Using OSM Data in iPhone apps - I want map tiles without POI's


I’m involved in developing a ‘City Guide’ style iPhone app and would like to use OSM mapping.

Is it possible to download streetmap tiles of a city with zero POI’s included on the map? I can’t currently find a way of stopping POI’s such as shops, bars, bus stops, etc. from showing on the maps.



The map tiles hosted by the OSM-foundation (alias don’t provide that feature, as there is only the one stile at the moment you see on the main map which includes alot of POIs. You should also be careful to check out the Tile usage policy if you are using it for iPhone apps.

However, OpenStreetMap provides you with the raw data and you can thus easily render your own tiles with what ever style you like, including one that has no POI’s on it. Something like Tile Drawer makes this process quite easy, or perhaps even easier is to use one of the companies commercial hosting OpenStreetMap based tiles like CloudMade or Geofabrik. CloudMade make it particularly easy to come up with new styles optimised for your application with their easy to use StyleEditor.

Thanks for your reply

Looks like there are some options out there, which is all I needed to know at this point.

With your comment about Tile usage policy, this would be an offline app and would not call a tile server. Are there other issues I should consider, or were you referring to potential tile server traffic?



I was referring to “possible to download streetmap tiles” which I assumed meant you were planning on downloading tiles from a tileserver and then displaying them either directly or later in your app. If that tile server happens to be {a,b,c}.tile., then the tile usage policy applies. If you aren’t using that server in anyway, it doesn’t apply.

A common “usage” in iPhone apps though is to download a whole large area from the tileservers storing it for later offline usage. Although there is nothing wrong with downloading tiles for offline usage (or any other usage) per se, this pattern of downloading puts a heavy strain on the tileservers as you nearly always download many more tiles than you are actually going to display, to make sure that any tile that you do want to display is available. Unfortunately OSM doesn’t have the resources to provide this kind of service which is why the tile usage policy was put in place to ensure services don’t degrade for everyone.

Given that this has been a common pattern in the past, I just thought it was worth pointing out the potential problems in case you were intending something similar.