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A map tile server for PostGIS based on node.js and Mapnik
Tag: 0.2.1

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Windshaft map tiler

A Node.js based webmercator map tile server for PostGIS with Carto map styling API.

  • Pluggable routing to provide customizable tile API URL endpoints
  • Before and after filters to allow custom access control and caching strategies
  • Can render all table data, or data restricted by SQL query
  • Generates image and UTFGrid interactivity tiles
  • Accepts, stores, serves, and applies map styles written in the Carto markup language (same markup as Mapbox Tilemill)
  • Allows setting of CORS headers to allow access to tile data from Javascript
  • No multi layer or composite support yet
Puma Concolor by @eightysteele

Being a dynamic map renderer, windshaft commits some map server 'sins' in it's raw form. The idea is that you the developer will want to graft your own auth/metrics/caching/scaling on top of decent core components. Same old story: high cohesion, low coupling makes us happy.

Windshaft is a library used by, an Open Source Geospatial Database on the Cloud.


  • supports single layer render only.
  • for speed, expects geometry projected to webmercator (EPSG:3857) in a column called the_geom_webmercator.


  • Node 0.4.11+ & npm
  • Mapnik 2.0 or trunk > r3126
  • PostgreSQL >8.3.x, PostGIS >1.5.x
  • Redis >2.2.x


npm install windshaft


var Windshaft = require('windshaft');

// Configure pluggable URLs
// =========================
// The config object must define grainstore config (generally just postgres connection details), redis config,
// a base url and a function that adds 'dbname' and 'table' variables onto the Express.js req.params object.
// In this example, the base URL is such that dbname and table will automatically be added to the req.params
// object by express.js. req2params can be extended to allow full control over the specifying of dbname and table,
// and also allows for the req.params object to be extended with other variables, such as:
// * sql - custom sql query to narrow results shown in map)
// * geom_type - specify the geom type (point|polygon) to get more appropriate default styles
// * cache_buster - forces the creation of a new render object, nullifying existing metatile caches
// * interactivity - specify the column to use in the UTFGrid interactivity layer (defaults to null)
// the base url is also used for getting and setting styles via the urls:
// GET  base_url + '/style' (returns a map style)
// POST base_url + '/style' (allows specifying of a style in Carto markup in the 'style' form variable).
// beforeTileRender and afterTileRender could be defined if you want yo implement your own tile cache policy. See
// an example below

var config = {
        base_url: '/database/:dbname/table/:table',
        req2params: function(req, callback){callback(null,req)},
        grainstore: {datasource: {user:'postgres', host: '', port: 5432}}, //see grainstore npm for other options
        redis: {host: '', port: 6379},
        // this two filters are optional
        beforeTileRender: function(req, res, callback) {
        afterTileRender: function(req, res, tile, headers, callback) {
            callback(null, tile, headers);

// Initialize tile server on port 4000
var ws = new Windshaft.Server(config);
console.log("map tiles are now being served out of: http://localhost:4000" + config.base_url + '/:z/:x/:y.*');

// Specify .png, .png8 or .grid.json tiles.

See examples directory for running server and maptile viewer

Installing Mapnik 2.0


Easy way (note, this is currently failing on Mapnik-2.0 head)

sudo apt-get install build-essential curl wget python-software-properties
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mapnik/nightly-trunk
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libmapnik2 libmapnik2-dev mapnik2-utils

Fiddly but stable way

# make sure you chose the deb to match your machines architecture (amd64 or i386)

sudo apt-get install build-essential curl wget

sudo dpkg -i *.deb

(tested on release 2+dev20110905.svn3272-1~lucid1.deb)



Windshaft has a unit and acceptance test suite. To run them, please read ./test/

Thanks to the Mapnik and Mapbox team for making such flexible tools

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