ES:OSM on Paper/Printing via Maperitive, Easy Poster Printer and Microsoft ICE

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Building a free (of cost) high-resolution street atlas from OpenStreetMap is a straightforward job, but it requires access to a computer with sufficient memory to handle rather large image files. The following was done on a 64-bit computer with an Intel i7 CPU at 4 GHz and 16Gb RAM running Windows 10. There are four major steps: download the data, convert the data to one or more images, merge them (if you want a wall map) into one big image, and then print.

Needed software: Maperitive (free software) and Easy Poster Printer (free of cost download). Microsoft ICE (free of cost download) is optional if you want one big map.

A. Download data from OpenStreetMap.

1. Surf to OpenStreetMap.
2. Zoom to desired area. There are limits to how much OpenStreetMap will allow you to download at one time. 50 square miles (5 x 10) seems to work ok. If you need more, use one of the mirror sites.
3. Press the Export button. Note where the .osm file generated is stored on your computer.
4. Move to another part of the map and repeat until all areas of the map you want in your street atlas are included. You now have several files containing all the desired data on your computer. (Note: If you want to download a large area all in one shot, use one of the mirror sites.)

B. Convert .osm to .jpg image files. If Maperitive is not installed on your computer, download it and install it.

5. Launch Maperitive.
6. Open the files you just downloaded, all of them at once.
7. Zoom to a reasonable area (if you try to create a file that is too big, the program will fail). Any scale at or under 1:50,000 seems to work (scale of zoom is displayed in the lower left corner of the map). Use the command zoom-map-scale 50000 (or another scale if you prefer).
8. Enter on the command line in Maperitive the following command: export-bitmap file=filename.jpg dpi=300 map-scale=6691 where filename is the name of the file you want to create. Since you will be creating multiple files, you might want to call it something like "city1.jpg" then the next one will be "city2.jpg" and so on.
9. Repeat on different parts of the city until you have covered everything you want in your atlas. Make sure your bitmaps overlap a bit if you plan to generate a single large image.

If you want one giant image of the whole city (like for a wall map), now do this. If not, skip to D.

C. Merge the .jpg files into one giant image of the city. If Microsoft's Image Composite Editor or ICE is not installed on your computer, download and install it.

10. Open all of the JPG files you just created in ICE.
11. Follow the instructions in ICE to build a composite image from all the JPGs. Be sure to set the quality to 75% and do not use the autofill option.
12. Export the composite image to a new JPG.

You now have a large image file that contains a high-resolution snapshot of the city as well as a bunch of smaller such snapshots of different parts of the city.
If you can print the entire composite image on an industrial plotter, great. Otherwise you can take the file to a professional printer and have it printed there. Alternatively, you can also generate a street atlas that is easily printed on letter-sized paper and carried in your car.

D. Print the .jpg files in a format printable on your desktop printer.

Option D.1. If Easy Poster Printer is not installed on your computer, download it and install it.

13. Open the first of the JPGs you created in Easy Poster Printer.
14. Play with the settings until you have it set for the size of paper you want to use and the scale of the map you want on that size of page. Set "Quality" to 300 dpi.
15. If you want hard copy immediately, print it.
16. If you want to create a PDF file, print it to PDF (this assumes you either have Adobe Acrobat Professional installed on your computer or are running Windows 10, which includes a "Microsoft print to PDF" setting.)
17. Print the PDF file at your leisure. Hint: Windows 10 creates large PDF files. Open them in Adobe Acrobat Professional, if you have access to it, and use the "save as" function to reduce their size to something more reasonable. You may also have some blank pages; you may wish to delete them in Adobe Acrobat Professional. If you don't have Acrobat Professional, recycle the blank pages.
18. Repeat with the remaining JPGs (always using the same scale settings) until you have printed the entire atlas.

Option D.2. Print directly from Maperitive.

19. Edit a copy of the original file ..\Maperitive\Samples\Python\, a script that will generate printable maps for you a page at a time. Instructions for editing are embedded in the file. Try map scale set to 10,000 and increase the maximum number of pages from the default of 30 to however many you will need to print your street atlas.
20. Open your .osm files in Maperitive. 21. Click on Maps/Set Printing Bounds to define how much of the map to print.
22. Drag and drop your edited copy of onto Maperitive.
23. Your files will appear in the ..\Maperitive\output\ folder on your computer. You may print them as is, or combine them into an Adobe PDF file.

Additional Information

  • the Maperitive style file used for producing a 1.5 meter by 1.5 meter wall map of Ashgabat city is there.