Israel regional OSM server

The question has been raised before, I thought the issue deserves a thread of its own.

Would anyone on this forum have the necessary resources (or knew how to get them) to set up a server for the Israel OSM Community?

Such a server would produce and display:

  • Slippy map of Israel in Hebrew/English/Arabic/Russian/Amhari
  • pdf files with city maps
  • Garmin files for road navigation (with a different mkgmap style)
  • A custom Hiking map
  • Single (mtb) maps, like ShvilNet
  • Route map for the Israel National Trail, Jesus Trail, Golan Trail etc.
  • Route map for the TLV-JM-Bike-Route (fully mapped, better than anything else available)

Since Israel is so small, it wouldn’t take much resources to render all the tiles in realtime (with per-minute database updates). We would also have the chance to fix some irritating issues such as contour lines below sea level, reversed multiline Hebrew names in Mapnik and what not.


Such a pro bono project should fit well with a department of Geography in TAU or HUJI. Anybody got connections?

I study Geography in TAU.
I once asked the head of department something about the OSM project, but didn’t get any real answers…

I can try again if you want too…


I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt…
Try to get his/her interest by telling how wonderful and useful OSM is.

Hi all,

I have set up a highly experimental rendering server which displays custom map of Israel based on OSM database.

See here:

Some details:

  1. The rendering styile is based on OSM.ORG mapnik default stylesheet, with the following “hacks”:
  • Mapnik 2.0 is used, therefore all labels in Hebrew are displayed correctly :slight_smile:
  • All labels are rendered in the following order: name:he–>name:en–>name
  • Armistice lines are not shown, but the Security Wall is rendered instead.
  • Suburb names start to appear on lower zoom levels than we’re used to.
  1. The server is hosted on the Amazon Cloud. I use their free offering, so the server is very low-performance and therefore the response times are in general very big. Tiles are rendered on-demand, so if you go to higher zoom levels, chances are you will have to wait until you see the map.
  2. The data is currently taken from the daily geofabrik snapshot (but for now the update is not automated yet).
  3. Additional layers (click the “+”):
  • “Cycle map” - this is work in progress and for now nothing special to look at, just some default stylesheet (with the above mentioned naming order) on top of SRTM based hillshading.
  • “KKL Public sites” - this is the second part of the dataset which was contributed by KKL, and which I didn’t have time to import yet. More on this in another thread later.
    -“Cellular Antennas” - this is the data taken from the site of the Ministry of Environment Protection. OSM is not allowed to import this dataset.
  • “Bike shops” - lists all “shop=bicycle” directly from OSM.
    You can click on any one of the objects from the three additional layers, and the data fields will be displayed on the right.

I am not sure if all of this leads somewhere, but I hope that in time we can create a rendering style which will be fine-tuned for Israel. I am therefore more than open to suggestions.


Great work. Its nice that things are moving forward.

to 1:
Please consider changing the rendering order in the Israel territory to “name:he–> name → name:en” as I see a lot of places defined in English because the name:he is missing.
The other option is to run the script (in the past done by Talkat) to copy the name tag to name:he where the name:he doesn’t exits.
I have personally not copied the name:he in the work I’m currently doing in Haifa as its time consuming and can be done by script, so Haifa looks very English. Sorry for that :frowning:

to 2:
slow is better than nothing!

to 3:
can you please show somewhere when the last update was processed.


Of course the rendering engine itself is not enough for a site like this.
What we need is informative website in Hebrew and English (later Russian and Arabic) that shows how to map in OSM and what this data can be used for.

Currently there is no source for people that search for maps of Israel as the wiki page.
A designed website showing all the wiki information in a good way would give the ISRAEL OSM project a good push.
Example : (a disaster in terms of design, thats why they are working on a redesign)

Placing a big button for opening bugs should already give us some feedback from users.
Maybe download links how to use the Israel map on mobile devices or what websites are using the Openstreet- data could be also beneficial.

BTW: what is the cheapest way to register the domain : ?
The English websites I found saying it costs more than 100 € a year.

Anything cheaper available in Israel?

The reason I chose the order name:he->name:en->name is that majority of Israeli users should be able to read everything on the map (I mean not necessarily places inside Israel) without knowing Arabic. I thought that there are some places which do not have Hebrew tag but only Arabic as the default and English. But I’ll give it a try nevertheless.

I suspect it is too dangerous to assume that “name” is always in Hebrew. Unless there is some automatic reliable way to determine if a given string is in Hebrew script or not.

Sure, I’ll add it.

I agree. Most people don’t have the time to search in the osm wiki and/or on forums.
However, I am very bad at designing websites :frowning:

In any case, in its current setup cannot be the front page for Israel OSM (sorry for choosing such a name) but ony as a playground for experiments.


There are several options for ~70 NIS a year.

Done: what is displayed is the date when the import process finished.


70 NIS is a joke in compare. So we should think of a registration of this domain.
If you want we can half it :slight_smile:

Beside that we need to think how to continue with the website project.
It is not a big problem to do a nice design for the website. But we should think of a major benefit.

We need to find the major benefit for creating and using our own rendering server.
I will personally not use a server that gets monthly or weekly updates only because it is taking more care about the Israel OSM interests.
We need to find some great features to use, so people will stuck to the OSM project and think how to help or correct the data.

What do you think about the following features:

  • Multi language map (Hebrew, Arabic, English)
  • Activate and deactivate highlighting of the 1949 border.
  • Activate and deactivate highlighting of the barrier. If we have different relations per status we should make that visible, too.
  • Link to a the OSM Bug system
  • Link to the OSM Help system.
  • Showing or linking to all speed cameras in Israel (
  • Link and explain how to use the Israeli map on your own devices. Maybe a list of apps that support Israel etc.

That we would build the map with its features to a nice looking website and woalla!
Do you have some space on the server you are using?

I think we should focus on outdoor activities - hiking and biking.
OSM will never reach the levels of detail provided by or which are also freely available.
New mountainbike singles or blazed hiking trails are only depicted in copyrighted maps like “Simun Shvilim” from the Rashut and “shvilnet” which are not online.

Have faith, my friend…
OSM has reached and surpassed everything which previously existed in Europe, commercial or not, due to the enormous number of enthusiasts and strong support from commercial service providers. Israel has a long way to go, but it is doable.
Even today, there are several places in Israel OSM which are more accurate on street level than in the commercial maps.

But I agree with Mr_Israel that we should have a clear objective (at least short-term) to maintain our own server. As far as documentation of OSM is concerned, I believe the OSM wiki is the best place - everything can be translated into Hebrew/Arabic and made more accessible to non-freaks.

My original incentive was to have a rendering which would be usable in Israel - for instance, a small web app which wants to embed a map quickly but doesn’t have the resources to produce its own rendering, and still dissatisfied with the default mapnik (borders/non-Hebrew etc.)

One of the things which can be done is city maps a la maposmatic.

Multilanguage rendering is not a problem, but right now it would only be meaningful for Hebrew and English.

Besides showing overlays such as Lonvia/hikiebikemap/opencyclemap, we could have Hiking Books automatically generated for all the marked routes.

hey dimka was faster then me…

fully agree! osm is more that those fancy looking map services. we have the data and people can use ititfor whatever!
and yes, we are partly a lot more detailed on street level than any commercial app provider.

Osm changed the world of offline maps in mobile applications. almost every mobile app for traveling is using osm. israel has sooo many visitors. thats why i worked for enbokek and eilat and big travel destinations.

of course outdoor activities could be benefitial, too.
you have a website regarding this topic, no?

I had an idea while adding the MOIN import to OSM.

If I search for example for “Drom HaSharon Regional Council” in Google I can find a link to Wikipedia(,
and even a link to the Relation of this council (

This this is far away from being user friendly. The Wikipedia page is not showing any kind of GEO related information (only the coordinates).
I think it is in the interest of Wikipedia users if we would manually link every council (or even city) to our OSM Server showing the relation in a user friendly way.
Creating a link to Wikipedia to our OSM Server would push us in the page ranking and we would have people visiting our server and getting in touch with the project.

If we could create a mashup between our OSM server and wikipedia data and show it in a more user friendly way that a relation is looking today we have a great benefit that no other map provider can offer.

Lets say on the left the big map with a red highlighted relation of the region. On the right informations from Wikipedia.
The information from Wikipedia could be auto populated and the link to the wikipedia page could be part of the relation.

You could of course look more in the future and imagine showing and linking to hotels in Eilat or Deadsea through this page.
Some small commercials on this kind of page could generate money to pay a server.

BTW: This is what a lot of cheap websites are offering.
Without using the power of OSM.

What do you think?

Actually I once tried a semi-automatic creation of PDF map outlining a certain MOIN relation and it worked nicely.
A first step would be to set up an autogeneration script on the OSM server for those relations from current OSM data.
Then, the autogenerated PDFs would be linked to the relevant Wikipedia articles.

The same goes about city maps.

Now that all MOIN relations are finished, this is certainly possible.

Hope to get to it sometime soon (after the KKL import :wink:


i actually ment to make it the other way around.
a website that will open with a parameter of the relation, showing the name, highlighted map material in osm and wikipedia data.

for example:

this would open a wikipedia osm mashup for the relation 1112222 (ie. netanya)

we could than add the link to the netanya wikipedia page in the section of weblinks.
this way we could generate attention to osm and all people could benefit of this data.

the idea of creating pdf docs of this information could be the goody of the website.

creating a index page for this relations including the cities would be the next step.
talkats autogenerated wikis of the moin import are already high at google ranking.
and this is only a table of content.

Hello everyone,

My name is Yoav, and I run Following an email from dimka, I’ll be glad to provide room on my server for The domain and the server will be ready in a day or two, and I’ll help dimka in whatever he needs.

Happy Mapping!

Shalom Yoav!

that are great news for the OSM project in Israel!
Lets see when we can start all that.

I will contact Dimka regarding this.

Yoav and me had a very nice talk today. I would like to thank him again here for his generosity and willingness to help.

The domain name is already active and I have remote access to it:

The first goal (which will probably take some time) is to transfer there what we already have on, i.e. basic map generation and regular update. It should be stable and fast enough to be displayed as an overlay on amudanan site (like it is done now with the tiles). Map style changes will be decided upon as we progress, but of course everything is open to suggestions.

The front-end to our site will need some (re-)design of course.

After that, all options are open :slight_smile: