Web mapping is serving maps online, quickly. Google Maps invented map tiles with its trunk Web Mercator projection. All other slippy maps followed Google's lead, with tiles at the base.

OGC Standards is a major effort in standardizing open techniques in web mapping.

Figure: Technique stack of web mapping

In overview, to make a web map, you need map data (typically managed in a database), tiles rendered from these data with some style, features you wanna overlay, and a mapping library that present all these online.

Mapping Library

Other open source libraries:

  • OpenLayers: complex, bulky and slow. (But it seems making a comeback.)
  • Modest Maps
  • Polymaps

Other commercial mapping APIs:

  • Google Maps API
  • Bing Maps API
  • Nokia HERE Maps API


leaflet.js is a JavaScript library developed by Vladimir Agafonkin (@mourner). It is by far the most popular open source map library.


D3.js can make non-slippy maps with other projections.


mapbox.js is a JavaScript API developed upon leaflet.js as Vladimir Agafonkin got employed by Mapbox. It only provides limited free API access.

Mapbox.js uses the Mapbox web services API, which requires an API access token. You must supply an access token to Mapbox.js.

API access tokens: Public tokens (pk) can be shared in places where they are easy to rotate (like inside scripts on websites). Secret tokens (sk) must be kept private and used within desktop and mobile apps, which are usually more difficult to update.

Map ID: identifier for ya map, e.g. 'rudazhan.05f604ed'. Your map ID will also be automatically included in your share URLs and map embed code.

Map Feature

Web maps prefer KML and, more recently, GeoJSON for vector data layers, aka features. OGRE is a web client of ogr2ogr, which converts Shapefile to GeoJSON.

Map Tiles

Map tiles are just raster images on the Web, which makes up the base layer. Map tile providers: OpenStreetMap, MapBox, CloudMade, Stamen, MapQuest.

CartoDB takes care of almost all of the following tasks for you.

Tile Server

MapBox can host your custom tiles.

Or you can run your own tile server with TileServer.php, TileStache, TileCache, TileStream , mbtiles-server, mod_tile.

Tile Renderer

Typically, web tiles are rendered with Mapnik.

Tile Design

TileMill is a styling tool for map tiles. The format of styling files is CartoCSS.

Map Data

MapBox takes data directly from OSM, in style.


See the main article about OpenStreetMap.

Overpass API: formerly known as OSM Server Side Scripting, the Overpass API is a read-only API that serves up custom selected parts of the OSM map data. It acts as a database over the web: the client sends a query to the API and gets back the data set that corresponds to the query.

Overpass Turbo is a GUI for testing and developing queries for the Overpass API. It can also used for simple analysis of OSM data.

Initializing an RDBMS with OSM data can take several days and 300-400 gigabytes of storage.

OSM has promising road (network) topology.


  • Speaker: Omar Ureta
  • WiFi name: FNP-guest
  • Username: LAofficeguest
  • Password: fp528la

Maptime Lessons and Resources

Eric Theise - Let's Talk About Your Geostack

🏷 Category=Geographic Information System