Tile38 is a geospatial database, spatial index, and realtime geofence. It supports a variety of object types including lat/lon points, bounding boxes, XYZ tiles, Geohashes, and GeoJSON. 🌐
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Tile38 is an open source (MIT licensed), in-memory geolocation data store, spatial index, and realtime geofence. It supports a variety of object types including lat/lon points, bounding boxes, XYZ tiles, Geohashes, and GeoJSON.

This README is quick start document. You can find detailed documentation at http://tile38.com.

Nearby Within Intersects Geofencing Roaming Geofences



  • tile38-server - The server
  • tile38-cli - Command line interface tool
  • tile38-benchmark - Server benchmark tool

Getting Started

Getting Tile38

Perhaps the easiest way to get the latest Tile38 is to use one of the pre-built release binaries which are available for OSX, Linux, FreeBSD, and Windows. Instructions for using these binaries are on the GitHub releases page.


To run the latest stable version of Tile38:

docker pull tile38/tile38
docker run -p 9851:9851 tile38/tile38

Visit the Tile38 hub page for more information.

Homebrew (macOS)

Install Tile38 using Homebrew

brew install tile38

Building Tile38

Tile38 can be compiled and used on Linux, OSX, Windows, FreeBSD, and probably others since the codebase is 100% Go. We support both 32 bit and 64 bit systems. Go must be installed on the build machine.

To build everything simply:

$ make

To test:

$ make test


For command line options invoke:

$ ./tile38-server -h

To run a single server:

$ ./tile38-server

# The tile38 shell connects to localhost:9851
$ ./tile38-cli
> help

Playing with Tile38

Basic operations:

$ ./tile38-cli

# add a couple of points named 'truck1' and 'truck2' to a collection named 'fleet'.
> set fleet truck1 point 33.5123 -112.2693   # on the Loop 101 in Phoenix
> set fleet truck2 point 33.4626 -112.1695   # on the I-10 in Phoenix

# search the 'fleet' collection.
> scan fleet                                 # returns both trucks in 'fleet'
> nearby fleet point 33.462 -112.268 6000    # search 6 kilometers around a point. returns one truck.

# key value operations
> get fleet truck1                           # returns 'truck1'
> del fleet truck2                           # deletes 'truck2'
> drop fleet                                 # removes all 

Tile38 has a ton of great commands.


Fields are extra data that belongs to an object. A field is always a double precision floating point. There is no limit to the number of fields that an object can have.

To set a field when setting an object:

> set fleet truck1 field speed 90 point 33.5123 -112.2693             
> set fleet truck1 field speed 90 field age 21 point 33.5123 -112.2693

To set a field when an object already exists:

> fset fleet truck1 speed 90


Tile38 has support to search for objects and points that are within or intersects other objects. All object types can be searched including Polygons, MultiPolygons, GeometryCollections, etc.

Search Within


WITHIN searches a collection for objects that are fully contained inside a specified bounding area.

Search Intersects


INTERSECTS searches a collection for objects that intersect a specified bounding area.

Search Nearby


NEARBY searches a collection for objects that intersect a specified radius.

Search options

SPARSE - This option will distribute the results of a search evenly across the requested area.
This is very helpful for example; when you have many (perhaps millions) of objects and do not want them all clustered together on a map. Sparse will limit the number of objects returned and provide them evenly distributed so that your map looks clean.

You can choose a value between 1 and 8. The value 1 will result in no more than 4 items. The value 8 will result in no more than 65536. 1=4, 2=16, 3=64, 4=256, 5=1024, 6=4098, 7=16384, 8=65536.

No SparsingSearch Within Sparse 1Search Within Sparse 2Search Within Sparse 3Search Within Sparse 4Search Within Sparse 5Search Within
*Please note that the higher the sparse value, the slower the performance. Also, LIMIT and CURSOR are not available when using SPARSE.*

WHERE - This option allows for filtering out results based on field values. For example
nearby fleet where speed 70 +inf point 33.462 -112.268 6000 will return only the objects in the 'fleet' collection that are within the 6 km radius and have a field named speed that is greater than 70.

Multiple WHEREs are concatenated as and clauses. WHERE speed 70 +inf WHERE age -inf 24 would be interpreted as speed is over 70 and age is less than 24.

The default value for a field is always 0. Thus if you do a WHERE on the field speed and an object does not have that field set, the server will pretend that the object does and that the value is Zero.

MATCH - MATCH is similar to WHERE except that it works on the object id instead of fields.
nearby fleet match truck* point 33.462 -112.268 6000 will return only the objects in the 'fleet' collection that are within the 6 km radius and have an object id that starts with truck. There can be multiple MATCH options in a single search. The MATCH value is a simple glob pattern.

CURSOR - CURSOR is used to iterate though many objects from the search results. An iteration begins when the CURSOR is set to Zero or not included with the request, and completes when the cursor returned by the server is Zero.

NOFIELDS - NOFIELDS tells the server that you do not want field values returned with the search results.

LIMIT - LIMIT can be used to limit the number of objects returned for a single search request.


Geofence animation

A geofence is a virtual boundary that can detect when an object enters or exits the area. This boundary can be a radius, bounding box, or a polygon. Tile38 can turn any standard search into a geofence monitor by adding the FENCE keyword to the search.

Tile38 also allows for Webhooks to be assigned to Geofences.

A simple example:

> nearby fleet fence point 33.462 -112.268 6000

This command opens a geofence that monitors the 'fleet' collection. The server will respond with:


And the connection will be kept open. If any object enters or exits the 6 km radius around 33.462,-112.268 the server will respond in realtime with a message such as:


The server will notify the client if the command is del | set | drop.

  • del notifies the client that an object has been deleted from the collection that is being fenced.
  • drop notifies the client that the entire collection is dropped.
  • set notifies the client that an object has been added or updated, and when it's position is detected by the fence.

The detect may be one of the following values.

  • inside is when an object is inside the specified area.
  • outside is when an object is outside the specified area.
  • enter is when an object that was not previously in the fence has entered the area.
  • exit is when an object that was previously in the fence has exited the area.
  • cross is when an object that was not previously in the fence has entered and exited the area.

These can be used when establishing a geofence, to pre-filter responses. For instance, to limit responses to enter and exit detections:

> nearby fleet fence detect enter,exit point 33.462 -112.268 6000

Object types

All object types except for XYZ Tiles and QuadKeys can be stored in a collection. XYZ Tiles and QuadKeys are reserved for the SEARCH keyword only.

Lat/lon point

The most basic object type is a point that is composed of a latitude and a longitude. There is an optional z member that may be used for auxiliary data such as elevation or a timestamp.

set fleet truck1 point 33.5123 -112.2693     # plain lat/lon
set fleet truck1 point 33.5123 -112.2693 225 # lat/lon with z member

Bounding box

A bounding box consists of two points. The first being the southwestern most point and the second is the northeastern most point.

set fleet truck1 bounds 30 -110 40 -100


A geohash is a string respresentation of a point. With the length of the string indicating the precision of the point.

set fleet truck1 hash 9tbnthxzr # this would be equivlent to 'point 33.5123 -112.2693'


GeoJSON is an industry standard format for representing a variety of object types including a point, multipoint, linestring, multilinestring, polygon, multipolygon, geometrycollection, feature, and featurecollection. Tile38 supports all of the standards with these exceptions.

  1. The crs member is not supported and will be ignored. The CRS84/WGS84 projection is assumed.
  2. Any member that is not recognized (including crs) will be ignored.
  3. All coordinates can be 2 or 3 axes. Less than 2 axes or more than 3 will result in a parsing error.

* All ignored members will not persist.

Important to note that all coordinates are in Longitude, Latitude order.

set city tempe object {"type":"Polygon","coordinates":[[[0,0],[10,10],[10,0],[0,0]]]}

XYZ Tile

An XYZ tile is rectangle bounding area on earth that is represented by an X, Y coordinate and a Z (zoom) level. Check out maptiler.org for an interactive example.


A QuadKey used the same coordinate system as an XYZ tile except that the string representation is a string characters composed of 0, 1, 2, or 3. For a detailed explanation checkout The Bing Maps Tile System.

Network protocols

It's recommended to use a client library or the Tile38 CLI, but there are times when only HTTP is available or when you need to test from a remote terminal. In those cases we provide an HTTP and telnet options.


One of the simplest ways to call a tile38 command is to use HTTP. From the command line you can use curl. For example:

# call with request in the body
curl --data "set fleet truck3 point 33.4762 -112.10923" localhost:9851

# call with request in the url path
curl localhost:9851/set+fleet+truck3+point+33.4762+-112.10923


Websockets can be used when you need to Geofence and keep the connection alive. It works just like the HTTP example above, with the exception that the connection stays alive and the data is sent from the server as text websocket messages.


There is the option to use a plain telnet connection. The default output through telnet is RESP.

telnet localhost 9851
set fleet truck3 point 33.4762 -112.10923

The server will respond in JSON or RESP depending on which protocol is used when initiating the first command.

  • HTTP and Websockets use JSON.
  • Telnet and RESP clients use RESP.

Client Libraries

Tile38 uses the Redis RESP protocol natively. Therefore most clients that support basic Redis commands will in turn support Tile38. Below are a few of the popular clients.


Josh Baker @tidwall


Tile38 source code is available under the MIT License.