#PluginFridays: MapSwipe Tool


Swiping (apologies to Dora the Explorer) is a simple way to show the difference between two layers or highlight changes over time. I’ve found that this neat trick is very effective in grabbing people’s attention or getting a reaction from them. It’s a common feature you can see in webmaps using Leaflet and Mapbox. This functionality is also available in desktop GIS like GRASS through the Map Swipe and QGIS via the MapSwipe Tool plugin

If you don’t know how to install plugins yet, you can check-out this post for QGIS 2 and this post for QGIS 3.

The Plugin

You can install the MapSwipe Tool plugin via Plugins -> Manage and Install Plugins.

MapSwipe Tool plugin

How to Use

The plugin is used in a very straightforward manner. For my example below, I’m using two XYZ maps (Google Satellite and Bing VirtualEarth). The plugin works for both vector and raster layers.

  1. Select the layer that you want to swipe on the Layers panel.

    Select layer in Layers panel
  2. Activate the plugin by clicking the MapSwipe Tool icon in the Plugins toolbar or via Plugins -> Map swipe tool -> Map swipe tool. Note that this will unselect/disable your layer as well.

    MapSwipe Tool in Plugin toolbar
    MapSwipe Tool in Menu bar
  3. Drag your mouse to swipe the selected layer. You can swipe horizontally or vertically.

    Swiping with the plugin
  4. Once finished, click the icon again to deactivate the plugin.

    Deactivate the plugin

That’s it. You can use the MapSwipe Tool on your next mapping project. #HappyMapping!


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