Tiles

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Tiles are rectangular slabs of ceramic affixed in a grid arrangement to your bathroom wall. For shops selling such ceramic tiles, see shop=tiles.

Here we are 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 256×256 pixel images. e.g.:

this example tile

Tiles are not always in these dimensions; for example there could be 64×64 pixel images for mobile use, however 256×256 pixel images are a de facto standard. 515×512 pixel seems to be the usual size of high-resolution tiles.

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

Technical data

Development

Servers

This is a list of online raster tile servers based on OpenStreetMap data. For the names of the physical servers that serve openstreetmap.org's map tiles, see Servers/tile.In the URLs provided ${X} and ${y} have to be replaced by the x and y Tile numbers and ${z} by the zoom level. Sometimes the $ is missing. In the URLS to Carto.com and some others there is also a {s} which should be replaced by the subdomain[1]. Subdomains are used to help with browser parallel requests per domain limitation. These subdomains are typically single letters 'a', 'b' and 'c'. Refer to the provider documentation for details of available subdomains.

Base maps

Name free/commercial latency IPv6 comment tiles url Tile example source code
OpenStreetMap's Standard tile layer
openstreetmap.org front page
Tile usage policy
compare
free, funded by donations no https://a.tile.openstreetmap.org/${z}/${x}/${y}.png https://b.tile.openstreetmap.org/${z}/${x}/${y}.png https://c.tile.openstreetmap.org/${z}/${x}/${y}.png 42.png https://github.com/gravitystorm/openstreetmap-carto/
German fork of the Standard tile layer
openstreetmap.de map
usage policy
compare
free, funded by donations minutely updates yes label in German and local language (transliterated where no name in Latin script is available), commercial and high-traffic use restricted https://a.tile.openstreetmap.de/${z}/${x}/${y}.png https://b.tile.openstreetmap.de/${z}/${x}/${y}.png https://c.tile.openstreetmap.de/${z}/${x}/${y}.png https://tile.openstreetmap.de/7/63/42.png https://github.com/giggls/openstreetmap-carto-de/
Wikimedia Maps
demo server
https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/Maps_Terms_of_Use
yes Experimental https://maps.wikimedia.org/osm-intl/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Wikimedia-tile.png https://github.com/kartotherian/kartotherian
OpenCycleMap
OpenCycleMap
compare
commercial, registration required no you need to register to use this, a free plan is available. http://tile.thunderforest.com/cycle/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile cycling.png unavailable, this is a closed source project
Humanitarian map style
Humanitarian focused OSM base layer
compare
no map style info http://a.tile.openstreetmap.fr/hot/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://b.tile.openstreetmap.fr/hot/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Humanitarian style.png https://github.com/hotosm/HDM-CartoCSS
OSM France
Priority given to French names and symbols (baguette instead of pretzel for bakery!). Special display for sport fields.
compare
no Fork of openstreetmap-carto. Some newer features are sometimes experimented and are discussed on the French OpenStreetmap mailing list. Guided tour of improved features. http://a.tile.openstreetmap.fr/osmfr/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://b.tile.openstreetmap.fr/osmfr/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://c.tile.openstreetmap.fr/osmfr/${z}/${x}/${y}.png https://github.com/cquest/osmfr-cartocss map
wmflabs Hike & Bike
Hiking map
compare
~3 months no Using osmc:symbol=* https://tiles.wmflabs.org/hikebike/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile hikebike.png
wmflabs Hillshading
shading
compare
n/a no http://tiles.wmflabs.org/hillshading/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile hillshading.png
wmflabs OSM B&W
mapnik map grayscale
compare
~3 months [2] no https://tiles.wmflabs.org/bw-mapnik/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile mapnikb&w.png
wmflabs OSM no labels
mapnik map without labels
compare
~3 months no https://tiles.wmflabs.org/osm-no-labels/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile osm-no-label.png
Stamen Toner
Black & White map
compare
funded by donations no data updates no Black&White, printing, uses Natural Earth at low zooms, retina tiles available

variants available: toner, toner-hybrid, toner-labels, toner-lines, toner-background, toner-lite

http://a.tile.stamen.com/toner/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile stamentonerb&n.png https://github.com/stamen/toner-carto
Stamen Watercolor
Artistic map
compare
funded by donations no data updates no Watercolor http://c.tile.stamen.com/watercolor/${z}/${x}/${y}.jpg Tile watercolor stamen.jpg
Transport Map
Transport map
compare
commercial, registration required no you need to register to use this, a free plan is available. http://tile.thunderforest.com/transport/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile transport.png


Thunderforest Landscape
Landscape map
compare
commercial, registration required no you need to register to use this, a free plan is available http://tile.thunderforest.com/landscape/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile landscape.png
Thunderforest Outdoors
Outdoors map
compare
commercial, registration required no you need to register to use this, a free plan is available http://tile.thunderforest.com/outdoors/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile outdoors.png
Öpnvkarte
Transport map
compare
yes http://tile.memomaps.de/tilegen/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile opnvtransport.png
OpenMapSurfer
general map
https://openrouteservice.org/terms-of-service/
registration required, free plan available no is a web map service with a couple of maps rendered with MapSurfer.NET, registration required OpenMapSurfer - example.png
Carto Light ("Positron")
general map
Required attribution: "Map tiles by Carto, under CC BY 3.0. Data by OpenStreetMap, under ODbL."
commercial, registration required, uses Natural Earth at low zooms, no_labels variant available no https://cartodb-basemaps-{s}.global.ssl.fastly.net/light_all/{z}/{x}/{y}.png Cartodb light tile.png
Carto Dark ("Dark Matter")
general map
Required attribution: "Map tiles by Carto, under CC BY 3.0. Data by OpenStreetMap, under ODbL."
commercial, registration required, uses Natural Earth at low zooms, no_labels variant available no https://cartodb-basemaps-{s}.global.ssl.fastly.net/dark_all/{z}/{x}/{y}.png Cartodb dark tile.png
OpenTopoMap
Topographical Map
free, see https://opentopomap.org/about#faq no Topographical Map https://{a|b|c}.tile.opentopomap.org/{z}/{x}/{y}.png
Omniscale
base map
commercial, registration required no coloured base map, greyscale version and coloured version with hillshading available

Overlay tiles

Name free or commercial latency comment tiles url Tile example source code
waymarkedtrails
Hiking routes
1 day Using osmc:symbol=* https://tile.waymarkedtrails.org/hiking/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile lonviahiking.png https://github.com/waymarkedtrails/waymarked-trails-site
waymarkedtrails
Cycling routes
1 day https://tile.waymarkedtrails.org/cycling/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile lonviacycling.png https://github.com/waymarkedtrails/waymarked-trails-site
waymarkedtrails
Riding routes
1 day Horse riding, using osmc:symbol=* https://tile.waymarkedtrails.org/riding/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Lonvia riding routes.png https://github.com/waymarkedtrails/waymarked-trails-site
OpenPtMap
Transport map
compare
Transport http://www.openptmap.org/tiles/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile openptmaptransport.png https://github.com/waymarkedtrails/waymarked-trails-site
OpenRailwayMap
Railway infrastructure
Usage policy
compare
free, funded by donations, see policy Railway infrastructure http://a.tiles.openrailwaymap.org/standard/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://b.tiles.openrailwaymap.org/standard/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://c.tiles.openrailwaymap.org/standard/${z}/${x}/${y}.png https://github.com/OpenRailwayMap/OpenRailwayMap
OpenRailwayMap
Railway maxspeeds
Usage policy
compare
free, funded by donations, see policy Railway maxspeeds http://a.tiles.openrailwaymap.org/maxspeed/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://b.tiles.openrailwaymap.org/maxspeed/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://c.tiles.openrailwaymap.org/maxspeed/${z}/${x}/${y}.png https://github.com/OpenRailwayMap/OpenRailwayMap
OpenRailwayMap
Railway signalling
Usage policy
free, funded by donations, see policy Railway signalling and train protection signals http://a.tiles.openrailwaymap.org/signals/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://b.tiles.openrailwaymap.org/signals/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://c.tiles.openrailwaymap.org/signals/${z}/${x}/${y}.png https://github.com/OpenRailwayMap/OpenRailwayMap
OpenSeaMap
Sea marks
Sea marks only, background transparent http://tiles.openseamap.org/seamark/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile seamark.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!

More webservices to display different OSM based tiles are mapstyle.petschge.de and Leaflet Provider Demo.

Notes:

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.