Natural Earth Quick Start Kit

Natural Earth is a great resource and you have probably already used it. One of the many nice things about Natural Earth is that it gets you started very quickly:
They offer a quick start kit that provides a sample of Natural Earth data as well as a QGIS project file. The project is really well done with appropriate scale-dependent styles and labels for all layers. A screenshot can capture only part of it:

The original Natural Earth Quick Start project

One potential point for improvement is labeling. The project uses old labeling and therefore suffers from label collisions. Changing to new labeling engine results in a clearer picture. (I’ve also added label buffers since both city symbols and labels are black and therefore can get difficult to distinguish.)

Another nice trick is to suppress labels for small features. The minimum size of features to be labeled can be set on the “advanced” tab of the new labeling dialog. In this case, I went with 10 mm to avoid labeling small marine polygons.

Changed to new labeling engine

I haven’t worked through all layers yet, but I am planning to share the updated project file back to the Natural Earth team.

  1. Hi,

    It look nice to implement, How to load in qgis ?


    • underdark said:

      Simply open the QGIS project file contained in the quick start kit. Or do you mean something else?

  2. Brian Hamlin said:

    Thanks for this blog post
    Readers might be interested to know that the Natural Earth data set is featured on OSGeo Live, and many of the applications use it as demonstration data.

    Also note that the Natural Earth data set is not only factually accurate, but contains many useful data attributes in the tables, making it a rich resource for a wide variety of projects.

    Brian Hamlin
    Natural Earth maintainer for OSGeo Live
    OSGeo California Chapter

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