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OSM Bright


OSM Bright is a sensible starting point for quickly making beautiful maps based on an OpenStreetMap database. It is written in the Carto styling language and can be opened as a project in TileMill.

The style is still a work in progress and you are encouraged to use the issue tracker to note missing features or problems with the current implementation.


Setup Instructions

1. Download shapefiles

OSM Bright depends on two large shapefiles. You will need to download and extract them before continuing.

Download them to the shp directory in the osm-bright folder. You can do this with wget like:


If you are going to use the osm2pqsql style you will need another (but smaller shapefile) wget

Once downloaded, extract them from their zip files.

2. Run the shapefiles through shapeindex

Shapeindex is a tool that improves performance for shapefiles in Tilemill.

Mac and Linux users already have Shapeindex installed through Tilemill but Windows users will need to download Shapeindex for Windows before continuing.

To run Shapeindex on Mac and Linux, go to the terminal, move to the shp directory of osm-bright, run shapeindex in each shp subdirectory like:

shapeindex land-polygons-split-3857.shp

3. Set up PostgreSQL & PostGIS

If you don't already, you need to have PostgreSQL installed & running with a PostGIS database setup within it. See the PostGIS documentation for full information on how to do this.

4. Import OpenStreetMap data

You will need an OSM database extract in one of the following formats:

  • .osm.pbf (binary; smallest & fastest)
  • .osm.bz2 (compressed xml)
  • .osm (xml)

You can find appropriate data extracts for a variety of regions at or See the OSM wiki for information about (very large) full-planet downloads.

You need to process this data and import it to your PostGIS database. You can do this with either Imposm or osm2pgsql; see their respective websites for installation instructions.

Using Imposm

If you are using Imposm, you should use the included mapping configuration which includes a few important tags compared to the default. The Imposm import command looks like this:

imposm -U <postgres_user> -d <postgis_database> \
  -m /path/to/osm-bright/ --read --write \
  --optimize --deploy-production-tables <data.osm.pbf>

See imposm --help or the online documentation for more details.

Using osm2pgsql

If you are using osm2pgsql the default style file should work well. The osm2pgsql import command looks like this:

osm2pgsql -c -G -U <postgres_user> -d <postgis_database> <data.osm.pbf>

See man osm2pgsql or the online documentation for more details.

5. Edit the configuration

You'll need to adjust some settings for things like your PostgreSQL connection information.

  1. Make a copy of and name it


  2. Open in a text editor.

  3. Make sure the "importer" option matches the program you used to import your data (either "imposm" or "osm2pgsql").

  4. Optionally change the name of your project from the default, 'OSM Bright'.

  5. Adjust, if needed, the path to point to your MapBox project folder.

  6. Make any adjustments to the PostgreSQL connection settings. Your database may be set up so that you require a password or different user name.

  7. Optionally adjust the query extents or shapefile locations. (Refer to the comments in the configuration file for more information.)

  8. Save & close the file.

6. Run


This will create a new folder called "build" with your new project, customized with the variables you set in and install a copy of this build to your MapBox project folder. If you open up TileMill you should see your new map in the project listing.

Click on the map to view it in the editing interface.


Have patience: the first time the project opens it needs to download very large shapefiles before the map can render. This can take 5-10 minutes on a fast connection and longer on a slow connection. Keep TileMill open and feel free to navigate back to the projects view then back to the project editor view to check on its loading status. You can also check the TileMill logs to see the download status of the remote files.

Once the map tiles show up, you're now ready to start editing the template in TileMill!