I am new in mapnik, and I found mapnik at OSM wiki page.

And I am interested in it, but I have some question.

1 the mapnik work scope

It seems that it is a library for map rendering(creation), however I wonder if the mapnik is bind to OSM data only?

I mean can mapnik work on data procesed by ArcGIS or something else?

In our production environment, we use ESRI arcgis to create,edit,render our map.

2 use mapnik to generate raster tiles based on Arcgis data source.

And we use arcgis server to generate the raster tiles, but it often cost a long time, can it only work on windows.

So I wonder if we can use mapnik to generate our raster tiles according to our ESRI based data(.gdb database)?

If it is possible, I wonder how about the style rules of the layer? Do you edit the style rules manually? Is it possible to translate the rules from Arcgis .mxd file?

3 vector tiles

BTW,we are doing some research work on the vector tiles( we tried to use it to replace the raster tile some day). And I wonder if mapnik support to create vector tiles based on our Arcgis .gdb data source?

And in the wiki page I found this:

      VecTiles - MVT (Mapnik Vector Tiles) and GeoJSON from PostGIS
      Vector - GeoJSON (and others) from OGR drivers
      PostGeoJSON - GeoJSON from PostGIS
  Hand-Rolled Vector Tiles – TileStache (blog)

What does the MVT (Mapnik Vector Tiles) mean?

1 Answer 1


Mapnik is a general purpose map renderer, you can use it with different data sources, although ESRI's file geodatabases are not supported, see also this full list of supported sources.

I'm not aware of any possibility how to transform ArcGIS mxd files to Mapnik styles. It means you have to style again your layers. There is TileMill, an easy-to-use style editor which is based on Mapnik and let you export Mapnik style files.

  • Thanks for your reply. I wonder if it can be used for generate Satellite tiles? And which have a better rendering performance with Mapserver?
    – giser
    Oct 18, 2013 at 10:18
  • 1
    Mapnik is known for sophisticated cartographic rendering rather than for speed. For dynamic content Mapserver is probably faster. But for static content (like satellite imagery) you can combine Mapnik with TileCache (tilecache.org) or MapProxy (mapproxy.org) which caches static tiles.
    – webrian
    Oct 18, 2013 at 12:03

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