GRASS vector export to Inkscape

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What is Inkscape

Inkscape is a free vector graphics program. The native data format is 'svg' which means 'scalable vector graphics'. The only problem is that there is no direct svg export module in GRASS. But there is a shapefile to svg converter shp2svg converter.

Inkscape uses a coordinate system which represents the final map output (i.e. 210mm x 297mm for A4). Therefore a scaling of the geographic coordinate system is needed. I've get good results from a lat/long region with the following command:

 ogis2svg.exe --input yourinputShapeFile --output youroutputfile.svg --roundval 0.00001 --scale 0.01

You can also use the scale 1 and adept the transformation in incscape (scale(100)).

If you want to import several files into Inkscape you'll have to place them all at the same place. To do this, use the XML-Editor from Inkscape (View->XML Editor) and check that the transformation is the same for all objects (for example: 'transform translate(-7400,1850)')


A sample file can be found here: Inkscape demo map

As you see, I haven't figured out yet how I could use a geographic grid in Inkscape, so that I could add a point or line at specified coordinates. So if anybody has a clue....

Here comes a clue: draw a line in Inkscape, select it then ctrl+shift+x. Now you can see the syntax for a line:

M (moveto) X,Y

L (lineto) X,Y

L ...

L ...

Seems like SVG doesn't define 'Point' element: (+path+text)

More tips on how to use SVG for map layouts

 I prefer to setup my Grass vectors in QGIS print composer (layers,
 labels, legend, scale and many more nice stuff), print that as SVG and
 then load into Inkscape for some fine-tunning.


A module for exporting GRASS vectors was developed by Klaus Förster. The sourcecode of the module can be obtained here: is included in the latest GRASS release.

Convert SVG to EPS for

  • See instructions here.