I'm looking for a method to produce 512x512 pixels map tiles using CartoCSS and Mapnik, for example exactly as CardoDB does for its base maps (here below a 256x256 map tile vs its correspondent 512x512 map tile):

256x256 tile example 512x512 tile example

I need that for producing 2x resolution map tiles for retina displays. I'm using Openstreetmap Carto map stylesheets and can generate Mapnik xml files.

2 Answers 2


If you are using CartoDB, in order to get your map tiles in retina, you'd need to:

  1. Perform a layergroup JSONP request to get the token of your map

    a. For named maps, GET /api/v1/map/named/:template_name/jsonp, your token is the value of layergroup_id. Docs here.

    b. For anonymous maps, you will get the token when you instantiate the map. Docs here. This is used in the regular tiles that you get when you create one of these maps. If you are using CartoDB.js, you can use the getTiles method to get the URL of your tiles and then you could add the scale factor (@2x) at the end to get your retina tiles.

  2. Then you can get your retina tiles with the URL for that token (layergroup id):



In a practical example, if you open an anonymous map, such as for example the one I create on runtime here, go to the Network tool of the Developer tools and try to get the URL for any of the tiles. It might look like this one (layergroup ID would change whenever it expires):


Remove the layer parameter in the url (in this case, the 0) and add the scale factor (you should also get rid of the CDN endpoint and use the regular username.cartodb.com endpoint:

http://iriberri.cartodb.com/api/v1/map/07fca4588c18610b7084b96918ffced3:1424692976794.61/3/4/[email protected]

For named maps, if you have created one of them, imagine it's called tpl_099bb586_daf8_11e5_a8aa_0e3ff518bd15 (typical name that the Editor creates by default, but this can be more user friendly if you just created a named map with the API and gave it a better name), perform the following request:


Whose response would be similar to:

/**/ typeof cb === 'function' && cb({

And then, with this layergroup ID (token), you can build your:

http://iriberri.cartodb.com/api/v1/map/iriberri@a1b24beb@0ad98a2d3337078c9fc660760cb070b3:1456141947669.97/3/4/[email protected]
  • Hi @iriberri, for what I understand you're assuming that I'm producing my maps via CartoDB. But I'm actually using Tilemill. Here is an example of a map I produce: http://www.webmapp.it/maps/sat/tiles/{z}/{x}/{y}.png. I need to understand how to produce a tile service based on 512x512 pixels map tiles. I know that via Tilemill this is not possible (setting x2 scale in the Tilemill export is not the solution I'm looking for). I think that via Mapnik this should be possible. Then I could use your indications to serve the map. Thanks. Mar 3, 2016 at 13:44
  • Ops :D My bad, as the question appeared in my "cartodb tagged questions list" I just went ahead.
    – iriberri
    Mar 3, 2016 at 14:53

In Mapnik rendering size is controlled by the scale factor configuration setting.

From https://github.com/mapnik/mapnik/wiki/Scale-factor:

For example, most Mapnik stylesheets are designed with normal, moderate resolution computer displays in mind. For print graphics or for more modern and high resolution displays like on many mobile devices existing stylesheet design can lead to inscrutably small fonts, symbols, and line symbolization.

You have several options to set the scale factor.

In TileMill you can (https://www.mapbox.com/tilemill/docs/guides/high-resolution-tiles/)

go to your TileMill project’s settings (via the wrench icon at the top-right) and look for the slider named Scale Factor.

You can also set this in the stylesheet directly (in your case openstreetmap-carto). Just increase the scale setting in project.mml (note that openstreetmap-carto uses project.yaml for development and generates project.mml with a script).

To achieve double size tiles the relevant portion of your project.mml should look like this:

  "scale": 2,
  "center": [
  "format": "png",

You should also pay attention to the metatile buffer size (see the aforementioned High Resolution Tiles page of TileMill):

Increasing the Scale Factor also increases the likelihood of clipped labels and markers. To help avoid this, add a buffer-size property to your project’s Map object. The default value is 128, so try doubling that to start.

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