Seeking permission for

According to, I should ask for permission for usage in an app.

My app is Öffi, a popular Android app for public transportation:

For the last couple of years, the app was using the Google Maps v1 API, but it is slowly dying. I’m migrating the app to use Mapsforge, a very nice library for tile- or vector-based OSM maps ( I recently contributed a few features to Mapsforge to get its look and feel on par with Google Maps.

Now, Öffi has a couple of million users, which I think qualifies as “heavy usage”. I do not know exact usage stats, because I do not like spying on users with e.g. Google analytics. It’s decentralized, so HTTP requests will originate from the users phones and tables, potentially from everywhere (mostly German speaking countries). In my prototype, I configured Mapsforge to cache and persist already downloaded tiles.

The above page states I should ask the admins, but there is no contact address to be found for any of them. So I’m asking for permission in this forum, hoping the right people are reading this or someone can point me to them.

It’s not clear whether you are using an OSM tile server or one run by someone else. The page you quote only refers to tile servers run by OSM itself.

The page you quote links to this page: which gives contact information for the administrators and also mentions an IRC channel, so I don’t understand how you can’t find the administrators.

Although the number of users doesn’t really indicate the number of accesses, which is the critical parameter. My guess is that they would expect the marginal cost of providing the tiles to your users to be met as the application is not contributing to the improvement of the OSM map data. However they may prefer that you operate your own tile server.

My feeling is that free access, for non-mappers, is provided more to encourage innovation than to support established applications.

Yes, that sums things up well. As hadw says, the best way to get in touch with the admins is on IRC.

The OSM Foundation is not able to sell tile-hosting services - even if it wanted to (which it doesn’t), its hosting contracts forbid reselling. So I’d suggest your options are:

  • set up your own tileserver ( has full instructions)
  • use free third-party tiles from another source (which pretty much means Mapquest Open, though they might not be around forever)
  • use a commercial hosting service - try Thunderforest, Geofabrik or Mapbox

Hello Goonie,

see for a list of professional companies … some of them do tile serving or similar services.

Maybe some of them can offer a low-cost service for you, or at least give hints about an own solution with own servers.

If you use the maps API v2 the those people who don’t care if Google knows about them or not will be willing to use it. And for those of us who keep Google off our phones as best we are able can use the new GMS core software from the microG project which implements the v2 API using vector tiles from Open Science Map which, in turn uses Open Street Map data.

I’m talking about “{a,b,c}”.

I carefully inspected that page again (and the user pages that are linked), but could not find a single contact address (email address, XMPP address, phone Number, SMS number, Skype name, whatever) and also not the reference to the IRC channel you’re talking about. Can you point me to it?

“please discuss your requirement with system administrators either via their wiki pages or on the IRC channel <> prior to starting.”

“Jon Burgess (User:Jburgess <>) - Tile server admin”

Doesn’t Google Maps API cost money if you cause more than 25000 uses a day? Did you actually pay, were you using the excemption “in the public interest = free”, or below 25k uses? Most importantly, shouldn’t google maps API tell you how much usage of the maps you actually got?

There is also the german style under - maybe they would be permitting to use of their tileserver, considering Oeffi is well known in Germany.

As a long time user of Oeffi (even used it abroad, in London), I’m looking forward to Oeffi dropping Google Maps in favour of something less data-collection-hungry.