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Hi all,

first of all, sorry for my newbie question as I am new to OpenStreetMap and could not really find answers to my questions. I hope someone has the patience to answer these. Thanks in advance.

I have a commercial non-Web windows app (Windows Forms or WPF) and I would like this app to have a map window that would be based on downloading map tiles on the background and offer the user all expected features like moving, zooming the map etc. and displaying his own localized objects (stored locally) - very similar what the GMap.NET project does.

  1. Is it possible to make such an application to download all the map data from the OpenStreetMap servers or do we have to find a different (commercial) provider? Using Google Maps for example, one has to pay when the traffic of downloading all the map tiles gets high.

  2. Is there an API that is recommended for this purpose (ie. downloading map tiles for different map areas to build an interactive map? I know, that GMap.NET found a way, but is this a documented API, which is not subject to future changes which would, of course, break such an application?

Thank you very much.


asked 11 Sep '14, 07:40

Alex780526's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Just to clarify: would your application be connected to the internet (i.e. could it request map tiles from an external server), or do you want to have all the map tiles stored locally?

(11 Sep '14, 12:14) Lightsider

The Wiki page tile usage policy could help to answer your question. The underlying data is free to download and use; the map tiles (ie the visualised data) are not. It's a question of server costs - users of your application would be creating an additional load for the OSM tile servers.

For your internal testing purposes, you can use the tiles generated by the OSM tile servers (for information on how to do this, see the slippy map page on the Wiki or the "using tiles" page on switch2osm - I'm afraid I'm not an expert in this). Once you deploy your application, however, it would be best to use a commercial third-party tile server (such as MapQuest Open, Geofabrik, Mapbox, etc - see lists here and here) - although note that they also have conditions you have to abide by. Alternatively, you can set up your own server to generate the map tiles and make them available to your application (the switch2osm web site has some guidance on how to set up your own server).

permanent link

answered 11 Sep '14, 12:13

Lightsider's gravatar image

accept rate: 42%

edited 12 Sep '14, 13:32


You missed an important point : it is also possible to use third party OSM tiles providers like MapQuest Open, Geofabrik, Mapbox, etc. They have also restrictions and depends on the traffic. To be checked with them. List here

(11 Sep '14, 15:18) Pieren

Good point; thank you! I have updated my answer.

(12 Sep '14, 13:32) Lightsider

Ok, guys, thank you both for the informative answers. Alex

(01 Oct '14, 14:46) Alex780526

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question asked: 11 Sep '14, 07:40

question was seen: 7,611 times

last updated: 01 Oct '14, 14:46

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum