I'm developing a solution to serve a pan-tropical (and perhaps ultimately global) raster dataset to a cartoDB application. I'd prefer to stick to GDAL/open source tools if possible, but would be glad to accept other suggestions as well. The final output should be in http://domain.com/tiles/{z}/{x}/{y} format

I've built the basic OSM tile server on Ubuntu 14.04, implementing the postGIS >> mapnik >> renderd >> mod_tile tool chain with OSM data.

I'm currently customizing it to process .tif data, but my question is-- is there a better approach given that we're dealing with .tif data? The above is optimized to handle OSM input; is there something else I should be using for rasters? And is there a reason all the blog posts on tile generation are from 2013 or earlier? Should I be using vector tiles instead?

  • For processing raster layers in general - I'd suggest looking at QTiles plugin for QGIS - makes it really, really simple to create XYZ (and TMS!) tilesets from Raster layers.
    – danwild
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 5:19

1 Answer 1


Rather than reinvent the wheel, I strongly recommend Geoserver. It does exactly what you want, plus has integrated tile caching. It is open source and the de facto implementation of the various OCG web mapping protocols and can simplify your tool chain a lot (as you won't need to implement mapnik and mod_tile. It integrates well with PostGis too.

EDIT: Two of the standard capabilities of Geoserver are TMS and WMTS (along with WMS, WMS-C, WCS and WFS) - the main difference being the translated 'y' (see this post where another person raises a similar question but specifically about serving OSM on Geoserver). By using the in-built GeoWebCache, Geoserver-rendered tiles can be stored so that they may be delivered in response to a /{z}/{x}/{y} format request as per the OP's preferred format.

  • GeoServer does not create x/y/z tile structure. For splitting tiff into tiles you might like gdal2tiles or MapTiler.
    – user30184
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 21:32
  • The OP asks for an alternative approach to their current one. Geoserver provides a much simpler, single-install, tool chain, thanks to its integrated renderer and geowebcache. Geoserver also supports requests in the {x}{y}{z} format plus many others (see the documentation: docs.geoserver.org/latest/en/user/extensions/printing/…) and thereby also satisfies that requirement. Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 7:37
  • I agree for the whole tool chain but having just x/y/z tiles in a directory without a need to run a service for delivering tiles does have some benefits.
    – user30184
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 13:05
  • I can see the benefits of that too, although the GeowebCache directory structure and naming conventions follows the standard z,x,y plan so, you still do have straighforward access to the tiles directly without needing to use a service is you so wish. Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 13:41
  • Great-- thanks. I didn't know that Geoserver had those capabilities. Thank you! Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 13:59

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