasta. We have added documentation to the platform user guide regarding the setup instructions as well as useful tips on how best to use QGIS to create custom reports for your organization to print your data.


Step One: Open up the Print Composer

After installing the Cadasta plugin and downloading the Cadasta data collected into QGIS, open up the QGIS’ “Print Composer”. The Print Composer will open to a different environment than the regular QGIS view.

You can change the “Composition” of the page in the settings on the right. For this example, we will change the “Orientation” to “Portrait”.


Step Two: Layer Setup

After editing the settings to the paper size and orientation you require, click on the “Atlas Generation” tab on the right as shown below. This is where you can choose which layer of data you would like to import.

Cadasta divides all of the data collected into three files; location, party, and relationship. If you want to create a report that accesses data from multiple files, we recommend you join the Cadasta tables (see more on how to do this here).

If you are only using location data, or if you have joined the party and relationship columns to the location layer, then you can choose this layer as the “coverage layer” for the reports. You can also choose a field to act as the page name for when you are looping through all of the rows in your data– an “id” or “name” field will work.

Step Three: Create the Report

Using the “Print Composer” tools on the left, you can drag and drop text fields, images, and map screenshots to the page.  

For values that need to be brought in dynamically, you will need to create a text box and in the “Main properties” section under the “items properties” tab, you will want to “Insert an expression”.

This action opens up the “field calculator”, which allows you to conduct math equations, write custom code, and pull in values from your data.

To pull in your data, open the “Fields and Values” then double click the field you would like to pull in and click “Save”. Alternatively, you could also write in the name of the value you want to pull in with this format “[% “name” %]”.

Once you complete the three steps you should have a report template that looks like this:

Step Four: Turn on the Atlas Preview

Once we have the “Atlas Preview” settings turned on, we can click through the different land titles that will print.  This setting allows you to access each set of parcel and party information separately.

Using the toggles on the top right, you can dynamically preview what each print off will look like (notice how the name of the party is the page name):



Using QGIS for custom print reports provides many benefits, such as dragging and dropping fields where you need them, working offline, sharing templates, and speeding up the map to report workflow.  

You can gain more insight into the Cadasta QGIS plugin through our in-progress documentation: