[OSM-dev] TileServer GL: OpenStreetMap raster tile server with MapBox GL Native renderer + vector tiles

Petr Pridal petr.pridal at klokantech.com
Mon Sep 5 21:53:31 UTC 2016


a few days ago, on the FOSS4G 2016, we have announced a new open-source
project called TileServer GL - for hosting OpenStreetMap tiles on your own


The software is designed to serve vector tiles and related assets, but it
does provide raster tiles with traditional XYZ addressing too. The raster
rendering is powered by the open-source MapBox GL Native engine written in
C++ and OpenGL and called via Node.js bindings. A high-performance graphic
card is not required on the server - it performs pretty well also with a
software rendering.

The map styles are written in MapBox GL JSON styling language - which means
the same visual style can be used in a web browser on the client side (with
MB GL JS and soon also OpenLayers), in native mobile apps on Android and
iOS, as well as on the server side with rendering into standard
PNG/JPG/WebP tiles on demand. Retina/HiDPI is supported too - and with the
static map endpoint, you get a print-ready map in 300+DPI out of the box.
WMTS standard brings the tiles to ESRI ArcGIS and QGIS or other GIS clients.

It is in fact extremely easy to install this software with the
preprocessed OpenStreetMap data from http://www.osm2vectortiles.org/ on a
laptop, on a low-end virtual private server or on a standard cloud machine
(like DigitalOcean, Amazon EC2 or Google Compute Engine).

To host your own OpenStreetMap world map you need about 60 GB of free disk
space and 4+ GB RAM. The extracts have only a few gigabytes, so for an OSM
map of your country, the hardware requirements are even lower. Everything
is up in a few minutes - no need to process the raw OSM planet data.

You can try it on your laptop with Docker or Kitematic (
https://kitematic.com/) - just get the ready-to-use
"klokantech/tileserver-gl" container and drop into the data volume folder
the downloaded MBTiles file and access your own OpenStreetMap instance on
localhost. After installation, it runs even offline.

This tileserver is an alternative to Mapnik-powered renderers.
In a production environment, it should run with an external caching system
(varnish, mapproxy, mapcache, etc.). It scales well horizontally - you can
easily deploy the whole instance with the data on multiple machines to
handle larger traffic via a load-balancer.

Updates of the OSM data may be done daily or weekly - with pre-generated
vector tiles. The TileServer-GL can also render raster tiles from external
http tile servers - so if you serve your own live updated PBF tiles from
your PostGIS - you can use TileServer GL too and just reference in the JSON
styles your dynamic vector tile server. The dynamic and pre-generated
vector tile sources can be also combined and mixed with the raster tiles -
such as aerial photos or satellite imagery turned into tiles with
http://www.maptiler.com/ and hosted on Amazon S3 or on a standard web

I am keen on getting your feedback on the TileServer GL free software
developed for our internal use, which we are happy to share with the world
now. All technical details and source code are on GitHub and in the
software manual. Follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/klokantech) to
get updates.

OpenStreetMap is a wonderful project - huge "thank you" belongs to
everybody who contributes to the mapping as well as to the development of
the open-source projects around it!

I am looking forward to having a chat and a beer with you guys on the State
of the map in Brussel.


Petr Pridal, Ph.D.

Klokan Technologies GmbH
Hofnerstrasse 98, 6314 Unterageri, Switzerland
Tel: +41 (0)41 511 26 12
Email: info at klokantech.com
Web: http://www.klokantech.com/
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