How does VersaTiles work?

There are many excellent FLOSS solutions for generating, processing, serving, and rendering maps. But in the end, you have to combine several solutions and build a complete tech stack. That takes a lot of effort.

VersaTiles tackles this problem by defining a four-step process chain that defines how to process OpenStreetMap data and serve it as an interactive web map. It also provides a reference implementation of these four steps, but is flexible enough, so that any step can be replaced by your preferred solution. For exmaple, if you want to use a different tile source, server or frontend, you can simply replace the relevant part and still use the other steps.

The 4 steps of VersaTiles

The grey boxes represent data. The red boxes are steps that process the data. The whole process chain takes OSM data as input and produces a web map as output.

The process chain in more details:

We use the latest OSM dump.

Generator produces vector tiles. We use Tilemaker to generate vector tiles in shortbread schema.

a versatiles container, a much simpler and more efficient tile storage format than .mbtiles.

Server is serving the vector tiles.

... but only speaks HTTP, because ...

The Network handles the network stuff, like TLS certificates, caching, load balancing, etc.

Now we serve tiles to the internet ...

The Frontend loads and renders the vector tiles.


We combined permissively licensed open source software, data, schemas and styles, such as Tilemaker, Shortbread Tiles Schema and MapLibre.

VersaTiles lets you use OpenStreetMap-based vector tiles, without any restrictions, locked-in paid services or attribution requirements beyond OpenStreetMap. You can use the freely downloadable tilesets from VersaTiles on your own infrastructure, in any way you like. Our open spec, royalty-free and permissively licensed implementations work with virtually any architecture.

What tools do we provide?

Need more information?

We habe collected some guides and explanations in our documentation repository, including a comprehensive compendium. Hopefully we will be able to integrate the documentation into the website in the near future.