[OSM-dev] Tile usage without proper identification

Paul Norman penorman at mac.com
Fri Aug 12 11:14:28 UTC 2016

The usage policy for tile.openstreetmap.org requires that users send a
valid user-agent[1], or, in the case of a web browser, a HTTP Referer.
Ops are looking into automatically rate limiting clients violating this
part of the policy.[2]

The reason for rate limiting instead of blocking is that if you access a
single tile from the browser you do not send a referer, but requests are
made slowly when doing that. Rate limiting has become necessary because
of abusive websites and apps which hide the origin of their requests and
have been consuming excessive resources.

Websites will not be affected unless they using a referrer policy to
mask the origin.[3]

If you develop an app, please make sure you are setting a User-agent to
identify your application, and if applicable the referer. You must not
use the default User-agent for your HTTP library.

As a reminder, it is highly recommended that you do not code the URL
tile.openstreetmap.org into an app because usage restrictions may change
subject to the needs of the project. The priority is its usage as a
resource for mappers to view their work as part of the editing cycle.

[2] https://github.com/openstreetmap/chef/pull/79
[3] https://www.w3.org/TR/referrer-policy

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