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A script and code registry to create simple maps using OpenLayers with no need to know or code Javascript: simply specify options in a form or define the same in a json object or custom element.


Simplify map creation for those with little or no knowledge of Javascript or cartography. Also helps developers try out different options.

Current features

  • raster source definitions stored in a registry (lib/registry/sources); pretty much any raster source supported by OL can be added to this
  • GeoJSON, KML and GPX vector sources can be loaded and displayed over the raster source
  • by default, maps with vector data will initially be zoomed to the extent of the data; those without will be zoomed to the maximum extent of the projection; this can be overridden by specifying a center and zoom level
  • raster sources can be in different projections, and can be made in/visible by the layerswitcher provided by default
  • the layerswitcher will automatically reproject vector features when the projection of the underlying raster source changes
  • uses the default OL zoom and scaleline controls, to which other widgets such as cursor position display, tooltips and feature info popups can be added; these widgets are also stored in a registry (lib/registry/components)
  • custom feature styles can be specified for each vector source
  • vector data/features can be drawn and moved/edited; this includes splitting and joining of linestrings
  • map div uses 100% of screen viewport so keyboard arrows can pan map
  • should be usable on both mouse/keyboard (desktop/laptop) and touch-screen (mobile) devices


The main html file map-make.html is all that needs to be installed. When loaded in the browser, this will display the main menu which enables you to define which sources and tools you wish to use.

This is fine for one-off maps, but is unwieldy for maps you want to reuse, so the map definition (mapDef) can be saved for future use.

This can be a JSON object stored in a file which can be loaded from a url. There are some examples of mapDef files in

It can also be a <map-def> custom element defined in the HTML file.

In addition, parameters can be specified as key-value pairs in the query string.

See Usage file for more detailed instructions and examples.

Technical details

The code is modularised, and runs entirely in the browser, using the jsDelivr CDN to load the appropriate modules direct from this Github repo. This uses HTTP/2 to enable bulk-loading of modules and remove the need to bundle; dependencies are pre-loaded to prevent round-trips. The JS source is in lib/ and is in ES2015 module syntax (import/export). These are currently converted to System.register format using Babel, and stored in a separate map-make-register repo. These modules are then loaded in the browser using the system register loader. Once ES2015 modules are implemented in browsers, this conversion step and loader will no longer be needed. Instead the ES2015 modules will be loaded directly with <script type="module">.

Unfortunately, the current OL code is not compatible with modular loading, so it's not possible to load the relevant OL code with each module. At the moment, a custom build including all the OL code used is loaded up-front; no account is taken of which components are needed for a specific map. This should change as OL moves away from the Closure library towards standard modules. This should enable the appropriate OL code to be loaded together with each module from this repo; this should speed up the initial load.

For more info on registry entries, see the Readme in the appropriate section of lib/registry.

map-make.html loads initloader.js as the initial bootstrap; this is a standard script, not a module. The default map-make.html loads from jsDelivr, but a custom version can be created to load the bootstrap from elsewhere, for example, for testing on localhost. It is also configurable with a data-configVars attribute.

External libraries

Besides OL, Proj4js and slideout.js are used. A custom version of the Font Awesome webfont including only those glyphs used is also loaded, and the add layer module uses Awesomplete for autocompletion. OL, Proj4js, Slideout and Awesomplete are loaded with ES2015 (Awesomplete) or System.register (other 3) wrappers instead of the supplied UMD or other wrapper. See lib/registry/projections/ for details of the Proj4js custom build. The CSS for OL, Font Awesome and Slideout is combined into one file (css/map-make.css), which is minified into dist/css/; that for Awesomplete is loaded from CDN from the add layer component.

Polyfills for Promise and fetch() are loaded if not natively supported.

Raster sources

Some source providers require an API code to be given when fetching tiles; these are specified in the appropriate source files, and should be provided at runtime in the map definition.


Only 1 raster layer can be active/visible at a time.

At present, there is no error validation at all.

Future plans

See issues.


are welcome, as are all good ideas on how this can be developed further.

Release process

Code is loaded from a release tag. Which release tag to use is defined in initloader.js. So:

  • changes can be committed and pushed to Github without affecting the loaded code
  • for new release, add a new tag (git tag n.n.n) and git push --tags
  • change initloader.js to use new tag/release; when pushed to Github, this release will be used
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