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For some particular application purposes, I need some middle-scale of OSM data, for example, 1:10k or 1:50K. Thanks in advance!

asked 26 Aug '17, 11:48

binjiang's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

What do you actually want? Map tiles? Vector tiles? A map you can blow your nose on?

(26 Aug '17, 12:23) SomeoneElse ♦

I meant OSM data - points, lines and polygons, rather than tiles or images.

(26 Aug '17, 13:05) binjiang
(26 Aug '17, 14:27) nevw

These are the largest scale of OSM data. Any middle-scale of OSM data? Thanks!

(26 Aug '17, 16:08) binjiang

There is no such thing as a "middle-scale" of OSM data, or for that matter any scale... There is just node,way and relation data, which has varying accuracy. You yourself! need to make the proper and smart selections, and potentially generalize and style the data, to get the kind of "middle-scale" topographic(?) map look you want.

(26 Aug '17, 20:42) mboeringa

Many thanks for your comments!

I see your point. Then I wonder how OSM created those middle-scales and small-scales, from which different zoom levels ( were generated. Is there any standard for generating middle-scale and small-scales?

(26 Aug '17, 21:30) binjiang

"Is there any standard for generating middle-scale and small-scales?"

Well, yes and no.

Of course there is 100+ years of topographic maps from many national mapping agencies around the globe as your guide, and the main Standard style (aka "openstreetmap-carto") has an open GitHub repository with SQL and zoom levels:

But none of this is really a hard standard, so other than that, you are on your own.

I spend the past 4 years developing my own advanced topographic map style for ArcGIS... there is lots of cartographic research and trial and error going into a truly sophisticated display at different scales, and especially the topographic scales of 1:10k - 1:50k, where space is limited and a desire to show a lot.

(27 Aug '17, 00:17) mboeringa

Thanks all for your answers! It is sure that there are no middle-scale or small-scale OSM data available, not to say any arbitrary scale of OSM data. However, cartographic community and the European INSPIRE project have been working very hard to create middle-scale and small-scale maps from a single largest-scale database ( Unfortunately little progress is made, and subsequently, national mapping agencies around the world have to maintain multi-scale databases simultaneously. The multi-scale databases create a lot of problems of maintaining, updating, and harmonizing, not only within a single country, but also across borders. Generations of cartographers have been working very hard towards automatic map generalization, and it would save a lot of man-powers and computing storage.

(14 Sep '17, 20:20) binjiang

It is possible to create a convincing topographic multi-scale map from OpenStreetMap data across a wide range of scales without massive (batch) generalization. My ArcGIS Renderer does this, and I think OpenTopoMap also does a pretty good job ( It does require a re-thinking of what a map should look like, especially in this time of ubiquitous web maps designed to be readable even on horrible low resolution screens. You cannot create a convincing topographic map against such lowest common denominator. Drop support for 90dpi devices, and start designing for minimum 150dpi / 300dpi devices and true offset printed paper maps only. This will allow you to use far smaller font sizes and line widths, creating a true topographic look and feel if done well.

(16 Sep '17, 12:34) mboeringa

Where can I see or test your ArcGIS renders? Thanks!

(16 Sep '17, 14:13) binjiang

It is not yet publicly available, but I have made some test renderings and images available in the below links. Do note that the actual styling is pretty outdated for the first - earliest - link of about three years ago, as I have made considerable changes and improvements since then. Also, contrary to what I wrote back then, I have expanded the style to a full multi-scale map, from 1:50M down to 1:1k:

OLD outdated styling, but large PDFs: Various 1:10k - 1:50k:


NEWER styling, but only small image snippets: 1:2500 large scale:


+/- 1:25k:

(16 Sep '17, 15:46) mboeringa

I have the similar question, Where can I download some small-scale of OSM data?

By the small-scale of OSM data, I meant the data used to create OSM map tiles shown in the website:

Any comments are highly anticipated.

Thanks in advance.


(25 Sep '22, 16:52) binjiang
showing 5 of 12 show 7 more comments

Would it work to use the overpass API with a query that only looks for some object types but not others? E.g., you could filter out highway=service but keep highway=motorway (highway=* values reference).

In addition to whitelisted tags, you probably want to also retrieve any closed way whose area is larger than some lower bound (e.g., for landuse=* / landcover=* tags); I'm not sure how to do that.

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answered 27 Aug '17, 13:03

dsh4's gravatar image

accept rate: 4%

edited 27 Aug '17, 13:04

Of course, there are many users creating “middle-scale” OSM vector datasets. Actually, an efficient and modern (OSM) vector based GIS system and/or digital cartography should (must) have these pre-generated scale levels. These levels are preconditions for efficient data transmission, rendering, arbitrary scaling, rotation, styling, flexible overlays… just to mention some. The number of scale-levels and their position in the spectrum of 1:500 – 1:300M (million) depends on the object type and on some strategic criteria. As an example see the image1,, an extract from a map scaled by 0.54 from the scale level 5 containing planet land, lakes and rivers data layers ( the number of nodes is reduced 68.5, 162.0 and 459.9 times consecutively).
It is immediately clear that a data generalization is the core of the scale levels generation and there are many models of it. How you handle in your model issues like formal and logical data error correction, fragmented/defragmented input, self-crossings, topology connectivity, object type geometry and/or object geometry collapse, static or dynamic vector/edge smoothing (criterion)… considerably affects the quality of the scale levels (makes the difference). For instance image2,, illustrates a fragmentation issue. Note that the fragmentation is an issue even for large map-making players, for instance see the image3,, (and the well-known white pixels/stripes issue).
In my opinion, a robust scale level generation should keep the topology connectivity, use compact object geometries, dynamic vector smoothing and a combination of class/object geometry collapse. Image4,, illustrates the scale level 6 (used for range 1:6M – 1:18M) created by such generalization (data reduction 277.6 and 985.2 times). Note that the river system in image4 is a unique compact area and that the tiny blue spots in the image3 always correspond to a bit wider sections of the rivers in image4.
You may download the scale level 6 (usable in range 1:6M – 1:18M) for planet land and rivers from here, but please respect the OSM licensing roles. The file format is SHP and the coordinates are in the usual Mercator projection.

permanent link

answered 17 Sep '17, 20:38

sanser's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

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question asked: 26 Aug '17, 11:48

question was seen: 3,771 times

last updated: 26 Sep '22, 07:27

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