We have an application working with OpenLayers and are using OpenStreetmap for the map tiles, however they don't look great.

Is there anyway to style these maps?

I read something about Mapbox but it uses Leaflet API, however we use OpenLayers and our app is heavily using it. What options do I have?


MapBox doesn't require you to use the MapBox.js API - you can use your customized tiles with OpenLayers easily by using OpenLayers.Layer.XYZ.

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  • I've signed up for a mapbox account, can you give me an overview of what to do to get it working with openlayers? i'm not quite sure – Quade Aug 7 '13 at 13:36
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    Create a map in your account, click 'Publish', click 'MapBox.js', copy the map id and then in OpenLayers-land, OpenLayers.Layer.XYZ('MapBox', 'http://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/[mapid]/${z}/${y}/${x}.png') – tmcw Aug 7 '13 at 20:39
  • +1 Answers the question. Just wanted to highlight that as @Burton449 notes, MapBox free usage is limited. – Michael Aug 7 '13 at 20:50

You will have to host the openstreet map data on your own server and generate your styled tiles yourself. Look at Mapnik for tiling. MapBox could be a solution that is hosted in the cloud, but it is not free to use (but you can have limited free use and storage).

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  • MapBox does have a free option. You can customize tiles, which MapBox will cloud host free for up to 3k map views. 50MB of storage is also included in the free plan. – Roy Aug 1 '13 at 17:07
  • Ok, I did not know that. You mean 3k map hits (refresh, pan, zoom = 1 hit) or 3k "user-session" view? – Below the Radar Aug 1 '13 at 17:13
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    I made a custom tileset on their website (as opposed to tilemill), and worked it into a website I'm developing. With all of the refreshes I did to get the look I wanted (and sharing the page with a few others) I have 522 map views. There might be a more specific explanation of map views on their site, but I haven't seen it. – Roy Aug 1 '13 at 17:26
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    From mapbox.com/plans -- 15 tiles is a 'map view' – Scro Aug 1 '13 at 20:16
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    Cloudmade seems to allow caching as mentionnend on the website main page. – Below the Radar Aug 5 '13 at 14:55

you can use prepared styles or create your own in cloudmade, this service offers 500K tiles free per month.

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  • this option is no more available by cloudmade – geogeek Dec 11 '14 at 23:04

Once you have managed to store the OSM data in a local Postgis database, you are free to style your map as you want using Mapnik. Here is a list of available services with different styles:


For a start-off, you can also use Maperitive. You can style your map easily on the screen, and let the software create the tiles for openlayers: http://ksmapper.blogspot.de/2011/08/simple-openstreetmap-tile-rendering.html

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You can use Mapbox tiles. just create a layer and add it to map.

var mapbox = new OpenLayers.Layer.XYZ(
                ], {
                    attribution: "Tiles &copy; <a href='http://mapbox.com/'>MapBox</a>",
                    sphericalMercator: true,
                    wrapDateLine: false,
                    // numZoomLevels: 5,
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