Different renderes in OSM according to different needs

I’ve just read the thread “POTW: Icons for Renders” because I’d like to see yet another set of symbols (waterway locks) on the map. IMO all these special interests can’t by fulfilled by the current set of renderers. They should be replaced by renderers fulfilling a certain need. Therefore Mapnik, Osmarenderer, etc should be replaced renderers like

  • Car map: Evereything related to traveling by car
  • Bycicle map: Ditto bycicle
  • Waterway map: Everything related to waterways
  • Geographical: Just plain geographical infos
  • Other needs: Whatever is sensible

Sure enough as long as a symbol is shown on different maps it should be shown identical or at least recognisable similar (most probably just larger/smaller). Yet e.g. a waterway map should also show roads or towns, etc but it may not show houses, etc.

IMO it should be possible to create such a renderer system by a single renderer with display rules. This would allow for many different needs.


There are already many specialised maps for various purposes and more appear every day (although not in the layer chooser on openstreetmap.org)
http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OSM_Online_Browsing has a nice list of them, although there are by now quite a few more it seems.

already seen http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Rendering ??

Yes, albeit the information is rather sparse. One has to try out each renderer to get an idea whats shown. Besides renderer “noname” does not even render correctly (see http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=48.68946&lon=6.75503&zoom=15&layers=N), I don’t understand why it’s there.


Well how are they found if the weren’t on the main map. I still think it’s necessary to support many more needs on the main map.


You will not find them because there is no “main map”. What you see on openstreetmap.org is a kind of “showroom” and something usefull for the contributors looking for the most populare features present in the database. The cycle map is also there for historical reasons (it was the first nice specialized osm map which received many awards).
But OSM is mainly a geodatabase, rendered maps are side effects, like routing applications. Some people already suggested in the past to remove all maps from the main page because it is suggesting that OSM is mainly a rendering project which is not the case. OSM is collecting geodata and many applications are free to use them for rendering, routing or whatever you like.
The list of applications using OSM data is growing very fast, it’s impossible to list all of them from the “+” sign in the main slippy map. The wiki is more appropriate for that.

About the noname map, it’s not a big issue if natural or landuse polygones are not nicely rendered since the aim of this special map is to highlight highways where the tag ‘name’ is missing (this is usually the case for roads added from aerial imagery).

Exactly. How do I see the locks I added to the “Canal de la Marne au Rhin”? If they weren’t shown (as it’s currently the case), I’m not going to add this information to the map anymore. Nobody would. What sense does it make to add information which is never visible. Beside most other services (maps, routing, navigation) just use the same features as OSM, therefore OSM should care much more for renderers.


According the Tagwatch tool:

we have currently about 237000 different tags in the database. It is simply impossible to render everything on the same map. In fact, many people do contribute only for things which are rendered and many others are also adding things which are not currently rendered or rendered (or used) on some specialized application.

You are free to tag what YOU think is important. And if YOU think that what you tag is so usefull that it should be visible on the mapnik or osmarender map, you can submit a trac ticket here:http://trac.openstreetmap.org/
and some of the people maintaining the rendering styles might accept your request (or not).

Hi, well seeing more maps is a top rated wish by the users: http://osm.uservoice.com

Cause I have a similar oppinion that a showroom might not be a great idea, I’m thinking about contributing a second ‘low level’ rendering where similar to osmarender the most features get listed.
This would avoid the issue that people get shocked by masses of information and allows us to show how much stuff we have.
I wrote a few reasons why we should add more features/styles/icons at the post mentioned on top by wyo.
Main Idea is that the mapnik map is recognized as ‘the map’ by external endusers that aren’t experienced with Geodata (and it’s multiple rendering possibilities).
Another nice list:

You name it. To show all of these tags, a complete different set of renderes is needed.

A trac ticket isn’t the right way, else all others might submit tickets for their tags.


I think you have no idea about what cost a slippy map worldwide from z1 to z18, not just in hardware ressources (lots of Gb in disks and bandwidth) but also in time to invest in the rendering styles setup and maintenance. Again, it’s not the aim of OSM to provide slippy maps but geodata for geoapplications, including slippy maps. If you feel that a special map for waterways is missing, you are free to setup one yourself and build a team for that with devs, styles editors, etc. If the result is nice like the cyclemap, I’m sure that it will be considered by the server admins to be included in the list of available maps showed on the main openlayer map.

I think a first approach to solve the slippy map problem migth be a menu similar to http://tools.geofabrik.de/map/

But what if a slippy map only covers the world / zoom levels partially? What if there are different maps covering the same theme (e.g. public transport)?

True. I’ll think of another solution for rendering different map feature sets. So lets close this thread.


Tiles are good for serving standard maps for massive amount of users. However, tile system gets heavy if more user interactivity is wished. At some moment there would be so many different tile sets to render and keep on the file system that it will be better to switch to on-demand rendering. That can be handled with, for example, a number of WMS servers.
I uploaded once an image about my first trial with the new osm2pgsql hstore option. Image is not extremely nice but hopefully it makes the idea clear http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/User_talk:JRA

The image has a simple OSM basemap rendered with Mapserver. On top of that there is another simple layer osm_poi (red dots). The whole image is rendered on-the-fly, and user can send what ever key-value pair with the image request. Thus all the tags which exist in the OSM database are supported. Unfortunately, how to do this is not yet documented on the page.

WMS standard allows also that the user sends the styles with request. Thus POI layer does not need to be allways red dots but user can decide how POIs should look like. I think I must write also about how to achieve this. And user can click the map and ask for more information about the clicked feature.

Service is slower than tile based system. I estimate it can serve about 100 images (600x800 pixels) per minute from my slow laptop.