Static map images

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Static maps images (have the potential to) offer an easy way to embed maps on a webpage.

The idea is for web site developers to simply use an <img /> tag (in pure HTML or via a CMS). Its src attribute specifies the location of the map, the size of the image, the zoom level, the type of map, etc. When the webpage is displayed, the browser requests the image from the static map service and the map is displayed with no dynamic features, the same way as any other image.

Most of the options are open source, meaning you could host the service within your own webspace.


  • Of course you can also grab a static map image by simply taking a screenshot; instructions for this vary between operating systems.
  • OSM's own Share panel's Image option also allows generating an image, but not as a permalinkable URL (for one-offs, and not for scripted use)

Comparison Matrix

Functionality OSM Static maps API v0.3 StaticMap staticMapLite Tyler [1]
Status/Reliability Gone Gone Looking unreliable
(recently re-hosted but only reluctantly)
(inherently unreliable)
Map types
  • mapnik
  • cycle
  • osma
  • mapnik
  • cycle
  • osma
  • skiing
  • maplint
  • cloudmade
  • mapnik
  • cycle
  • osma
  • piste
  • topo
  • Anything with a standard tile scheme
Image types gif, jpeg jpeg, png png png
Supported URL Parameters
Google API no lat/lon/zoom yes lat/lon/zoom
OSM Permalink yes yes no yes
Support of Markers
Markers yes yes yes no
Multiple Markers yes max. 10 yes no
Custom Markers no URL based 3 styles no
GUI no yes staticMapWizzard no
Support of Path / Vectors / Polygons / Overlays
Paths yes yes no no
Polygons yes  max. 4 no no
Scale Bar yes no no no

Comparison of request parameters

Besides varying in supported features each implementation has its own request parameter syntax. If you are planning to use one of those, read the documentation that comes with it. Eventually some projects will adapt or implement compatibility modes.

OSM Scheme

  • lat
  • lon
  • zoom
  • layers
  • width
  • height

Google Static Maps API

  • center = latitude,longitude
  • zoom
  • size = width,height
  • format
  • maptype
  • markers
  • path
  • span
  • frame
  • h1
  • sensor

WMS Client getMap Request

  • version
  • request = getmap
  • service = mapnik, osma
  • layers
  • styles
  • srs = EPSG:3857 / EPSG:4326
  • bbox
  • width
  • height
  • format
  • bgcolor
  • transparent
  • exceptions