basemap.at & QGIS: How to get a sharp picture of Austria

Using the WMTS-Service basemap.at in ESRI ArcGIS Pro (v 1.4) and QGIS (v 2.18) I discovered some differences in the display-quality of the WMTS-Service in both programs – while basemap.at was a beauty in ArcGIS Pro, the display-quality in QGIS was not that smooth… (@same extent etc.)

Basemap.at QGIS versus ArcGIS Pro

My first thought was having some distortion because of SRS-differneces between the service and my map-frame  – but the service and the map-frame have been EPSG 3857 (Google Pseudo Mercator). After some research, I discovered that the problem was related to the pre-defined scale-levels in QGIS and the scale-levels of the basemap.at WMTS.

How to get a sharp picture of Austria in QGIS ?

The scale-levels of the map-frame are defined in „Settings“ – „Options“ – „Map Tools“. We have to change them to the scale-levels of basemap.at WMTS…

The scale-levels for basemap.at can be defined as a XML-file and imported into QGIS (Import scale-levels button). Be aware to remove the default levels first („-“ button).

Scale-levels XML for basemap.at:

<qgsScales version="1.0">
      <scale value="1:591657550"/>
      <scale value="1:295828775"/>
      <scale value="1:73957193"/>
      <scale value="1:36978596"/>
      <scale value="1:18489298"/>
      <scale value="1:9244649"/>
      <scale value="1:4622324"/>
      <scale value="1:2311162"/>
      <scale value="1:1155581"/>
      <scale value="1:577790"/>
      <scale value="1:288896"/>
      <scale value="1:144448"/>
      <scale value="1:72224"/>
      <scale value="1:36112"/>
      <scale value="1:18056"/>
      <scale value="1:9028"/>
      <scale value="1:4514"/>
      <scale value="1:2256"/>
    </qgsScales>

With the new defined scale-levels you should get a smoother basemap.at and can check the settings at the bottom bar of QGIS in the scale-field:

Default and basemap.at Scale-levels in QGIS

I don’t know why ArcGIS realizes the scale-levels and QGIS does not (normally the levels are in the services metadata). Alternatively you can try the PlugIn „Tile Map Scale“ which addresses the same problem.