I'm developing an iOS app for displaying my own custom map data (on GeoServer). The SDK I'm using to display my map is route-me (Alpstein fork) as the map viewer for now. route-me supports raster tiles (slippy tiles) and I'm OK with that for the most part, mostly for online mode. But I want to support both online maps and offline routing, plus, caching z17+ is a very bad practice because of the growth in number of tiles and the fact that very little part of these tiles will be viewed by users, and z17+ doesn't necessarily mean new data! we can use the same data and over zoom it. As part of my research, I have found that OSM protobuf format is a very efficient format for offline usage and routing but I cannot find any good renderer for the format! My scenario is: for z0-z17 I will load tiles from server with no problem ->from z17-z20 I will try and load a larger set (bbox from z15 of the tile, meaning 16 tiles around) and try to render the tile's bbox from osm.pbf and pass it to route-me as the tile and cache it like a normal tile.

The question now is: How can I render osm files in iOS?

2 Answers 2


I've put a lot of time into trying to get route-me to render vectors. In my opinion using the built in vector rendering, RMPath and markers does not scale to the amount of data needed to render a map. That doesn't mean that route-me isnt an isn't an option, you could use mapnik to do the rendering, then pass the data to route-me to render.

As of now there are 2 non-apple open source vector mapping components for iOS:

  • WhirlyGlobe/Maply Provides a globe and flat map component for iOS. Has support for rendering Mapnik vector PBF tiles, and can be adapted to render most any data format that you can throw at it. It does not have support for reading the OSM pbf files yet, but feel free to add it and send a pull request.
  • Mapbox-gl-cocoa - Still a work in progress, but looks promising, and under very active development.

You also might want to consider whether the OSM pbf format is really what you want to send to the device. The Mapnik Vector Tile format is also PBF based, but is designed for rendering, not complete data representation.

  • Thanks Jesse, as a matter of fact, I'm aware of both options you've provided and I'm in close contact with the guys at MapBox and I hope to refactor my project to use Mapbox GL Cocoa as soon as it gets out. Thanks for the time and effort. Cheers Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 4:36

You can try to look at the list of OSM apps for iOS.

As far as I can see, the only recent open-source application with vector map support for iOS is navit.

  • Did navit ever really work on iOS? The Navit wiki page page on iOS was last updated with information about a beta in 2009. Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 13:30
  • Good question, I'm not really sure.
    – scai
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 6:27

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