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slippy map screenshot (from year 2010)

Freemap ( is a custom OSM renderer which aims to provide output from OSM data with particular emphasis on countryside users and walkers. Due to resource limitations it is currently restricted to England and Wales.

It is not just an OSM renderer though. Users can add countryside-specific data on top of the maps, such as walking routes and annotations including location of blocked paths, nice views and path directions. See About page for more detail.

Its author is Nick Whitelegg. OSM data, stored in a standard PostGIS database, and Ordnance Survey LandForm PANORAMA contours are rendered using Kothic JS.


Due to being a not-for-profit project, Freemap runs on a VM rather than a high-powered server. Experimentally, Freemap now covers all of England and Wales. This means that the map will be slow to appear the first time any user visits a given area, but due to server-side caching it will be much quicker on subsequent visits. It also means that there may be problems displaying large cities, particularly at lower zoom levels, though the default zoom level has coped in tests with Bristol and most of London apart from the tile immediately northwest of the central (City/Westminster) area.

Web Services

The Freemap platform also offers various web services to access the underlying OSM data as GeoJSON or XML. Likely to be of particular interest is tsvr.php, a service which provides tiled GeoJSON or XML data using standard "Google" xyz tiles. See here for more details. These web services are currently used by the front-end renderer as well as various apps including Hikar and OpenTrail, and also OpenTrailView.

Setting up your own Freemap Server

You might want to set up Freemap on your own server, for example to offer Freemap maps to other parts of the UK or world not covered by, or offer Freemap web services, for example for use by Hikar. Here are the steps to set up a Freemap server:

  • Populate a standard OSM PostGIS database via the standard procedure (see here)
  • Check out the github repository here and install to your server.
  • The PHP scripts assume that the PostGIS dbname and user are both 'gis'. Please edit the values of PG_DBNAME and PG_USER in Freemap/common/defines.php if not.
  • Run the database.sql file provided in the repository's root directory. This will set up the additional database tables which are not part of the standard OSM PostGIS database (users, annotations, walkroutes and panoramas).
  • If you wish to offer a front-end, download the third-party JavaScript libraries required (leaflet 0.5.1 and kothic-js) - TODO add full instructions for this. If you are just interested in setting up the web services, this is not necessary.
  • If setting up a Freemap server for Hikar, download appropriate NASA SRTM height files (see SRTM). Also, change the path to HGTDIR in Freemap/common/defines.php so that it points to the directory containing your SRTM data. If you are not setting up a Freemap server for Hikar, this step is not needed.
  • I *think* that should give you a working installation! Please edit this if not.

Other "Freemaps" might be confused with other projects of a similar name: