Vector tiles are a way to deliver geographic data in small chunks to a browser or other client application. Vector tiles are similar to raster tiles, but instead of raster images, the data returned is a vector representation of the features in the tile. Some vector tile sources are clipped so that all geometry is bounded in the tiles, potentially chopping features in half. Other vector tile sources serve unclipped geometry so that a whole lake may be returned even if only a small part of it intersects the tile.
Mapbox Vector Tiles
The Mapbox Vector Tile Specification defines a file format commonly used for serving vector data (2.5D, incl. OpenStreetMap).
- Mapbox provides the Mapbox Vector Tiles API
- MapTiler provides a vector tile API
- Stadia Maps provides a vector tile API
- The OpenStreetMap Americana project maintains an OpenMapTiles Community Vector Tile Server for noncommercial use.
- OpenHistoricalMap maintains a public vector tile server.
- Main article: Tile servers
- Tilemaker - Command line tool to generate vector tiles directly from .osm.pbf files
- Planetiler - Flexible tool to build planet-scale vector tilesets from OpenStreetMap data in a few hours
- Sequentially-generate-planet-mbtiles - Generate planet-scale vector tilesets on low memory / low cpu count devices
- OpenMapTiles Tools - Generate vector tiles from OSM data
- 2016-01-19: Mapbox Vector Tile Specification 2.1 is released
- 2014-04-13: Mapbox Vector Tile Specification 1.0.0 is released
- 2010-11-29: TileStache can serve clipped GeoJSON tiles to Polymaps
Some examples of OSM-based maps using vector tiles are:
- Qwant Maps (wiki)
- OsmAPP (wiki)
- OpenStreetMap Americana (wiki)
- VK Maps (former Mail.ru maps)
- Mapbox styles
- The OSM Editing API can also return tiled OSM XML data via bounding box queries; the iD editor uses this mechanism to access OSM source data. Note however that as per the API Usage policy the API should only be used for editing, and explicitly not for read-only purposes or projects.
- /Links — a page with many links about vector tiles