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Raster Maps (Online / Offline)

This article was last updated in February 2024

Overviewโ€‹

Raster maps are significant and useful additions to OsmAnd vector maps. They allow you to combine various map sources with vector maps. For example, information about hills and slopes is displayed as a raster layer. You can display an overlay of hiking trails, rain maps, real-time traffic data, and an overlay of satellite imagery on a translucent base vector map. You can also switch the default maps to raster tiles on the web.

Use casesโ€‹

Raster maps have a wide range of uses. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Satellite images as an underlay.
  • Real-time traffic information.
  • Rain forecast as an overlay.
  • Topographic maps with the shading of hills and slopes.
  • Active cycling and running routes as an overlay.
  • Real-time vessel information.
  • Online OpenStreetMap tiles for OSM editing.

Online maps overview

tip

You can also change the main source of maps from vector maps to online tiles.

Raster Mapsโ€‹

Online maps in OsmAnd are raster data. Raster data is made up of pixels (also referred to as grid cells) - set of small images (tiles). In contrast to vector maps which consists of binary data like roads, points, polygons. Raster map tiles are usually regularly-spaced and square. They often look pixelated because each pixel has its own value or class.

Comparison to default vector maps.

Advantages:

  • Display time is reasonably faster because maps are not rendered by the device.
  • Raster maps could be loaded on the fly during map browse.
  • Possibility to preload data partially i.e. create offline cache and be able to download missing tiles on the fly.
  • Indefinite variety of external web-sources. Basically, each website with maps could be used as a source data.
  • The data could be updated after expiration like traffic tiles are updated every 20-30 minutes (configurable).

Disadvantages:

  • Significantly bigger comparing to Vector maps. City example: Vector Map - 15 MB, Online 15th Zoom - 50 MB, 16th - 200 MB, 17th - 800 MB, ...
  • Places on raster maps are not clickable.
  • Not possible to change map style or exclude certain objects.
  • Pixelized on zoom (if no high-density tiles are not available).
  • It is not possible to rotate a map with readable text (text will be rotated with the map itself, thus will not be easily readable).

How to use Raster mapsโ€‹

Enable pluginโ€‹

note

For iOS OsmAnd this feature works by default.

In order to use raster maps in OsmAnd you need to enable Online maps plugin:
Android Menu โ†’ Plugins โ†’ Online maps โ†’ โ‹ฎ โ†’ Enable

Change layer parametersโ€‹

In order to mix raster map layers better, you can change layer transparency (by using a screen slider) and also you can change vector map style (hide polygons), so the underlay layers will be more visible, especially useful for satellite imagery.

Select Raster mapsโ€‹

Show maps

Raster maps can be used as map sources in OsmAnd (vector maps that work offline are enabled by default).

You can add one or two online tiles to the base layer maps, and all three will appear on the screen.
For example, you can open OsmAnd's base vector maps offline, then add a satellite view as an overlay, and place a map of bike paths below the base map as an underlay.

You can set the transparency of the base map for your layer, and you can choose whether or not to display the transparency slider on the main screen.

Mainโ€‹

You can choose a map style from the list or add your own.

Menu โ†’ Configure map โ†’ Map sourceโ€ฆ

Show maps

Overlay layerโ€‹

Menu โ†’ Configure map โ†’ Overlay mapโ€ฆ

Configure underlay / overlay Android

  1. Switch on/off the Overlay map.
  2. Overlay map source - you can choose a tile map to install or update.
  3. Overlay transparency.
  4. Show transparency slider - quick access to the setting.
  5. Show map symbols - such as text, road signs, and others.

Underlay layerโ€‹

Menu โ†’ Configure map โ†’ Underlay mapโ€ฆ

Configure underlay / overlay Android

  1. Switch on/off the Underlay map.
  2. Underlay map source - you can select a tile map to install or update.
  3. Base map transparency.
  4. Show polygons.
  5. Show transparency slider - quick access to the setting.

Hillshade / Slopeโ€‹

Terrain layers

Hillshade and Slope are offline raster maps that show terrain relief. They are displayed as a special map layer, a second overlay on the base map. The maps contain additional elevation information to help you more accurately understand the slope and shadows of the landscape. Hillshade and Slope information is based on data from a single source, the Global planet file, and is divided into regions.

You don't need to switch between Hillshade and Slope layers, as they are merged automatically. You can select only one of these layers to display on the map, but you also have the option to combine them both as a underlay or overlay on other layers for a more visual representation of the terrain.

To get started with Hillshade and Slope you need to:

  1. Purchase the Topography plugin:
  2. Enable the Topography plugin:
    Menu โ†’ Plugins โ†’ ๏ธ™ โ†’ Enable
  3. Select your required region, and download Terrain map (3D).
  4. The download process may take some time, depending on the size of the selected region and the speed of your Internet connection.

Hillshade and 3D Reliefโ€‹

Hillshade3D Relief
Terrain layersTerrain layers

The difference of relief display on the map when applying these settings is described in the Topography article in the corresponding section Hillshade and 3D Relief.

Configure display optionsโ€‹

Android Menu โ†’ Configure map โ†’ Terrain

Terrain layers

You can customize the zoom level to display and the transparency for Hillshade and Slope. You can read more in the Topography article.

3D Reliefโ€‹

note

3D Relief is an OsmAnd Pro paid feature

.

Terrain layers

The 3D Relief feature is a mapping technology that allows the visualization of terrain on a map using three-dimensional models. This feature adds elevation information to a normal two-dimensional map, which creates a 3D and depth effect and allows you to better visualize the terrain.

To start using 3D Relief:
You need to purchase OsmAnd Pro purchase plan, enable the Topography plugin, and switch on the 3D Relief item in Menu โ†’ Configure map.

How the 3D Relief feature works:
1. To create a 3D relief, OsmAnd receives information about the terrain elevation.
2. Based on the elevation data, a 3D model is created to display mountains, hills, valleys, and other terrain elements on the map.
3. OsmAnd then displays these three-dimensional models on a flat map. The map can be zoomed in, zoomed out, and rotated to view the terrain from different angles and perspectives.
4. The display of contour lines on the map does not depend on whether the map source is online or offline.

Prepare / copy raster maps to deviceโ€‹

There are multiple ways how to add new raster map, copy it from another device, prepare it on PC and predownloaded tiles to be used offline. For example, you can create your own map package on PC by using special software as MOBAC, OsmAndMapCreator and etc. Typically raster maps are distributed as files with .sqlitedb extension.

Here are the main methods how to add new raster map source which is not defined in OsmAnd yet:

  • Open ready to use .sqlitedb file with OsmAnd.
  • Import package with prepared online maps from another OsmAnd application as a special osf package via Import / export functionality.
  • Create new online map source on a mobile device itself.
  • Prepare a magic URL with online map source parameters and open it with OsmAnd.

Add new online raster map sourceโ€‹

To create a raster map source you need to know the tile URL. This is URL that can distribute tiles in Mercator Projection. Here is a tile example URL https://tile.osmand.net/hd/6/55/25.png, where is the base part https://tile.osmand.net/hd/.

In order to add a new online raster map source go to:

Menu โ†’ Configure map โ†’ Map sourceโ€ฆ โ†’ Add

Add online source

ParameterDescription
NameProvide name for online source
URLEnter or copy and paste URL for online source
Zoom levelsThis parameters will affect the map display when used as a map type or overlay/underlay.\n\nMap type: the map will be limited to the selected zooms.\n\nOverlay / Underlay: Zoom levels at which tiles will be visible. Upscale or downscale will occur above or below the set values.
Expire timeExpiration time in minutes. Cached tiles will be reloaded after specified time. Leave this field empty if you do not need to reload tiles for this source.\nOne day is 1440 minutes.\nOne week is 10 080 minutes.\n30 days are 43 200 minutes.
Mercator ProjectionPseudo-Mercator projection or Elliptic Mercator projection
Source format/Storage formatSQLiteDB file or One image file per tile
Save buttonTap it to add a new online raster map to the list.

Magic URL to install map sourceโ€‹

Online maps can be added with a special link to OsmAnd Raster map list. Click to this link and choose OsmAnd for opening:

http://osmand.net/add-tile-source?name=TEST&min_zoom=9&max_zoom=15&url_template=https://a.tile.opentopomap.org/{0}/{1}/{2}.png

Parameter of linkExample
[Constant part]http://osmand.net/add-tile-source
[Separators]? &
[Name]name=TEST
[URL]url_template=https://a.tile.opentopomap.org/{0}/{1}/{2}.png
[Zoom levels]min_zoom=9 / max_zoom=15

You find added Online map in the list of Main / Underlay / Overlay layer menu.

Manage raster mapsโ€‹

Raster maps can take a significant amount of disk space, so you might need to regularly check it. For large datasets, it's recommended to use 'SQLite raster source' cause it will store all tiles in 1 large file (sqlite database).

In order to change tile format you can choose Storage format in the edit menu of online maps:

Menu โ†’ Maps & Resources โ†’ Local โ†’ Online and cached tile maps โ†’ choose online maps โ†’
โ‹ฎ โ†’ Edit โ†’ Storage format โ†’ SQLiteDB file / One image file per tile

Clear raster map cacheโ€‹

Tiles are saved in the cache during usage of Online Raster maps as Main / Overlay / Underlay layer, you can see only the size of your SQ Lite file under name of your Online map in the list. Sometimes a regular cleanup is needed to speedup tiles display or to refresh data.

In order to clear map tiles cache you need to do next:

Menu โ†’ Maps & Resources โ†’ Local โ†’ Online and cached tile maps โ†’ choose online maps โ†’
โ‹ฎ โ†’ Clear all tiles

Online sources list

Download / Update tilesโ€‹

If you want to access raster maps offline, you may need to preload tiles. This can be done on your mobile device, but be aware that some services may block large packet downloads. You can also use the same feature to update already downloaded tiles for selected areas, otherwise, OsmAnd will continue to display tiles that are already stored in the cache.

In order for the maps to automatically update the tiles after a period of time, you can set an Expiry time, then OsmAnd will reload the tiles as soon as they are displayed.

raster-mapsraster-mapsraster-mapsraster-maps
  • To download or update raster tiles, you need to select the source of the online map as the Main map source. You can also select online tiles separately for the Overlay map or for the Underlay.

  • For the Android version of the OsmAnd app, you need to select an area according to the screen size of your device and make a long-tap the map. Then select Actions in the map context menu and the Download map or Update map option. On the Download Map screen, make changes to the necessary settings and tap Download.

  • In the iOS version of the OsmAnd app, you need to long-tap the map, then select Actions and the Download map or Update map option from the map context menu. On the Download Map screen, you can select the required area and make changes to the necessary settings. After you set all the parameters you will be able to see the number of tiles and the download size.

Change raster map parametersโ€‹

Menu โ†’ Maps & Resources โ†’ Local โ†’ Online and cached tile maps โ†’ choose online maps โ†’ โ‹ฎ โ†’ Edit

Raster maps can be used as they already exist if the tiles are already mapped. If the raster maps are provided online, there is always a base URL that needs to be configured. There are a few more basic parameters that can be changed for raster maps, you can read about that in this section of the article. More complex parameters are encoded in the internal components of the SQ Lite format.