OSM on Paper

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OpenStreetMap offers many possibilities for creating high resolution paper maps. Unlike commercial map services such as Mapquest and Google Maps, there are only a few restrictions on what you can do with OSM images.

Basic Export

The main Export functions on the openstreetmap.org front page, can export arbitrary map areas within a limited range of resolution, suitable for simple situations. The PDF export (found using the "Share" icon) is suitable for printing on high resolution printers. Bitmap output formats are available, but as the resolution is increased the font size gets smaller and text readability does not improve.

Simple web interfaces for printing OSM maps

Note: The two following lists of services are split by coverage and are tried to be sorted by features and overall quality.

Global coverage, English interface

  • Field Papers (web) – Nice multipage atlas printing options. Simple area / page picker interface. Different printable rendering styles, including a nice black and white. Bitmap PDF export. No elevation contours.
MapOSMatic street index
  • MapOSMatic (web) – Generate PNG, detailed Vector PDF or SVG map with a grid and index of the streets. No elevation contours.
  • milvusmap.eu offers a webservice to choose an area of an OSM based map in order to produce and download a rendered map in real PDF with an own style by milvusmap.
  • mapz.com offers high resolution output of OSM based maps with custom overlays. Free to use for non-commercial purposes, and the ability to buy commercially licensed maps. Registration required.
Part of Inkatlas page with elevation contours.
  • Inkatlas – Create multi-page atlases or large format maps at standard scales, optimized for print (black and white or colour). Several paper sizes and map styles, including a topographic one with elevation contours. Users can add their own GPX tracks.
  • Overpass turbo (web) has a nice feature in Export menu: save displayed map as PNG bitmap graphic file, with proper attribution included.
  • BBBike.org extract service offers download of SVG and PNG files for an area of your choice in different stylings, updated weekly.
  • Walking-Papers (web) - popular service as precursor to Field Papers
  • Boundaries Map offers worldwide download of all administrative boundaries in different file formats, SVG is one of them. Database will be updated at midnight, German time. Created by User:wambacher.
  • mapworks is a web service that has features to display either single objects or a whole category (so far: buildings ways etc) with a user defined fill and outline colour, output as PNG or SVG file.

Local services

  • cycle.travel (web) - lets you download a really nice vector PDF after planning a cycle route on the site (Western Europe only, log-in needed for PDF export)
  • Get Veloroad - generates vector and raster images for selected area and size (in mm), allows adding GPX trace. Russia and Baltic states only. Code on github.
  • mapwebbing.eu produces a high quality PNG bitmap file with selection of a certain area and DPI parameter. Currently in German only.
  • printmaps-osm.de PDF with embedded vector data, info legend, print size max. 5000x5000mm, map data available for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, different map styles. BETA, currently in German only.

Other tools specifically for producing printable maps

  • MapPDF for vector PDF renderings
  • Mapapel (Mapapel.com) Printable city maps based on OSM data.
  • TownGuide (townguide.webhop.net) PDF Map Generator with street index and index of user selectable Points of Interest.
  • Osmbook is a program that can print multiple-page map books out of OSM data with a gridded overview, a page index of all printed labels, and optional subgridded pages.
  • MapBook (MapBook)
  • OSM-Atlas creates a PDF street atlas suitable for printing.
  • Generic Mapping Tools (gmt.soest.hawaii.edu) is a collection of tools to produce high quality scientific maps; GMT input files can be derived from OSM e. g. via PostgreSQL/PostGis and the GDAL ogr2ogr conversion utility
  • Smrender is a generic rule-based renderer for printable charts mainly developed to produce sea charts.
  • SplashMaps offers customers a high-quality, water resistant, customisable fabric map of anywhere in the world based on OSM data.
  • Kartograph is a frame work to produce vector tiles in SVG format.
  • OSMgrabber collects a given number of screenshots after moving the map by simulated mouse clicks and pastes them together to a printable PNG file.
  • Nik4 is a mapnik-to-image exporting script. You can set special parameters to get quality graphics for printing or publishing.
  • Mobile Atlas Creator (mobac.sourceforge.net) can be used to create png images for paper maps
  • mapCreator.py a light-weight python script for downloading a set of tiles and stitching them to a single jpeg image
  • Hikingmap a python script to render 1 or more GPX tracks on a minimum amount of pages
  • gb-leisure-carto CartoCSS style and Python script for creating maps in Great Britain which use the OSGB projection and grid. Script could be adapted for other CartoCSS/Mapnik styles
  • OpenPaperMaps is a tool based on the TownGuide. No web service available currently, but can be run locally.

As a big image map

There are many ways of getting a map image which you can then print out.

Generating from existing tile sets

  • Static map images - Services to generate a map image with specified centre point and dimensions
    • StaticMap - Interface to pick from several styles
    • MapQuest Open Static Maps ([1]) - Static map images in the mapquest style
    • bigmap ([2], also bigmap 2) - Forms a big map arranging tile images side by side. Interface to adjust the view. Download a perl script to generate a stitched together image. This results in a very big bitmap image which allows you to print at high resolution, although font size can be a problem.
    • Category:Tile stitching - Lists these and other tools which can download tiles and stitch them together to form a large (hi-res) image.

Rendering an image

Big printout of a Mapnik rendered image

See Rendering for a full list of options and details for setting up your own rendering software.

  • Mapnik is the renderer used to create the default tile layer on the main OSM homepage. It can output SVG.
  • Maperitive is a desktop application for interactive mapping, with many tools and functions, including exporting to bitmaps and SVG files. It works on Windows, Linux and Mac. Maperitive is successor to Kosmos. The latest version can now generate Walking Papers-like maps. Also see this tutorial.
  • Mapweaver is another perl application with customized output.
  • Merkaartor is desktop OSM editor that can output SVG and bitmaps using presets and editable styles.
  • osmrender.pl is a small PERL program that can be customized easily and draws simple maps.
  • Osmarender renders an SVG map image which can generate a high-quality raster image.
  • CartoType's sample program generally displays realtime vector maps from a local offline OSM datafile on a desktop PC according to an own rendering style, you can create easily a PNG bitmap file from current screenview.

Note that many of these renderers can be configured for creating your own tiles, and you might then follow the tile-stitching approaches listed above

Increased resolution, the ability to take a map style configuration and uniformly increase the scale of all of the features, may be important for good quality printouts. See high-resolution tiles.

Usage examples

Styles suitable for black & white printing

Tile of map using Toner style

Almost all styles rely on colours to distinguish features, and as result map printed on black & white printer is typically an useless gray blob. Some styles are designed to not use colours:

Other links / tutorials