Creativity with Vector tiles!

Presentation and workshop for MGI 15 years!

By: Niene Boeijen

& Steven Ottens

This presentation:

and all materials

About me

Web Cartographer & Geo ICT developer

Event Organizer: Maptime Amsterdam & Utrecht

Internship Geo Web Visualization[1]
[2] [3]

Msc Geo Information Science & Remote Sensing [1]

What the map can be

Wij maken interactieve kaarten en datavisualisaties. Onze expertise is open {source; data; standaarden}. Onze kracht is het combineren van cartografie en webtechnologie.

Utrecht, The Netherlands

We make interactive maps and visualizations.

This presentation

  • Web maps
  • From raster to vector
  • Examples
  • About vector tiles
  • MapboxGL.js

Hands on! Workshop

Goal of the workshop!

At the end of this workshop, you will have your own web page with an interactive map based on vector tiles! Custom styled by yourself! Your web page will be hosted on Github, so you can immediately share your progress with all your family and friends!


For beginners means: if you have NO knowledge of JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Leaflet.js and D3.js, this workshop will help you get started!

What is a web map?

Analogue paper maps

Digital maps VS Web Maps
Data Tiles, styles and servers
On the computer View in a browser
Calculate, analyze scroll, pan, zoom

a little History

Digital maps

GIS software

GIS on the Web is not user friendly..

1996 Mapquest first with a web service!

But really slow to load..

in 2004 Endoxon found a way for quick online mapping!

2005 Google Maps took over!

The solution?



All tiles size 256x256 pixels

Placed in a grid, sharing boundaries

Seamless map

All these little tiles load way faster than one big map!

We call this slippy maps

Zoom levels

Each zoom level has its own set of tiles!

Zoom level 0: 1 tile for the whole world.

Increases exponentially...

Zoom level 1: 4 tiles

Zoom level 2: 16 tiles


Map with tile bounds

Styling & Serving tiles

Tiles are styled and rendered in advance

Tiles are just images on the web



Base Layer


Data Layer / Feature Layer



Web Map Building blocks

Data, styled, tiles, server:

Base Layer

Additional Data:

Vector Layers

Interface and Interaction

Zoom, panning, clicking etc.

Nadelen Raster tegels

  • Rendering wordt op server gedaan

  • Tegel set is vast-gezet: static

  • Veel opslag ruimte nodig!

  • Meerdere visualisaties = Meerdere tegel sets

  • Gebruiker kan niks aanpassen

  • Geen interactie met objecten mogelijk

  • Object informatie moet los opgevraagd worden in database

van Raster naar Vector

Vector Tile

Binary encoded Protocol Buffers

Alleen data! Geen stijl kleur

Zelfde tegel schema als raster tegels

256 x 256 px

Versimpelde geometrie


Rendering gebeurt in de browser

Graphics Processing Unit(GPU)

widely supported in modern browsers

++ Rotating tilting

++ Smooth/inifinte zooming

Voordelen Aanbieder (Server side)

  • Gecomprimeerde data, klein en snel!

  • Snelle productie, minder opslag

  • 1 tegel set in opslag

  • Attribuut data beschikbaar in browser, minder database request!

  • Rendering stijl aan client-side

  • Minder druk op server-side

Voordelen gebruiker (client side)

  • Vector = hoge resolutie, zelfs bij ver inzoomen

  • 1 tegel set- meerder stijlen mogelijk!

  • Stijl kan je zelf aanpassen!

  • Stijlen in json of js - geen moeilijke SLD's meer nodig


Kadaster PDOK


Zoom level 0 tot 16

1 tegel set, meerder visualisaties!



Datalab Amsterdam

vb #1.

WebGL voor 3D effecten!

Webmapper kaart

Online examples

Zelf inkleuren


Open Zoom Stack UK

OS Open Zoomstack trial Story map
Paradijs in de polder

Utrecht in Vogelvlucht


Mapbox Vector Tile Standard.

Based on the binary protocal buffer (.pbf) from Google.

Standard already used by Esri.

Web Mercator projection, Google tiling scheme.

Bestands Formaat

.mvt - .pbf


Waar komen ze vandaan?


Online host services

Zelf maken & Zelf hosten

Host Services

Zelf serveren!

Eigen data of OSM data

GeoServer extensie

OpenMapTile Server (tileserverGL)




PostGIS to MVT

More command line tools

Hoe te visualiseren?

Mapbox Studio




QGIS plugin

OpenLayers -- Leaflet.js

What will we work with today?


Puts it all together,

Tiles, content, interaction

Making a Web Page

New to HTML & CSS?

Start with Making a web page

Or use Code Academy

Maps with JavaScript

JavaScript Library

Including a JavaScript library in your code is like copying and pasting someone else's code into yours. You have access to everything in that library.

In our case, it's a bunch of cool tools to make web maps and give them familiar functionality.

Cartography is the new code.


            mapboxgl.accessToken = 'yourowntoken';
            var map = new mapboxgl.Map({
              container: 'map-container',
              style: 'style.json',
              hash: true, 
              zoom: 11, 
              pitch: 60, 
              bearing: 62.4,
              center: [ 4.8, 52.4] 


JavaScript Object Notation


              "version": 8, 
              "name": "Mijn eigen Stijl", 
              "sprite": "url", 
              "glyphs": "url/{fontstack}/{range}.pbf", 
              "sources": {...}, 
              "layers": [
                "id": "background", 
                "type": "background", 
                "paint": { "background-color":"#FFFFFF" } 

Let's Map!

Everything is on Github


Used for code.

Version control.



Use a good text-editor

Nodepad ++

With Syntax Highlighting!

The workshop

follow the steps

Made with previous workshops:

Be creative!

There is more to find on the Internet

Do not keep yourself to the assignments!!

More info?

My lists of

interesting links, workshops, presentations and background information:

for webmapping in general and d3 & Leaflet

about vector tiles

Feel free to contact me!

Thank you!

Niene Boeijen