Use of the Flemish geographical data portal Geopunt in QGIS

Geopunt website

Geopunt is the central portal for geographical data of the Flemish government. Beside an online viewer, a catalogue is available from where data can be downloaded. A lot of these data are free to download (e.g. orthophotos), other data is available depending on your user profile (e.g. soil map)

Download through the Geopunt4Qgis plugin

Geopunt recently developed a plugin for QGIS. After installation, you’ll find these icons added to your QGIS menu:


Whereas you can look up addresses, POI’s and road constructions, the possibility to search the Geopunt catalog from Qgis (last icon) is arguably the plugin’s best feature. From a pop-up window you can search all geopunt data. These data can be either added to your project directly as WMS of WFS, or can be downloaded. Whe you opt for download, you are redirected to the respective download page of geopunt or agiv. In the case of vector data, you should opt for shapefiles.

Legends for shapefiles

QGIS can manage shapefiles (.shp) very well, but not the ESRI legend files (.lyr of .avl) that usually come with them. The consequence is that the vector layer is loaded without the desired lay-out (all polygons have the same color and a black line border):

The soil map of Flanders opened in QGIS

You will have to make the legend yourself through the Style menu in the dialogue window vector properties. Choose ‘categorized’ in case of a discrete variable and refer to the corresponding column in the dataset. Now click ‘classify’. All column values will have a different color assigned to them. Now you can manually change these colors. In the last QGIS release (2.6), the handy ‘color picker’ can be used for this purpose.

The Color picker tool in the Style menu

Subsequently, open an example of the map (e.g. a pdf) in a separate window, and sample the correct color for each of the categories by clicking on the example map. The soil map layer in QGIS now just looks like the original:

The soil map of Flanders in QGIS with imitated legend

The legend can be saved through ‘save style’ in the layer properties window for all your future projects as well to share with other QGIS users. Choose QGIS Layer Style File (.qml). My .qml legends for the soil map and map of biological value (BWK2) of Flanders can be downloaded here. Hopefully Agiv will provide these legend files in the future through the Geopunt data portal!