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 x 256 pixel images. e.g.:

42.png

This isn't always the case, For example CloudMade offers OpenStreetMap 64 x 64 pixel images for mobile use, however 256 x 256 pixel images are becoming a de facto standard driven by Google Maps.

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


  • Tiles@Home, was a rendering engine that lets lots of clients render small tiles for the slippy map

Technical data

Development

Servers

Name type covered latency comment tiles url [1] Tile example
OSM mapnik
basic map
Tile usage policy
base a b 42.png
OSM mapnik
Mapquest OSM
compare
base 1 2 Tile mapquest.png.jpeg
OpenCycleMap
Cycle map
compare
base a b Tile cycling.png
HOT style
Humanitarian focused OSM base layer
base a b Humanitarian style.png
OpenPisteMap
Ski map
overlay [2] Tile pistemap.png
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
Toolserver
Cycling routes
compare
overlay a Tile cycling toolserver.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 a b Tile mapnikb&w.png
Stamen
Black & White map
compare
base Black&White, printing [8] Tile stamentonerb&n.png
Transport
Transport map
compare
base a b Tile transport.png
Öpnvkarte
Transport map
compare
base [9] Tile opnvtransport.png
OpenPtMap
Transport map
compare
overlay Transport [10] Tile openptmaptransport.png
Stamen
Artistic map
compare
base Watercolor [11] Tile watercolor stamen.jpg
Lyrk Geodienste
general map
base specific amount of delivered tiles are for free, more traffic available by paying. retina tiles optional. Lyrk tile.png

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

Notes

  1. Copy the destination of the link to get the url for OpenLayers

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.