Tiles

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Tiles are rectangular slabs of ceramic affixed in a grid arrangement to your bathroom wall! But here we're much more likely to be talking about map tiles:

  • square bitmap graphics displayed in a grid arrangement to show a map
  • We may also be talking about tiled map data.

This page includes lots of information and technical detail. If you want to use map tiles in your web page or application you can have a look at this tutorial about how to use OpenStreetMap tiles.

Graphical Map Tiles

Map tiles are typically 256×256 pixel images. e.g.:

this example tile

Tiles are not always in these dimensions; for example there could be 64×64 pixel images for mobile use, however 256×256 pixel images are a de facto standard. 515×512 pixel seems to be the usual size of high-resolution tiles.

A "tileset" typically includes enough tiles to form a very large image, if they were shown all at once, and also several zoom levels. Generally the idea is not to show them all at once, but to display a particular area of the map on a website. Normally this is done using a JavaScript map library to provide panning and zooming functionality, and request downloading of new tiles as necessary to show the user new areas of the map (a Slippy Map).

Using tiles

Technical data

Development

Servers

Name type covered latency comment tiles url [1] Tile example source code
openstreetmap-carto
basic map
Tile usage policy
base a b c 42.png https://github.com/gravitystorm/openstreetmap-carto/
Wikimedia Maps
demo server
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Maps
base Experimental 1 Wikimedia-tile.png
OpenCycleMap
Cycle map
compare
base a b Tile cycling.png unavailable, this is a closed source project
HOT style
Humanitarian focused OSM base layer
compare
base map style info a b Humanitarian style.png https://github.com/hotosm/HDM-CartoCSS
OSM France
Priority given to French names and symbols (baguette instead of pretzel for bakery!). Special display for sport fields.
compare
base world, up to z20 Fork of openstreetmap-carto. Some newer features are sometimes experimented and are discussed on the French OpenStreetmap mailing list. Guided tour of improved features. a b c https://github.com/cquest/osmfr-cartocss map
OpenSkiMap
Ski map
overlay [2]
OpenSeaMap
Sea marks
overlay Sea marks only, background transparent [3] Tile seamark.png
Lonvia
Hiking routes
overlay 1D Using osmc:symbol=* [4] Tile lonviahiking.png
Lonvia
Cycling routes
overlay 1D [5] Tile lonviacycling.png
Hike & Bike
Hiking map
compare
DE ? Using osmc:symbol=* [6] Tile hikebike.png
Hillshading
shading
compare
[7] Tile hillshading.png
OSM B&W
mapnik map grayscale
compare
base HTTPS or a + b + c Tile mapnikb&w.png
Stamen Toner
Black & White map
compare
base Black&White, printing, uses Natural Earth at low zooms, retina tiles available

variants available: toner, toner-hybrid, toner-labels, toner-lines, toner-background, toner-lite

[8] Tile stamentonerb&n.png https://github.com/stamen/toner-carto
Stamen Watercolor
Artistic map
compare
base Watercolor [9] Tile watercolor stamen.jpg
Transport
Transport map
compare
base a b Tile transport.png


Thunderforest Landscape
Landscape map
compare
base a b c Tile landscape.png
Thunderforest Outdoors
Outdoors map
base a b c Tile outdoors.png
Öpnvkarte
Transport map
compare
base [10] Tile opnvtransport.png
OpenPtMap
Transport map
compare
overlay Transport [11] Tile openptmaptransport.png
Lyrk Geodienste
general map
compare
base specific amount of delivered tiles are for free, more traffic available by paying. retina tiles optional. Lyrk tile.png
OpenMapSurfer
general map
base is a web map service with a couple of maps rendered with MapSurfer.NET OpenMapSurfer - example.png
Carto Light ("Positron")
general map
Required attribution: "Map tiles by Carto, under CC BY 3.0. Data by OpenStreetMap, under ODbL."
base unlimited use permitted, uses Natural Earth at low zooms, no_labels variant available [12] Cartodb light tile.png
Carto Dark ("Dark Matter")
general map
Required attribution: "Map tiles by Carto, under CC BY 3.0. Data by OpenStreetMap, under ODbL."
base unlimited use permitted, uses Natural Earth at low zooms, no_labels variant available [13] Cartodb dark tile.png
OpenRailwayMap
Railway infrastructure
Usage policy
compare
overlay Railway infrastructure a b c
OpenRailwayMap
Railway maxspeeds
Usage policy
compare
overlay Railway maxspeeds a b c
OpenRailwayMap
Railway signalling
Usage policy
overlay Railway signalling and train protection signals a b c

Also see for example map compare service at bbbike.org. Please obey the usage restrictions of each tile server if you use it heavily!

More webservices to display different OSM based tiles are mapstyle.petschge.de and Leaflet Provider Demo.

Notes:

  1. Copy the destination of the link to get the url with placeholders

Tiled map data

  • QuadTiles, a scheme to make OSM database indexed by tiles
  • OJW's tile data server, first implementation of a cacheable data server, that servs data in the same way as the tileserver.
  • Tile data server, generic definition of how data served as tiles should work. (written by ojw as well...)

Links

  • Switch2OSM, The Basics This page gives some introductory information on the tiles, licence and JavaScript libraries to display the tiles.