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Ultra-lightweight rendering style for OpenStreetMap
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OSM Solar

Solar is a Mapnik rendering style for OpenStreetMap designed for limited storage applications that require extensive areas of pre-rendered maps.

Designed in cooperation with Aaron Huslage and Roger Weeks of Tethr, Solar can be used to create fully-detailed tiles of OSM data at a third of the filesize of the default Mapnik stylesheet. We use a limited color palette sampled from Ethan Schoonover’s Solarized and limit the output to 4-bit color to maximize the compression offered by the PNG image format.

To use OSM Solar, you will need an OpenStreetMap PostGIS database built using Osm2pgsql and default settings. Use the included tile-style.xml Mapnik stylesheet and check the included configuration file to see how to get TileStache to post-process Mapnik’s own rendered images with the included 16 color palette file, solar-light-16.act.

OSM Solar is made by Michal Migurski, of Stamen Design.


At distant zoom levels, local and residential streets are omitted. Bold, simple highways dominate the map, and the visual layering is categorical to clearly separate each road type. Large towns, parks, and water bodies are named.

Oakland, z11

Deeper in to the map, local streets and highway ramps start to appear. You begin to see block-scale details and smaller features:

Oakland, z13

At the closest zoom levels, physical layering takes over and you begin to see over- and underpasses as they exist in the built world along with a full collection of parks, water bodies, small villages and other OSM features:

Oakland, z15


A maze of ramps marks the east approach to New York’s Lincoln Tunnel:

New York, z16

A cloverleaf interchange on Moscow’s MKAD:

Moscow, z14

London’s dense network of trunk roads, centered on the Isle of Dogs:

London, z12

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