Rendering map tiles

Sebastian edited this page Mar 28, 2017 · 10 revisions

Tools for Rendering:

  • Mapnik performs final map rendering (as well as design previews).
  • TileStache cutting maps renders into tiles and saving those tiles. The tiles are named in the standard TMS convention, making them interoperable with most online web mapping APIs and applications.

You'll have 10s of thousands of tiny image files, hundreds and thousands of megabytes in size.


  • Estimate number of tiles in bbox - Given a WGS84 bounding box and an OSM tile zoom range calculates a total number of tiles and your estimated Amazon cloud costs (orig gist).

  • Golden Ratio - Seed web map tile caches using remembered hot spots and forecasts of likely usage.

  • Tools to convert between tile coordinates, latitude/longitude - TMS with DD, DDMMSS, geohash, and WoeID placenames

  • MBTiles - The MBTiles format makes it easy to manage and share thousands or even millions of map tiles. It stores the images in an single SQLite database file. There's also a server version.

  • TileStache - A Python-based server application that can serve up map tiles based on rendered geographic data. It’s an open source WMS server that is simple and suited to the needs of designers and cartographers.

  • Mapnik - Mapnik powers most of the web maps you encounter day to day. Mapnik is a Free Toolkit for developing mapping applications. Above all Mapnik is about making beautiful maps. It is easily extensible and suitable for both desktop and web development.


  • Palette files - Provide your TileStache config file an ACT color table file (generate in Adobe Photoshop) and reduce your file size even more (works for PNG tiles).

  • Map zooms - Web maps have 20 preset scales, learn these “zoom” levels and their natural scale equivelents.