From OpenStreetMap Foundation

OpenStreetMap Foundation, Operations Meeting* - Draft minutes
These minutes do not go through a formal acceptance process.
Thursday 10 March 2022 at 19:00 London time - Countdown
Location: Video room at https://osmvideo.cloud68.co

* Please note that this is not strictly an Operations Working Group (OWG) meeting.




Minutes by Dorothea Kazazi.

Vector tiles

Topic presented by Grant, as Paul has a conflict of interest.

Related Github Operations tickets:

Introduction by Grant

  • Earlier in the year, OPS had a discussion about introducing something to start driving interest around vector tiles.
  • Richard Fairhurst introduced his project TileMaker, which sounded like a good option.
  • Subsequent community discussions were about the stack and around the scheme (choice of keys and values used).
  • OPS are now ready to put something together.

OSM Americana project

New American specific rendering.
Announcement, demo, code. Discussion on OSMUS Slack - #american-map-style channel.

Information by Brian Sperlogano (guest)

A year ago OSM-US were looking at getting a new style for US community (Americana) - try vector stack.

Use of OpenMapTiles by OSM-US

  • OpenMapTiles: mapping of OSM keys and values to an MVT tile source that can then be styled (e.g. by Maplibre) on the front end.
  • OpenMapTiles was chosen because it was expedient - no particular tie.
  • Spent around a year making changes into OpenMapTiles (>50 PRs) to add to the schema the things that they wanted to see in their map style.
  • Used MapTilerCloud (MapTiler commercial offering with free tier up to a certain level), as the resources required to start-up a vector server were substantial.


New technology.

  • 32way machine: Planet render in 2-3 hrs, depending on hardware, settings and patching. Needs 100 G of RAM.
  • 64way machine: 1 hour 40 minutes for the whole loop (OpenMapTiles schema and zoom 13 building-merge turned off, which is one of the major performance bottleneck).
  • Easy to install (Java).

OSM-US can now self host and break the dependence from MapTiler corporate offering.

Given the background getting an initial vector tile server into service and adding things into the schema, they are looking to see if they can be part of the vector-tile effort of the Foundation and have some centralisation.

Geofabrik's internal solution

Information by Amanda McCann. (guest)

  • Simple map style for vector tiles - not suitable for OSM Carto - mostly internal to Geofabrik.
  • Michael Reichert (Geofabrik) has worked on the ShortBread schema
  • A few years ago did sone server side rendering with vector tile based data with OSM Carto but doesn't work very well - there was a State of the Map presentation.
  • Backend: All decompressed - very quickly run out of inodes - tweak needed.
  • Zoom: goes down to level 14.
  • Planet render takes about 16-24 hours.
  • Substantial delivery requirements.


  • Stand up a vector tile server in some schema, to try and bootstrap people in developing a style and perhaps more detailed schema requirements.


  • Software to generate tiles
  • Schema

On options for software to generate tiles

On TileMaker
  • Original OPS decision was to use TileMaker - hadn't decided on the schema.
  • TileMaker is not be suitable in production, if we want to deploy a live map.
  • Planet render - 128 G RAM.
  • Easy to install (C++ and some dependencies).

On MapTiler attribution requirements

  • Concern expressed about the attribution which is required by MapTiler for anything that uses their schema.
  • TileMaker's implementation of OMV schema does not require attribution.

How much work would it be to get the tags that OSM Carto uses and turn that into a schema?

On schema

What schema should we start with goal to get the adoption going?


  • Steering clear of OpenMapTiles schema due to attribution requirements. (RF)
  • Mirorring a set of OSM tags without normalisation/standardisation. (TH)
  • Start with absolute basics and then take feature requests. (GS)
  • Do a comparison of Planetiler and TileMaker. (GS)

On OSM Carto

  • Contains a lot of edge cases and people's preoccupations.
  • Decisions made for OSM Carto should not lock us with what we do with vector tiles.

Other points mentioned during discussion

  • Schemas can adapt and evolve.
  • Brandon Liu created Protomaps which serves with range requests.
    • Can't do caching.

On machine that might be used


On update cycle

  • Users might not like 2 hour turn-around, as they are used to minutely updates.
  • Suggestion: Weekly updates initially.

On MVTiles

Container format with de-duplication.

  • Big SQLite database.
  • Serving: We have to put a server in front of them, or decompress them to the filesystem.
    • Caution about decompressing to the filesystem.
    • Rather serve files from disk, instead of adding another layer. (PN)
    • Initial serving not important, if we choose a sensible URL scheme.

Current blockers

  • Selecting the engine/generator
  • Style to start with


  • Get TileMaker run in experimental fashion in the next two weeks and iterate from there.
  • Select the most minimal style to start with, e.g. land, sea, streets.
  • URL schema the same as we have, possibly with some prefix.

Amanda McCann, Brian Sperlogano and Richard Fairhurst left the meeting.


Discourse is up and running.

A lot of configurations are kept in the database and configured in the UI.

Done via admin

  • Reply email addresses
  • Notifications
  • Logo/styling


  • Grant started backing-up via their built-in database backup tool.
  • Supports S3.

Chat channel: OSMUS Slack channel

Announcement: In a few days

Live tests during meeting on

  • Changing usernames/email addresses on OSM/Discourse.
  • Viewing IP addresses.

To check: Highest privileges that can be provided, without seeing IP addresses.

On starting content: Don't want to get involved, up to Rubén Martín.

Other points mentioned during discussion

  • Rubén can clean some categories.
  • Rubén has been asking who he can speak with from forum and OSQA site.
    • Tom has been in contact with 3 forum admins.
    • OSQA highly active users: Frederik, Simon, Richard, SK53, EdLoach.

Action item: Grant to give admin rights to Paul's second account.

OSMF emails

Related to action item: 2021-09-08 Grant and Guillaume to capture the OSMF emails of suspended users and transfer them to an archive account before deleting them and start paying [Topic: OSMF email provider]

  • Google will charge us per archive of individuals (not for groups).
  • Guillaume has emailed some users. One of the accounts is used by Licensing Working Group via OTRS.
  • Paul offered to help.

On archived email OSMF accounts

  • Have to decide on move/transfer to chairperson/delete.
  • Might include documents, linked from past minutes.
  • Can trigger full account export.

OWG website has old reports

  • There are no new reports to link to.

Meeting adjourned 63' after start.

Next meeting

Thursday 24 March 2022, 19:00 London time, unless rescheduled.

Operations meetings are currently being held every two Thursdays, at 19:00 London time.
Online calendar showing the OPS meetings.