I would like to know if exist some OSM data server, not tiled, just data. I know it is possible to import OSM data in your own server, but because you need robust server architecture, it wont be possible for now.

I am looking for a server that returns OSM data using a bounding box. A server that can be used with Mapnik OSM Plugin.

2 Answers 2


How big is your area of interest? For small regions (like a city, metropolitan area, or district), you can download data by BBOX using OSM Overpass API. For bigger areas - up to 24000000 sq km - BBike extract service will provide what you want. Anything bigger requires downloading continental extract/whole database dump, and clipping to BBOX using software like Osmconvert.

  • Thank you for the info, I knew about mapquest XAPI but overpass seems to be a similar alternative Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 19:47

Forget about the OSM plugin. Theoretically it can render OSM data, but you can't expect any kind of multipolygon handling. This will lead to maps that will not look like you are used to from openstreetmap org.

The database format that the server use is not useful for rendering. The OSM database is about nodes, ways and relations, while a rendering database uses points, ways and polygons. The polygons are modelled in OSM as closed ways (but not all, think of racing courses which are closed but not an area) and multipolygon relations. And these multipolygon relations can be built up using other relations. Pretty complicated, but osm2pgsql manages to make the polygons from that as expected.

You don't need a robust server architecture either. For me, Postgis is running on the same Windows laptop I am answering your question. If you don't need the whole world in your database, you can pick a planet extract from Geofabrik for your part of the world, load it into a postgis database, and start rendering.

You better start off with a small extract, and if you are satisfied, try a larger one.

  • Thank you for the info. I am looking for OSM data servers that could feed my GIS app and world wide in preference. I will try to have more info on the Mapnik OSM issue you mentionned. However, maybe TileStache can overcome that issue. Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 19:46

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