How can I use the output from MOBAC (Mobile Atlas Creator) as background layer in open source desktop GIS software (e.g., QGis or uDig, TileMill etc.)?

My goal: To put my question into context: I want to use my downloaded map tiles as background raster map. On top of this, I want to add GPX tracks to create a map with mountain bike routes.

My tiles: I have a set of tiles downloaded using MOBAC. The tiles are in PNG format, each having a size of 256x256px. The projection is GlobalMercator (as in Google Maps). The naming scheme is $(z)_$(x)_$(y).png. I only have z (zoom level) 14. I can access the tiles through a local web server using a URL such as http://localhost/~username/MyMaps/14_8622_5722.png

The problem: I can't find a way to feed output from MOBAC into GIS software.

Previous efforts:

  • I have successfully created an OpenLayers web map as follows:

    var name = 'Test Layer';
    var url = "/~username/MyMaps/${z}_${x}_${y}.png";
    var options = {
      type: 'png',
      sphericalMercator: true, 
      isBaseLayer: false, 
      minZoomLevel: 14
    var layer = new OpenLayers.Layer.XYZ(name, url, options);
  • I have tried to directly add the image tiles as a layer in QGis. But the tiles are not georeferenced.

  • I have exported the tiles to MbTiles format using Mobac. But - surprising to me - not even TileMill seems to be able to load the .mbtiles file as background layer.

  • I have served the .mbtiles file using TileStream but could not access the TileStream server using QGis or uDig.
  • I have tried adding the tiles as GeoServer store using the Image Mosaic plugin, but I could not get it to work.

...Can you provide hints and help as to which route to take? I.e., which MOBAC export format should I use so to be able to import the map data into GIS software?

1 Answer 1


If you can access your tiles via Openlayers, you can use the openlayers plugin to display them in Qgis. Just look for .qgis\python\plugins\openlayers\openlayers_plugin.py for the structure of adding the layers. Its not much apart from the original OL. Then you have to add a html file in the html subfolder. The call of the tiles is within that html file and has the format


as you mentioned above.

  • great, thank you, this probably resolves my question - I'll upvote once I've tried your suggestion! thx, Johannes
    – Johannes
    Sep 11, 2012 at 15:31
  • This kind of works, but does not work very well * I guess I would have to generate or download tiles in zoom levels 1-13. Any ideas how to do this? * Also, when I pan around, some space in my QGis windows stays blank for some reason. Weird.
    – Johannes
    Sep 12, 2012 at 8:37
  • For the first part, you can set the default view to your area of interest. it is currrently set to 0;0 in the middle of the atlantic. For the second, just pan your canvas a millimetre, and you get the rest of the tiles. Weird, but seames to be a timeout problem not solved well. Before updating the OL plugin to a future version, make a copy for yourself, or your adaptation will get lost.
    – AndreJ
    Sep 12, 2012 at 8:46

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