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MWM Files

MAPS.ME uses maps in its own vector format, MWM. It contains classified features sorted and simplified by zoom level. It also can include a pre-calculated routing index for car routing. We build maps for the entire planet:


For building maps, you need compiled Generator Tool and, for routing indices, OSRM backend. See for compilation instructions. We usually use this line:

omim/tools/unix/ -crs

Scripts described here require OSM C Tools, which are maintained as a submodule of the omim repository.

A Single Region

Having built a generator tool, prepare a source file in pbf/o5m/bz2 format, and run:

omim/tools/unix/ source.pbf

In some minutes it will create a similarly-named .mwm file in the same directory as the original file. Specify TARGET variable for changing that (e.g. TARGET=.). The script runs generator_tool twice, see script for an algorithm on how it finds it. All temporary files are created with mktemp and then removed.

The resulting file won't have any coastlines, though MAPS.ME will overlay zoomed-in map with a low-quality generalized coastline. To add a detailed coastline, you would need a WorldCoasts.geom file and a border polygon for a source file area. Having that, run (and prepare to wait a bit longer):

COASTS=WorldCoasts.geom BORDER=source.poly omim/tools/unix/ source.pbf

Inter-mwm navigation requires another index. To build it, you would need border polygons for not only the source region, but all regions neighbouring it. The source border polygon must have the same name as the source file (e.g. Armenia.poly for Armenia.pbf), and in the target directory shouldn't be a borders subdirectory. With all that, just use this line:

BORDERS_PATH=/path/to/polygons omim/tools/unix/ source.pbf

The Planet

To create a bunch of MWM files for the entire planet, splitting it by border polygons, we have a different script, It will print a short help when run without arguments. The usual line we use is:

TARGET=/opt/mwm/151231 omim/tools/unix/ -a

This is a shortcut for following options:

  • -u: update a planet file from (use -U when you need to download one, specify PLANET variable if it's not in $HOME/planet/planet-latest.o5m).
  • -l: filter and process coastlines, creating WorldCoasts.geom and .rawgeom files.
  • -w: generate overview maps, World.mwm and WorldCoasts.mwm.
  • -r: build routing indexes for each .mwm.

All border polygons from BORDERS_PATH are processed into MWM files by default. You can specify only required polygons in REGIONS variable, or set it to empty value, so no regular MWM files are created. The whole process takes three days (!) on a 40-core server, so we suggest you specify your e-mail address in a MAIL variable and get a mail when the generation is finished.

If a previous run ended with an error, the next one will ignore arguments and continue with the same arguments as the previous time. Set -c option to ignore the stored status.

Log files for each region and the entire process (generate_planet.log) are written to logs subdirectory of the target. Intermediate data requires around 150 GB of space, and to clean it during the process, specify KEEP_INTDIR= empty variable.


The planet generation process is divided in several steps, which are printed during the script run, along with timestamps. To start generation from a specific step, specify it in the MODE variable (and make sure you don't have a stored status, or run with -c option).

  • Step 1 (coast): updating planet file.
  • Step 2: filtering and processing coast lines. If there was a merge error, the script prints way identifiers, waits 40 minutes and tries again from step 1.
  • Step 3 (inter): generating intermediate data for the planet.
  • Step 4 (features): generating features for each region, splitting the planet.
  • Step 5 (mwm): building the resulting MWMs.
  • Step 6 (routing): building routing indices.
  • Step 7 (resources): updating resource and map lists.
  • Step 8 (test): calling to run routing tests.


Almost any default in the script can be redefined with environment variables. You will have to use some of these, unless you are using our map-building servers.

  • GENERATOR_TOOL: a location of generator_tool program. Example: ~/omim-build-debug/out/debug/generator_tool.
  • BUILD_PATH: a path to either generator_tool or its build directory. Example: ~/omim-build-debug.
  • PLANET: path or name of the planet file. If there is no file, specify -U option, and it will be downloaded. Should be in o5m format. Default is ~/planet/planet-latest.o5m.
  • TARGET: a target path for mwm and routing files. Some temporary subdirectories will be created inside: logs, borders and intermediate_data.
  • DESC: a short description of the build, included in all emails.
  • MAIL: comma-separated e-mail addresses, which will receive notifications about finished or failed generation.
  • OSMCTOOLS: a path to pre-compiled OSM C Tools: osmconvert, osmupdate and osmfilter. If these were not found, it will compile sources from the repo.
  • OMIM_PATH: a path to the omim repository root. Will be guessed when the script is not moved from omim/tools/unix. It is needed for locating a data directory (omim/data, can be overridden with DATA_PATH), generator tool build path (see BUILD_PATH) and OSRM backend scripts (see OSRM_PATH).
  • DATA_PATH: a path to classificators and border polygons; the latter can be redefined with BORDERS_PATH.
  • INTDIR: a temporary directory that is created when the script starts, and removed when KEEP_INTDIR is clean and the script ends. Contains status file that keeps script arguments for resuming processing, and osrm_done file, which is a flag for successful OSRM indices building process.
  • KEEP_INTDIR: if empty (by default it is not), the temporary directory will be deleted when the script finishes. Note that it might have WorldCoasts.geom file, built on step 2, which is required for generating coastlines (step 4).
  • NODE_STORAGE (or NS): where is a node cache kept: in memory (mem, which is the default), or on disk (map). Tests show that for a complete world, with map the process eats some hundreds of gigabytes and crashes, while with mem the memory consumption is stable at around 40 GB.
  • MERGE_INTERVAL: delay in minutes between attempts to merge a coast line. Default is 40.
  • REGIONS: a list of .poly files for regions to be built. One for each line. Can be empty. Example: $(ls ../../data/borders/{UK*,Ireland}.poly).
  • DELTA_WITH: a path to an older map directory, to compare with the freshly generated data in the testing step.
  • OLD_INTDIR: a path to an older intermediate_data directory, in case anything fails.
  • OSRM_URL: address of an OSRM server to calculate worldwide routes.
  • SRTM_PATH: a path to *.zip files with SRTM data.
  • OSC: a path to an osmChange file to apply after updating the planet.
  • SKIP_TESTS: if 1, the testing step is skipped.


To test that the generator is not broken, you don't have to wait for 20 hours processing the whole planet: instead download a 150 MB extract with some islands and the corresponding script and put these into omim/tools/unix. Run the script with options for generate_planet, e.g.

omim/tools/unix/ -lwr

In a half an hour you'll get files for 4 regions in a target subdirectory. Note that you can build the generator tool with the script.