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Last couple of weeks I spent some time building fake counties, cities and suburbs in Nevada desert (where I figured it would not hurt anyone) just to see how they would render in Mapnik. (I am working on a problem of getting county, city and name rendered without having to drop a place=* node where I want to see the label and I have not found the solution yet, but that's a separate question.)

It occurred to me that I many not be going the best way about it:
- I needlessly load the server with rerender requests
- I have to wait a fairly long time for rerenders, so I am limited in how many tagging scenario I can try
- even though I delete my objects afterwards, it is possible that Nominatim (or other indexers) will have time to pick them; and I don't think Nominatim is very good at deleting its objects in response to OSM deletions.

Is there a safe way to play with OSM/Mapnik without installing any server components of my own? Is there an official Mapnik sandbox perhaps, and if not, how can I create one on the fly?

asked 18 Apr '11, 19:12

ponzu's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 20 Nov '13, 21:33

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦

Is there nothing else online to try rendering test objects in the context of the real OSM data? So far, having a Nevada test site is the best I can do. My only concern is potential impact on Nominatim. I am not clear on how long I can leave my fake cities, counties and other objects in the desert without risk of having them become part of the index.

(20 Apr '11, 22:56) ponzu

For producing your own tiles without installing big software frameworks have a look at

Maps_on_a_Stick or OpenStreetMap-in-a-Box

When you have detailed questions about one of this or other solutions, come over to the OSM forum or the OSM mailinglists.

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answered 18 Apr '11, 20:36

stephan75's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%

Thanks, looks like one or both can fit the bill, although Maps On a Stick have a 219 Mb download. As far as osminabox, would "how do I get started?" be considered a detailed question?

(18 Apr '11, 22:39) ponzu

And the second question before I forget: the tiles I produce with these service would be Mapnik tiles, right? And if so, will they be using the master OSM stylesheet, a stylesheet that's specific to these services, or a stylesheet of my choosing?

(18 Apr '11, 22:40) ponzu

Adding things to OSM which don't actually exist is vandalism. Please don't do it.

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answered 20 Apr '11, 23:11

Vclaw's gravatar image

accept rate: 22%

edited 20 Apr '11, 23:11


Understood. Do you have anything you can recommend as an officially approved rendering sandbox? I am a fairly technical guy (not that I understand how OSM or Mapnik works), but I could not figure out how get started with stephan's advice above.

(20 Apr '11, 23:15) ponzu

There is a dev API, which you can add things to without bothering anyone: Though I'm not sure if it will actually be rendered by anything.

(20 Apr '11, 23:22) Vclaw

Thanks, it looks promising, but I need to figure out a way to get my changes rendered. Is that (easily) doable? After all, I was looking for a Mapnik sandbox, not OSM sandbox. (Although it's good to know where it is in case I need it one day.)

(20 Apr '11, 23:51) ponzu

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question asked: 18 Apr '11, 19:12

question was seen: 5,230 times

last updated: 20 Nov '13, 21:33

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