Situation: What I really need cannot be shortly described in the title. We have a commercial application where geographical maps (borders only) are used or for selecting areas (input) or for colouring the areas by a colour from the scale based on the value calculated for the area. The implementation is very old and it uses very bitmaps with very low resolution. The borders where just painted in Paintbrush or the like simple tool, the colouring is done via flood-fill algorithm from the reference point kept separately from the image. There is not geo-position information captured for the maps; however, we uses intevals of ZIP codes.

The first goal: My first goal is to find the cheap solution (ideally a LGPL or similar) software to reimplement that part of the application (native C++ app, Microsoft Visual Studio 2013, i.e. C++11). I have found the OpenStreetMap exists, but I did not find the concrete answer to whether I can use (the tiny part of) it just for displaying region borders and for colorizing these polygons.

My expectations for future: I would like to choose the solution where the polygons would be callibrated so that having a geoposition I could show where it is, to detect what polygon it is inside, etc. Later, I may want to add some simple the street layout or whatever the future will require.

Can you confirm whether I the OpenStreetMap data/tools is suitable for that purpose. Are there any other free alternatives, examples, border polygons and the related code available?



Use of OpenStreetMap data and its new licensing isn't well understood, and given you have a related database-style commercial application, I'd suggest getting specific legal advice rather than relying on gis.SE and your (pretty vague) question to get it absolutely right.

If you don't want to go down that line, you could go to the source that OSM uses, since it has clearer licensing - Natural Earth. There are a lot of tools that can read shapefiles and sqlite databases (including in C++) - a search engine can help, or check https://stackoverflow.com/questions/2139335/which-c-library-for-esri-shapefiles-to-choose.

How you render it is probably in your business logic. If you want to pre-process them using some kind of tile scheme, perhaps mapnik can help.

  • Thanks for the hints. I have also found the gadm.org that contains administrative borders. It seems it is what I need. – pepr Nov 18 '13 at 8:44

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