I'd like to produce a simple walking map with some points of interest. Ideally, I'd like to use the rendered OSM data, as you can get from the page. Using the QGIS OSM plugin, I can only download a fraction of my area, and it is tricky to download a few PNGs at a high enough zoom level and stitch them together from OSM's "Export" tool. I only need to do this a few times, so I don't really see much point in downloading all the XML/Shapefile data, and re-rendering with Mapnik. Is there an easy way of getting hold of the already-rendered raster data fro a given region at a given zoom level in a format that I can easily use with QGIS/GDAL/OGR?
If you just want a nice pre-rendered basemap and you are using QGIS, try the "OpenLayers plugin" from the Sourcepole repository. This plugin allows you to load in many different pre-rendered basemap image layers including OpenStreetMap, Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
If you are using QGIS 1.6, be sure to check on the "Enable on the fly CRS transformation" option and set the Coordinate Reference System to "Google Mercator" (EPSG: 900913) before you load the image layer or you will get an error message.
Try Maperitive. You can export larger areas of OSM Web map of your choice and you can even render your own using OSM vector data and a custom stylesheet. And it's much easier to use than Mapnik. Here's a sample of a large CycleMap export:
And here's in original size: http://www.flickr.com/photos/breki74/4457435423/sizes/o/in/photostream/
Note that large areas can take some time to generate since Maperitive behaves like disciplined browser and avoids overloading OSM servers.
Suggestion: Use the OpenStreet Map Static API
It is easy to add your own content without all the fuss of download and self-rendering if you just want the OSM Tiles with your walking routes
Very Basic Examples of OSM tiles with Paths (lat/lng values) on
Experiment and you will have your own area and walking route done.
*limitation is the length of the url can be very large