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.
Name type covered latency comment tiles url Tile example source code
OpenStreetMap's Standard tile layer
openstreetmap.org front page
Tile usage policy
base http://a.tile.openstreetmap.org/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://b.tile.openstreetmap.org/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://c.tile.openstreetmap.org/${z}/${x}/${y}.png 42.png https://github.com/gravitystorm/openstreetmap-carto/
Wikimedia Maps
demo server
https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Maps
base Experimental https://maps.wikimedia.org/osm-intl/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Wikimedia-tile.png
OpenCycleMap
Cycle map
compare
base http://a.tile.opencyclemap.org/cycle/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://b.tile.opencyclemap.org/cycle/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile cycling.png unavailable, this is a closed source project
Humanitarian map style
Humanitarian focused OSM base layer
compare
base 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
base world, up to z20 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}/${y}.png https://github.com/cquest/osmfr-cartocss map
OpenSkiMap
Ski map
overlay http://tiles.skimap.org/openskimap/${z}/${x}/${y}.png
OpenSeaMap
Sea marks
overlay Sea marks only, background transparent http://tiles.openseamap.org/seamark/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile seamark.png
Lonvia
Hiking routes
overlay 1D Using osmc:symbol=* http://tile.lonvia.de/hiking/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile lonviahiking.png
Lonvia
Cycling routes
overlay 1D http://tile.waymarkedtrails.org/cycling/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile lonviacycling.png
Hike & Bike
Hiking map
compare
DE ? Using osmc:symbol=* http://toolserver.org/tiles/hikebike/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile hikebike.png
Hillshading
shading
compare
http://c.tiles.wmflabs.org/hillshading/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile hillshading.png
OSM B&W
mapnik map grayscale
compare
base https://tiles.wmflabs.org/bw-mapnik/${z}/${x}/${y}.png or https://a.tiles.wmflabs.org/bw-mapnik/${z}/${x}/${y}.png + https://b.tiles.wmflabs.org/bw-mapnik/${z}/${x}/${y}.png + https://c.tiles.wmflabs.org/bw-mapnik/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile mapnikb&w.png
Stamen Toner
Black & White map
compare
base 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}/${y}.png Tile stamentonerb&n.png https://github.com/stamen/toner-carto
Stamen Watercolor
Artistic map
compare
base Watercolor http://c.tile.stamen.com/watercolor/${z}/${x}/${y}.jpg Tile watercolor stamen.jpg
Transport Map
Transport map
compare
base http://a.tile2.opencyclemap.org/transport/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://b.tile2.opencyclemap.org/transport/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile transport.png


Thunderforest Landscape
Landscape map
compare
base http://a.tile.thunderforest.com/landscape/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://b.tile.thunderforest.com/landscape/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://c.tile.thunderforest.com/landscape/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile landscape.png
Thunderforest Outdoors
Outdoors map
compare
base http://a.tile.thunderforest.com/outdoors/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://b.tile.thunderforest.com/outdoors/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://c.tile.thunderforest.com/outdoors/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile outdoors.png
Öpnvkarte
Transport map
compare
base http://toolserver.org/~cmarqu/hill/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile opnvtransport.png
OpenPtMap
Transport map
compare
overlay Transport http://www.openptmap.org/tiles/${z}/${x}/${y}.png Tile openptmaptransport.png
OpenMapSurfer
general map
base is a web map service with a couple of maps rendered with MapSurfer.NET OpenMapSurfer - example.png
Carto Light ("Positron")
general map
Required attribution: "Map tiles by Carto, under CC BY 3.0. Data by OpenStreetMap, under ODbL."
base unlimited use permitted, uses Natural Earth at low zooms, no_labels variant available https://cartodb-basemaps-{s}.global.ssl.fastly.net/light_all/{z}/{x}/{y}.png
Carto Dark ("Dark Matter")
general map
Required attribution: "Map tiles by Carto, under CC BY 3.0. Data by OpenStreetMap, under ODbL."
base unlimited use permitted, uses Natural Earth at low zooms, no_labels variant available https://cartodb-basemaps-{s}.global.ssl.fastly.net/dark_all/{z}/{x}/{y}.png Cartodb dark tile.png
OpenRailwayMap
Railway infrastructure
Usage policy
compare
overlay 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}/${y}.png
OpenRailwayMap
Railway maxspeeds
Usage policy
compare
overlay Railway maxspeeds http://a.tiles.openrailwaymap.org/maxspeed/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://b.tiles.openrailwaymap.org/maxspeed/${z}/${x}/${y}.png http://c.tiles.openrailwaymap.org/maxspeed/${z}/${x}/${y}.png
OpenRailwayMap
Railway signalling
Usage policy
overlay 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

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.