[OSM-talk] OpenMaps App Blocked By OpenStreetMap

Zsombor Szabó zsombor at gmail.com
Sat Oct 8 13:39:38 BST 2011

Dear OSMers,

we, the developers of OpenMaps, wrote a blog post about OpenMaps
getting blocked by OpenStreetMap Mapnik tile servers:

For convenience I pasted the whole text of the blog post below:

Earlier this week it came to my attention that OpenMaps' access was
blocked to the OpenStreetMap "Mapnik" tile servers.

We suspect that the reason why it was blocked is a tool named the
Download tool. The Download tool enables users to download an area of
a map from a given map tile server, even custom ones. Users were using
this tool to download map tiles from the OpenStreetMap "Mapnik" tile
servers and with this behavior they were violating the tile usage
policy of OpenStreetMap.

We are very sorry for causing such a problem for the OpenStreetMap
project. To our defense, the tile usage policy wasn't available when
we first introduced the Download tool in OpenMaps.

Today we submitted an updated version (v4.5.4) of OpenMaps to the App
Store and are waiting for approval from Apple. The following
modifications were made to the app:
- Download tool is still present with a clear discouraging message
that it should not be used in abusive behavior.
- Maximum of 2 download threads.
- Download disabled for 17, 18 and 19 zoom levels.
- User agent of non-bulk downloading of map tiles was changed to
"Op3nMaps(Not.Bulk.Download)/x CFNetwork/x Darwin/x" while the user
agent for bulk downloading remains unmodified (OpenMaps/x CFNetwork/x

This way browsing and bulk downloading users can clearly be identified
on the server side and throttled or banned if necessary.

This is our short term solution for the problem, but the long term
solution is clearly a vector based renderer. I previously alluded that
it is coming on my twitter profile.

About OpenMaps:
OpenMaps is a powerful iOS app based on maps and web services around
OpenStreetMap. To date it was downloaded more than 250.000 times and
as of 2011.09.07 it is the 7th most popular OSM editor.

Best regards,
Zsombor Szabo
IZE, Ltd.

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