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Available languages — Rendering
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Rendering a map from raw geodata, gives us the flexibility to style it in many different ways. OpenStreetMap's free and open geodata offers tremendous power, and a range of tools are available for rendering with OpenStreetMap

The process of rendering a map generally means taking raw geospatial data and making a visual map from it. Often the word applies more specifically to the production of a raster image, or a set of raster tiles, but it can refer to the production of map outputs in vector-based formats. "3D rendering" is also possible taking map data as an input. The ability to render maps in new and interesting styles, or highlighting features of special interest, is one of the most exciting aspects having open access to geodata. Developers in and around the OpenStreetMap community have created a wide variety of software for rendering OpenStreetMap data. The data can also be converted to other data formats for use with existing rendering software.

Rendering on OpenStreetMap servers

The most obvious examples of rendering OpenStreetMap data, are those found on the homepage. Click the layer picker button on the right to switch between layers showing different rendering styles. There are several layers created using Mapnik software including the default 'Standard' layer. To understand more about the infrastructure involved in rendering and serving these tiles' map styles, see Component overview and Mapnik Rendering.

There are limitless dimensions of flexibility involved in rendering. Most rendering software supports some kind of stylesheet for controlling things like colour, line widths, text orientation, icons for points of interest, and many very subtle visual factors.

Server and command line tools

Name Target platforms Target languages License Notes
AlaCarte Windows, Linux N/A AGPL
Kartograph Cross-platform Python AGPL Python framework to create SVG maps
Kothic Cross-platform Python Unknown a MapCSS/0.2 python rendering engine.
LunaRender Windows Lua MIT XML2SVG renderer
Mapnik Windows, macOS, Linux C++, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, Java LGPL The most popular server-side 2D map renderer. Requires PostgreSQL and various C++ libraries. Designed to be fast and is suitable for tile generation on high-end servers but it isn't particularly easy to set up.
MapOSMatic Cross-platform Python AGPLv3 Can render maps with a grid and street index. Written in Python/Django + mapnik.
MapSurfer.NET Windows, Linux C# MIT Framework for map styling and publishing (rendering, caching) geospatial data to the Web.
node-mapbox-gl-native Node.js JavaScript BSD Node.js package for rendering Mapbox Vector Tiles using OpenGL
osmCache Java EE Java Proprietary A Java EE servlet to control rendering and rerendering of tiles with Mapnik.
Smrender Cross-platform C GPLv3 a rules-based rendering engine written in C
vector-tile-ascii Node.js JavaScript BSD ASCII renderer for OpenStreetMap vector tiles

Client-side GUI applications

Name Target platforms License Notes
Hardware accelerated real-time rendering .Net Proprietary using graphics card to render images in real-time, instead of displaying prerendered tiles
Kendzi3d Java SE BSD Plugin for JOSM, allows viewing of edited data in 3D
Kosmtik Node.js BSD CartoCSS editor based on Mapnik and TileMill
Maperitive Windows, macOS, Linux Proprietary local file (.osm, .osm.bz2 and GPX) desktop rendering application, with rendering rules defined in a text file. Generates BMP, PNG and SVG output. Not designed for high performance rendering or huge volumes of data, but easy to set up and flexible, and a good option for one-off rendering (e.g. a map of your city). It also has a tile generator, hillshading, elevation colouring and lots of other features.
OSM2World Java SE LGPL Tool that creates 3D models from OSM data files
TopoMapCreator Windows GPLv2 Desktop application based on Mapnik. It creates automatically topographic maps from OSM, NASA and ESA data. Select a map extent (by dragging over a world map), click on the start button and wait for the GeoTIFF, ECW, GALILEO, ORUXMAPS or NAVIMAP output.
XNavigator Java SE GPLv2 OSM in 3D

Client-side libraries

Main article: Frameworks

Name Target platforms Target languages License Notes
Cartagen Web JavaScript MIT HTML5 Canvas/JavaScript-based renderer
CartoType Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, Unix C++ Proprietary Rendering and routing library
Halcyon Flash ActionScript WTFPL Rendering library developed by Richard Fairhurst and used within Potlatch 2
Kartograph Web JavaScript LGPL JavaScript library to display vector generated maps in any browser
Kothic JS Web JavaScript BSD Full-featured JavaScript map rendering engine using HTML5 Canvas. It was initially developed as a JavaScript port of Kothic.
libosmscout Linux, macOS, iOS, Windows, Android, Qt C++, Java LGPL Offers simple, high-level interfaces to offline rendering and routing functionalities based on OpenStreetMap data.
Mapbox Android SDK Android Java BSD Displays Mapbox Vector Tiles in a slippy map using OpenGL ES
Mapbox GL JS Web JavaScript BSD Displays Mapbox Vector Tiles in a slippy map using WebGL
Mapbox iOS SDK iOS Objective-C, Swift, Interface Builder BSD Displays Mapbox Vector Tiles in a slippy map using OpenGL ES
Mapbox macOS SDK macOS Objective-C, Swift, Interface Builder, AppleScript BSD Displays Mapbox Vector Tiles in a slippy map using OpenGL
Mapbox Qt SDK Qt C++ BSD Displays Mapbox Vector Tiles in a slippy map using OpenGL
Mapsforge Android, Java ME Java LGPLv3 free and open toolbox that enables the community to easily create new OpenStreetMap-based applications. Provided tools and APIs include solutions for map rendering, route planning and navigation, POI indexing and search, map overlays and more.
Nutiteq Maps SDK Android, iOS, Windows Phone Java, Objective-C, Swift, C# Proprietary Cross-platform SDK for mobile maps with vector rendering by Carto. Supports 3D city overlays, editable vector overlays and is highly customizable.
osm2x3d Web JavaScript LGPLv3 OSM 3D converter using native WebGL rendering (x3dom JS library)
Tangram Web JavaScript MIT 2D and 3D map renderer using WebGL
Tangram ES Android, iOS, Linux, macOS C++ MIT 2D and 3D map renderer using OpenGL ES


The following renderers are no longer maintained but are of historical interest:

  • Kosmos – local file (.osm) rendering engine based on GDI/.NET (Windows), with rendering rules defined on a wiki page. Not designed for high performance rendering or huge volumes of data, but very flexible, and good option for one-off rendering. Superseded by Maperitive
  • Mapweaver - Successor of Perl rendering, OSM to SVG and with Inkscape to PNG or PDF, automatic map key. Supports street and POI lists, grids and coordinate overlays. Automatic extraction of desired place out of OSM file. Not running under Windows.
  • Memphis – a map-rendering application and a library for OpenStreetMap written in C using eXpat, Cairo and GLib. It's licensed under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License.
  • Osm2pov - Tool for creating isometric maps from OSM data
  • Osmarender - XSLTs which does OSM XML to SVG transformation. tiles@home was a project which uses Osmarender to create a tile set for serving a map layer alongside Mapnik's, but Osmarender can also be a good option for doing one-off renderings. SVG format allows you to do post-processing tidy up tweaks (see other options below). It was withdrawn from the main map at on 1th March 2012.
  • osmbrowser – can load large areas of OSM data and render them in vector graphics.
  • - simple maps easily drawn with a Perl program. Uses *.osm as input.
  • Pyrender – a collection of ideas, and some code in Python for various rendering server steps
  • TileMill is a frontend solution to handle a user defined rendering of Mapnik. Uses the simpler CartoCSS language instead of Mapnik XML.
  • VTM – cross-platform vector tile renderer developed by the OpenScienceMap project

See also