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Make OpenStreetMap vector tiles without the stack

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Tilemaker creates vector tiles (in Mapbox Vector Tile format) from an .osm.pbf planet extract, as typically downloaded from providers like Geofabrik. It aims to be 'stack-free': you need no database and there is only one executable to install.

Vector tiles are used by many in-browser/app renderers, and can also power server-side raster rendering. They enable on-the-fly style changes and greater interactivity, while imposing less of a storage burden. You can output them to individual files, or to a SQLite (.mbtiles) database.

See an example of a vector tile map produced by tilemaker at

Continuous Integration


Tilemaker is written in C++14. The chief dependencies are:

  • Google Protocol Buffers
  • Boost (latest version advised, 1.66 minimum)
  • Lua (5.1 or later) or LuaJIT
  • sqlite3
  • shapelib
  • rapidjson

sqlitemoderncpp, and kaguya are bundled in the include/ directory.

You can then simply install with:

sudo make install

For detailed installation instructions for your operating system, see

Out-of-the-box setup

Tilemaker comes with configuration files compatible with the popular OpenMapTiles schema, and a demonstration map server. You'll run tilemaker to make vector tiles from your

source data. To create the tiles, run this from the tilemaker directory:
tilemaker --input /path/to/your/input.osm.pbf \
    --output /path/to/your/output.mbtiles

If you want to include sea tiles, then create a directory called

in the same place you're running tilemaker from, and then save the files from in it, such that tilemaker can find a file at

Then, to serve your tiles using the demonstration server:

cd server
ruby server.rb /path/to/your/output.mbtiles

You can now navigate to http://localhost:8080/ and see your map!

(If you don't already have them, you'll need to install Ruby and the required gems to run the demonstration server. On Ubuntu, for example,

sudo apt install sqlite3 libsqlite3-dev ruby ruby-dev
and then
sudo gem install sqlite3 cgi glug rack

Your own configuration

Vector tiles contain (generally thematic) 'layers'. For example, your tiles might contain river, cycleway and railway layers. It's up to you what OSM data goes into each layer. You configure this in tilemaker with two files:

  • a JSON file listing each layer, and the zoom levels at which to apply it
  • a Lua program that looks at each node/way's tags, and places it into layers accordingly

You can read more about these in

The JSON configuration and Lua processing files are specified with

respectively. Defaults are config.json and process.lua in the current directory. If there is no config.json and process.lua in the current directory, and you do not specify
, an error will result.

Read about tilemaker's runtime options in

You might also find these resources helpful:

  • Read our introduction to vector tiles.
  • See a workflow for "Generating self-hosted maps using tilemaker" at
  • See for a list of renderers which support vector tiles.

Why tilemaker?

You might use tilemaker if:

  • You want to create vector tiles yourself, without a third-party contract
  • You don't want to host/maintain a database
  • You want a flexible system capable of advanced OSM tag processing
  • You want to create ready-to-go tiles for offline use

But don't use tilemaker if:

  • You want someone else to create and host the tiles for you
  • You want the entire planet
  • You want continuous updates with the latest OSM data


Bug reports, suggestions and (especially!) pull requests are very welcome on the Github issue tracker. Please check the tracker to see if your issue is already known, and be nice. For questions, please use IRC ( or, channel #osm-dev) and

Formatting: braces and indents as shown, hard tabs (4sp). (Yes, I know.) Please be conservative about adding dependencies or increasing the memory requirement.


Tilemaker is maintained by Richard Fairhurst and supported by many contributors.

Copyright tilemaker contributors, 2015-2021. The tilemaker code is licensed as FTWPL; you may do anything you like with this code and there is no warranty. The included sqlitemoderncpp (Amin Roosta) is MIT; kaguya is licensed under the Boost Software Licence.

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