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Mapeo Server

Mapeo server, used for managing observation data. It includes observation and media management routes and static file routes for an offline tile server.


$ npm install mapeo-server


var MapeoServer = require('mapeo-server')

var server = MapeoServer(osm, media[, opts])

Creates a mapeo http server.

osm is a kappa-osm instance.

media is an instance of [abstract-blob-store][abstract-blob-store]. In order to do sync correctly, it must be patched with a list(cb) method, or you can use a blob store that already supports this, like safe-fs-blob-store.

Valid opts include

  • staticRoot (string): the filesystem path to serve static files, like styles and tiles from.
  • fallbackPresetsDir (string): the filesystem path to serve as a fallback for requests to /presets if no files exist in staticRoot/presets. Useful for serving defaults that can be overridden by user files in staticRoot.

var handled = server.handle(req, res)

Tries to handle an http request req, writing the result to res. Returns true if it was handled, and false if not.


The following routes are available.


GET /device/id

Retrieve this device's unique 64-character ID, as a JSON string. E.g.



GET /observations?bbox=a,b,c,d

Get list of observations. Currently, bbox is ignored and all observations are returned. The response is a JSON array of observation objects. E.g.

  { "type": "observation", "lat": 12.1245, "lon": -0.3243 },

POST /observations

Creates an observation. Expects a single JSON object representing the observation. The following fields are required:

  • type must be observation

The object will be returned, with the fields id, version, created_at and timestamp set.

The property ref can also be optionally set, to indicate that the observation observes the OSM element with ID ref.

GET /observations/:id

Fetch an observation by its id. An array of JSON objects will be returned. Usually there will only be one result, but in forking situations (e.g. two devices create offline edits of the same observation then sync) there can be multiple results.

PUT /observations/:id

Update an observation by its id by providing a JSON object representing the new observation. id and version must be set. Only the following fields can be modified:

  • lat
  • lon
  • ref
  • attachments
  • tags
  • metadata
  • schemaVersion

PUT /observations/to-element/:id

Converts an observation, by its ID, to an OSM element (defaults to node currently). Returns an object of the form { id: elementId }. If the observation has already been converted to a node, it will return the existing ID.


GET /presets

Returns a JSON array with the names of available presets. E.g.


GET /presets/:id/*

Fetch a static file belonging to a preset with id id.


POST /media

Save a photo to the database, expects a JSON object in the body of the request with the following properties:

  • original (string)
  • preview (string)
  • thumbnail (string)

Each of these properties must be an absolute filepath pointing to the location of the media in the local filesystem. The files will be copied to the database and can be safely deleted once the request completes successfully. All 3 sizes are required and should be the following sizes:

  • original: full-size original media
  • preview: maximum dimension 2000px
  • thumbnail: maximum dimension 400px

Original media is not syncronized between mobile devices, but previews and thumbnails are. Original media is always syncronized with desktop devices. In the future Mapeo may more intelligently manage full-size media in order to save space on mobile.

A single JSON object is returned, with the media's unique id:

  "id": "225961fb85d82312e8c0ed511.jpg",

To fetch the thumbnail later, one would hit the route GET /media/thumbnail/225961fb85d82312e8c0ed511.jpg.

GET /media/:type/:id

Retrieve a piece of media (photos only for now) by its id. Valid types are original, preview and thumbnail. e.g.

GET /media/thumbnail/225961fb85d82312e8c0ed511.jpg


GET /media/original/225961fb85d82312e8c0ed511.jpg

Mapbox Styles & Tiles

GET /styles

Returns a JSON array with the names of all available vector tilesets. E.g.

    id: 'satellite-v9',
    name: 'Satellite',
    bounds: [ -122.339973, 37.742214, -122.150116, 37.856694 ],
    minzoom: 0, maxzoom: 22

GET /styles/:id/style.json

Retrieve the style.json file for a given style.

GET /styles/:id/tiles/:x/:y/:z.:ext

Fetch a single vector tile from the tileset id by an x,y,z coordinate.

GET /styles/:id/tiles/:tileid/:x/:y/:z.:ext

Fetch a single vector tile from the tileset id by an x,y,z coordinate. Supports a tileid which would be a subdirectory or an asar file under the tiles/ directory, so support multiple tilesets per dataset id.


GET /sync/listen

Begin the sync server for listening for connections. Returns 200 OK once server is up and running.

GET /sync/join

Join the network and become discoverable by other peers.

Optionally, a url parameter name for this peer can be provided, to appear in others' /sync/targets list.

Pass the url parameter project_key to only discover other peers also interested in the same project. project_key should be a hex-encoded random 32-bytes, e.g. crypto.randomBytes(32).toString('hex')

GET /sync/leave

Leave the network and no longer be discoverable.

Pass the url parameter project_key if you passed it into GET /sync/join to unsubscribe to this particular project.

GET /sync/destroy

Destroy the current sync server and close all open connections. Returns 200 OK once connections have terminated.

GET /sync/peers


  • interval: Default false. If set, will send an updated list of the peers at the given interval using streaming GET request.

Returns list of available sync peers every set interval. Only lists other devices broadcasting using the 'mapeo-sync' key.

Each sync target is an object with ip, port, host, and name if device name is set.

GET /sync/peers?interval=300

// then every 300ms...
{ topic: 'peers', message: [{ip: '', port: 1337, host: 'hostname', name: "Karissa's Device", {state: StateObject}}]}
{ topic: 'peers', message: [{name: "/path/to/my/syncfile.mapeodata", {state: StateObject}}]}

A StateObject has a topic and message which give you an idea of what the current state

GET /sync/start


  • filename: For local filesystem sync, provide filename
  • port and host: To sync with another target through TCP (UDP?)

Start syncing and listen to progress events. Events are returned as a newline-delimited JSON stream.

Events are returned with a topic and message key:

{"topic": "replication-started" }
{"topic": "replication-progress", {"db": { "sofar": 5, "total": 10 }, "media": { "sofar": 12, "total": 95 } } }
{"topic": "replication-error", "message": "Some error message here"}
{"topic": "replication-complete" }

Valid event topics:

  * `replication-error`: Sent once there is error, and the stream is closed.
  * `replication-started`: Sent once to indicate replication has started, but no data has been sent.
  * `replication-progress`: Sent for each datum (map element, photo) sent.
  * `replication-complete`: Sent once for a replication success, and the stream is closed.

Example client code for `/sync/start`
var hyperquest = require('hyperquest')
var target = {filename: '/path/to/my/database.mapeodata'}
var url = `http://${host}/sync/start?${querystring.stringify(target)}`
var hq = hyperquest(url)
var stream = pump(hq, split2())
stream.on('data', function (data) {
  var row = JSON.parse(data)
  if (row.topic === 'replication-progress') console.log('progress...', row.message)
  if (row.topic === 'replication-error') console.log('error', row.message)
  if (row.topic === 'replication-complete') console.log('done')


var osmdb = require('kappa-osm')
var kappa = require('kappa-core')
var raf = require('random-access-file')
var level = require('level')
var blobstore = require('safe-fs-blob-store')
var Router = require('mapeo-server')

var osm = osmdb({
  core: kappa('./db', {valueEncoding: 'json'}),
  index: level('./index')),
  storage: function (name, cb) {
    process.nextTick(cb, null, raf(path.join(dir, 'storage', name)))
var media = blobstore('./media')

var root = '/path/to/my/static/files' // optional
var route = Router(osm, media, {staticRoot: root})

var http = require('http')
var server = http.createServer(function (req, res) {
  var fn = route.handle(req, res)
  if (fn) {
  } else {
    res.statusCode = 404
    res.end('not found\n')
server.on('close', function () {

Use as Express middleware

app.use('/api', Router(dir))


Relies on fs for media copying right now: this is a bug.


Connect with the Mapeo community for support & to contribute!




Mapping web server for managing observations, media, tiles, and various static files.






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