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

Hi. I want to convert jpg photos of a large 190-year old hand-drawn map of my town into a digital map that can be distributed with a very simple map viewer program on CD to members of a local historicsl society, many of whom are computer novices.

I think I need 2 programs, a renderer which works with Vista so I can create the map on my PC, and a separate basic viewer which can be distributed along with the map tiles on the CD. I guess it doesnlt really matter what file format the map tiles are, just so long as the viewer can accept them - unless you know otherwise.

Ideally the renderer would be free, but I could pay a small shareware fee.

The viewer needs to be free so that it can be distributed on CD to our members. It needs to be compatible with recent Windows flavours, but also working with Mac, Linux and Android would give future-proofing. Being runnable without needing installing would be good - maybe it could even be run from the CD without needing to be copied with the maps to the end user's computer. But Xmas is a long way off!

The viewer's GUI needs to suit a desktop monitor display (ie horizontal format) but if the CD contents can also be copied to smartphones and work with their screens too, this would be great (though not essential). I don't need GPS or tracks or any online functions at all. POI functions would be useful for labelling features, but not essential. Zooming and scrolling would be needed.

The photos I have of the map would stitch together to form an image of roughly 20,000 x 30,000 pixels (the original map was drawn at 10" to 1 mile and measures a whopping 2m x 3m). It was hand-tinted with watercolours and I wish to preserve the original appearance rather than add layers of features. Because of this, mybe sticking with raster is better than converting to vector.

I was looking at Maplorer, but it seems to be limted to Win CE and I'm not sure whether it would be compatible with desktop monitor screens.

Regrettably I have zero programming experience, so off-the-shelf looks like a must!

Any advice very welcome!

asked 15 Jan '17, 23:28

Amesbury's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

For the viewer, you should choose OpenLayers or Leaflet (both are Javascript libraries). You will have to copy the respective Javascript files onto the disc and write a 20-line HTML snippet but there's plenty of online resources to help you with that (see e.g. - note that these instructions have you download tiles from OSM whereas what you want is your own tiles). The advantage of this is that it's totally free and requires only a web browser on the user's computer (no installation required).

For generating the tiles, while there are free and open source ways to do it (stitch images together into a GeoTIFF using QGis, then use gdal2tiles), an easier way might be using the proprietary software MapTiler ( - try their free version to see if it allows you to do what you need.

permanent link

answered 16 Jan '17, 09:10

Frederik%20Ramm's gravatar image

Frederik Ramm ♦
accept rate: 23%


Frederik, this is very helpful, thanks. Basic HTML is not beyond me, so your viewer suggestions look very promising. Still comparing both.

Shame I just can't afford the 3-figure cost of MapTiler needed for my large image, but I have been looking into gdal2tiles and may just try dippiong my toes into the murky sea of programming after all.

Cheers, Lawrence

(16 Jan '17, 19:34) Amesbury

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:


question asked: 15 Jan '17, 23:28

question was seen: 2,385 times

last updated: 16 Jan '17, 19:37

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