Using Plugin Layers

If your plugin uses its own methods to render a map layer, writing your own layer type based on QgsPluginLayer might be the best way to implement that.

Subclassing QgsPluginLayer

Below is an example of a minimal QgsPluginLayer implementation. It is based on the original code of the Watermark example plugin.

The custom renderer is the part of the implement that defines the actual drawing on the canvas.

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class WatermarkLayerRenderer(QgsMapLayerRenderer):

    def __init__(self, layerId, rendererContext):
        super().__init__(layerId, rendererContext)

    def render(self):
        image = QImage("/usr/share/icons/hicolor/128x128/apps/qgis.png")
        painter = self.renderContext().painter()
        painter.save()
        painter.drawImage(10, 10, image)
        painter.restore()
        return True

class WatermarkPluginLayer(QgsPluginLayer):

    LAYER_TYPE="watermark"

    def __init__(self):
        super().__init__(WatermarkPluginLayer.LAYER_TYPE, "Watermark plugin layer")
        self.setValid(True)

    def createMapRenderer(self, rendererContext):
        return WatermarkLayerRenderer(self.id(), rendererContext)

    def setTransformContext(self, ct):
        pass

    # Methods for reading and writing specific information to the project file can
    # also be added:

    def readXml(self, node, context):
        pass

    def writeXml(self, node, doc, context):
        pass

The plugin layer can be added to the project and to the canvas as any other map layer:

plugin_layer = WatermarkPluginLayer()
QgsProject.instance().addMapLayer(plugin_layer)

When loading a project containing such a layer, a factory class is needed:

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class WatermarkPluginLayerType(QgsPluginLayerType):

    def __init__(self):
        super().__init__(WatermarkPluginLayer.LAYER_TYPE)

    def createLayer(self):
        return WatermarkPluginLayer()

    # You can also add GUI code for displaying custom information
    # in the layer properties
    def showLayerProperties(self, layer):
        pass


# Keep a reference to the instance in Python so it won't
# be garbage collected
plt =  WatermarkPluginLayerType()

assert QgsApplication.pluginLayerRegistry().addPluginLayerType(plt)