Styling maps

You can use any kind of CSS that you like to style maps made with SVGIS. However, when using the inline option, SVGIS supports a subset of CSS.

This applies both to the selectors, which are limited by Python’s built-in XML support, and to the declarations, which are limited by the styling rules for SVG.

A few useful things to know about how SVGIS draws maps:

  • SVGIS places all the features in a layer in a group. This group has an id equal to the layer’s name, and a class equal to the column names of the layer.
  • The class-fields and id-field options can be used to add a class and id to the the drawing’s elements. SVGIS always adds the layer name as a class to each feature.
  • Polygons with holes are drawn as path elements with the class polygon.
  • SVGIS can set the id and class of features based on the input data.
  • By default, SVGIS draws black lines and no fill on shapes.

Style the features in a layer

This works because every element of layer cb_2014_us_nation_20m.shp will have the class cb_2014_us_nation_20m.

.cb_2014_us_nation_20m {
    fill: blue;
    stroke: green;
    stroke-width: 1px;
    stroke-dasharray: 5, 3, 2;

Style certain layers

Say that we’re combining geodata from the US Census with data from Natural Earth. All Census layers have a GEOID field, and we use this to draw these layers with a opacity: 0.50.

/* example.css */
.GEOID * {
    opacity: 0.50;
.tl_2015_us_aiannh {
    fill: orange;
.ne_10m_time_zones {
    stroke-width: 2px;

Use this style to create a map projected in North America Equidistant Conic.

svgis draw --style example.css \
    --project EPSG:102010 \
    tl_2015_us_state.shp \
    tl_2015_us_aiannh.shp \
    ne_10m_time_zones.shp \
    -o out.svg

Style all polygons in a drawing

Polygons with holes are drawn as paths, and multipolygons are drawn in groups. To style all polygons, use the .polygon class:

.polygon {
    fill: orange;
    stroke: black;
    stroke-opacity: 0.8;

Styling with data

The SVGIS class-fields and id-field options can be used to add class and id attributes to the output SVG. These, in turn, can be used to style the map based on the data.

Note that the SVGIS has to do minor clean up on the data. Whitespace is replaced with underscores, and periods, numbers signs and double-quote characters (.#") are removed. Null values are represented with the Pythonic “None”.

Additionally, CSS classes and IDs technically must begin with ascii letters, underscores or dashes. Classes and IDs that begin with other characters (after stripping illegal characters) are prefixed with an underscore (_).

Style a specific element

To style just Germany in the Natural Earth countries layer, use the id-field option to set the ID of all features to their name_long. This example also includes lakes. Because lakes don’t have a name_long atribute, the individual polygons won’t have an ID field.

svgis draw --style purple.css \
    --id-field name_long \
    ne_110m_admin_0_countries.shp \
    ne_110m_lakes.shp \
    -o out.svg
/* purple.css */
#Germany {
    fill: purple;

#ne_110m_admin_0_countries polygon,
#ne_110m_admin_0_countries .polygon {
    fill: tan;

#ne_110m_lakes polygon,
#ne_110m_lakes .polygon {
    fill: blue;

Styling groups of elements

Use the class-fields option to add classes to data based on their data. In this example, the income_grp field in the admin-0 data set it used. This is ideal of SVGIS, since the data is already broken into bins. These bins have names like “5. Low Income”, which SVGIS is sanitized to 5_Low_Income.

/* style.css */
.income_grp_5_Low_income {
    fill: blue;
.income_grp_3_Upper_middle_income {
    fill: green;
svgis draw --style style.css \
--class-fields income_grp \
ne_110m_admin_0_countries.shp \
-o out.svg