Creating your own tiles

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Creating your own tiles is a great way to use OpenStreetMap data. In fact it helps the project if more people do this, since it is a great way to demonstrate the flexibility of OpenStreetMap (you can create your own map style, and render your certain tags more prominently) and it means less load on our tile serving infrastructure.

Tiles are small square map images which, typically get pieced together by the web browser running a javascript library for display "slippy map" (See Deploying your own Slippy Map for the options). Serving a set of tiles can involve simply creating a few folders full of tile images on your web server, following some tile naming conventions. However there are several refreshing and caching strategies to think about (particularly for large areas, or worldwide tilesets) and also several rendering options for creating the map images in the first place.

The Switch2OSM website carries some nicely formatted guides to creating and serving tiles.

If you want to generate your OSM tiles using Mapnik and generate_tiles.py in a "one shot, no updates" fashion, see also osmtilemaker. The main advantage of this approach is that nothing needs to run on the webserver - it just needs a directory of image files. So, for example, you can install all the software on your home PC, and transfer the tiles to your webhost when you're finished.