Upcoming Free Webinar: Serving OSM Data with GeoServer – Advanced Styling

Dear Reader,

Open Street Map (OSM) is a popular collaboration mapping project that has over 2 million registered users. It provides the capability to update, using the power of crowdsourcing, critical information that can help decision makers and citizens to make day-to-day decisions. For example, the Humanitarian Open Street (HOT) Team is coordinating updating the status of hospitals, times that businesses are operating, and other useful data, during the COVID-19 outbreak. It is safe to say that OSM data is successfully used as base maps in a wide variety of tools and services.

When it comes to using OSM data in our maps there are many options available. These are some of them:

 The key factors to account for when deciding how to serve OSM data are, in our opinion, the following:

  • Production Readiness: as in the ability to use the tiles in operational environments, where an SLA might need to be ensured.
  • Custom Tile Grids: as in the ability to customize tile gridsets to support more coordinate reference systems, different tile sizes, etc.
  • Custom Styling: as in the ability to customize quickly the rendering styles to accustom different needs (e.g. land vs marine use case).
  • Interoperability: ability to serving data via open standards (e.g. OGC WMS, WMTS or WFS) to enable easy use by most GIS clients and reduce vendor lock-in.
  • Offline Use: as in the ability to use tiles offline or in protected environments (e.g. defense, security, emergency rescue, etc.)
  • Usage Fee: as in the eventual per use costs to pay for using a tile service.

The table below provides a quick comparison for the different options mentioned above.

Comparison of Some Options to Serve OSM Data on the Web

Comparison of Some Options to Serve OSM Data on the Web

A few observations:

  • Production readiness can vary a lot depending on your requirements, as well as, on the expertise of those who would be setting up the services.  The main openstreetmap.org site might not be the best choice for high traffic sites due the fairness restrictions which could, obviously, limit traffic.
  • Setting up and maintaining your own stack does not come for free as it requires both expert time as well as hardware and software resources.
  • Usage Fees can vary a lot between different services, depending on your needs and web traffic.
  • If you need to use OSM data in a disconnected environment, the only options you have is to set up and host your own server.

Long story short, the number of options available is big, hence you need to analyze your use case in detail before making a decision, considering in the picture also your budget and available expertise.

As you might know, at GeoSolutions we have extensive expertise when it comes to GeoServer. While we are eager users of the original OSM service, we have found ourselves many times in the position to setup an OGC Server on top of OSM data via GeoServer for us and for our clients. Last month we published a blog about the process we went through to use GeoServer to publish and style OSM data. We also made available the GeoServer data directory containing the configuration and styles used to portrait the data.

Based on comments and popularity of the blog, we decided to setup a series of  free webinars to go through the whole process that goes from downloading OSM data to serving it as scale with GeoServer while we will also allow participants to interact with key GeoServer developers and DevOps at GeoSolutions. Therefore, we cordially invite you to join the first webinar with our GeoServer Technical Lead Andrea Aime, Serving OSM Data with GeoServer – Advanced Styling, which will take place on the 27th of April from 5pm to 7:30pm CET (that is from 11am to 1:30 pm EST or from 8am to 10:30 am PDT); you can register by clicking on the button below.


Once you register we will provide more information about how to download the data and other tools that we will use at the webinar (e.g Docker container, sample styles and sample of high resolution OSM data).

Hope to see you virtually on April 27th, meanwhile stay safe and keep strong!