At GeoCat we are wrapping up our release candidate of the new Bridge plug-in for QGIS this week. We are grateful to all who installed the experimental plugin and provided feedback.

This update is an opportunity to highlight some of the work the GeoCat Bridge team has been doing. Their goal was to improve both the technology and the product ahead of our release.

Highlights of QGIS plug-in

Fine-tuning cartography 

Developing a QGIS Plugin for GeoCat Bridge has been a great chance to take a look at the different rendering engines used by QGIS, GeoServer, MapServer and MapBox.GL.

These sorts of visual comparisons reveal differences in how styling is defined. The example above helped discover how many different ways QGIS has to represent transparency.

Navigating platform differences

The development work on the QGIS plug-in revealed a few differences that are not so easily addressed.

Given an original map in QGIS Desktop, with rendering rules selected based on scale:

If we zoom to this same area with GeoServer, we end up with a different image!
Zooming closer we can see all the missing detail:

What is going on? This is a visual side-effect of QGIS and GeoServer working with different scale calculations:

  • QGIS is calculating scale based on measuring an approximate width of the current map.
  • GeoServer has a choice of scale methods, the default scaleMethod=ogc approach using a simplified scale calculation for interoperability, and scaleMethod=accurate taking into account the ellipsoidal shape of the earth.

We look forward to discussing these differences with the respective open source projects.

GeoCat Bridge QGIS plug-in availability

GeoCat Bridge provides a great one-click publishing story for Desktop GIS users. GeoCat Bridge publishes your geographic data, metadata and mapping to your choice of open source server platform.

We are pleased to offer GeoCat Bridge to our customers as both an ArcMap extension and, shortly, as a QGIS plug-in. To obtain GeoCat Bridge please see our product page. A trial evaluation is also available.

Part of a vibrant Open Source community

GeoCat is pleased to be a member of the open source community. We would like to acknowledge everyone’s support with answering questions, reviewing pull-requests, and generally being amazing.

In line with our passion as an open source company, the technology behind our QGIS plug-in is GPL on GitHub, with Python MIT support libraries.


Do you want to know more about the Bridge developments and what they could bring you? Please contact Jody Garnett at


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