Is there any way to get detailed (close zoom) OSM tiffs at the county level in the USA?
I would like to use them as basemaps for a class I am teaching in GIS, using QGIS.
I know about (and love) the OpenLayers plugin, but it can be flaky (http://hub.qgis.org/issues/5827) and it depends on a decent network connection.
I don't care if the maps are a year or so old, and I also don't care if they are really big. I would like full coverage of Thurston County WA with full detail, though.
I would most like to have an FTP site to download from, not some app or on-the-fly generated thing.
Here is the workflow I am using, which I think will satisfy my needs:
Download pbf file for my state from Geofabrik
Use Maperitive to generate an MBtile for the region I want (a few square miles only currently, for demonstration, will try the county later today). I can run this overnight if necessary (generat-mbtile minzoom=1 maxzoom=18)
Load the mbtile into QGIS as a raster format (yay GDAL!)
Thanks to everyone for your help, even though I didn't take any of your ideas in total they helped me figure out the pieces.
I keep thinking I want to produce an "atlas" (metaphorical) of US Census tracts, and one of the things I would include for each tract would be an mbtile and tiff, I think.
It might be a good service to provide these, maybe at the Census Tract level too, for us desktop mappers...
If I am missing something critical, please clue me in....