Printmaps allows you to create large-format maps based on OpenStreetMap data. Various map styles and print formats are available. The maps can be supplemented with custom map and data elements.

Map styles

There are several styles available for creating the map:


The maps created with Printmaps can be used without restriction. However, the terms of use require a copyright notice at a suitable location on the map. This reference text is dependent on the map style (see also service capabilities).

File formats

There are several file formats available for creating the map:


There are a variety of methods to transfer a three-dimensional, spherical body, more precisely an ellipsoid, on a two-dimensional, planar map surface. These methods, called projection or map mapping, are specified by a so-called EPSG number (European Petroleum Survey Group Geodesy). Printmaps allows you to set the projection individually. Some examples:

The code "EPSG: 4326" is usually not used for map mappings, but rather specifies the geodata. A lot of data, for example those of OpenStreetMap, are specified via "EPSG:4326".

Map scale

In the choice of the scale, 'round' values have proven themselves in practice. This allows a measured map distance to be easily converted to the corresponding natural distance.

Scale Map length Nature length Typical usage
1 : 200000 1 cm 2 km operational map
1 : 100000 1 cm 1 km road map
1 : 50000 1 cm 500 m cycling map
1 : 25000 1 cm 250 m hiking map
1 : 10000 1 cm 100 m city plan
1 : 5000 1 cm 50 m base map
1 : 1000 1 cm 10 m building plan


The depicted land area is determined by the attributes:

The scale also defines the number of details displayed. In the first step one should familiarize oneself with the scales:

Print size
Print width and print height define the size of the finished map in millimeters. Special features of the printing technology must be observed. For technical reasons, many laser and inkjet printers can not fully print a sheet. This edge, often 5 mm in circumference, is to be subtracted from the print size. Print shops, on the other hand, frequently cut the printed map. This bleed is usually 1 to 3 mm in circumference and must be added to the desired print size. In the second step one should clarify with the printing service provider:

Paper size
The paper size describes the size of a printing sheet or a printing page. Basically, a distinction is made between the portrait format and the landscape format. In the printing industrie, the width (horizontal length) is always the first value followed by the height (vertical length).

DIN-A4 portrait format = 210 x 297 mm
DIN-A4 landscape format = 297 x 210 mm

DIN formats
The German Institute for Standardization (DIN) has standardized different paper formats for the office sector. All the following dimensions are given in millimeters (mm).

DIN-A Sizes (mm)
40 1682 x 2378
20 1189 x 1682
0 841 x 1189
1 594 x 841
2 420 x 594
3 297 x 420
4 210 x 297

Further formats
The above paper formats are used as a guide for the German-speaking area. In addition, there are many other paper formats. The dimensions in millimeters allow all formats to be produced (e.g., 26 x 39 inches = 660.4 x 990.6 mm).

Laser printer
(Color-) Laser printers are available for the paper formats DIN-A4 to DIN-A1. A1 devices are usually found only in large copy shops or printers.

Inkjet printer
Inkjet printers are available in various print widths up to large format printers. LFP devices with printing widths between 1000 and 2000 millimeters are interesting for map printing. Because roll paper is typically used, the printing height (often) is limited only by the roll length. For example, an 1626-inch (64-inch) LFP printer could produce a 1600 x 2200 mm map. The print widths are usually expressed in inches. The exact print width should be adjusted in advance with the printing company.

Inches Sizes (mm)
42 1066 x roll length
44 1118 x roll length
60 1524 x roll length
64 1626 x roll length

Printing machines
In the case of printing machines, the largest printable paper format is usually given as a so-called format class. Again, the exact dimensions of the printed map must be agreed with the printing company.

User defined data and map elements

A key feature of Printmaps is the complement of the map with typical add-on elements such as map frame, grid, scale and legend. In addition, it is often also necessary to draw your own data, such as tracks, POIs and planning data. Both are supported by Printmaps in print quality.

Basic concept
A map is generated from the georeferenced map raw data (areas, lines, points) by the renderer "Mapnik". The draw order and the draw type of the elements are defined by an XML control file. All custom objects (data and map elements) are also generated using Mapnik statements. For this purpose, the XML control file is individually adapted to additional requirements for e.g. the map frame, the scale bar or a track. When which elements are drawn is the result of the following processing sequence:

  1. instructions for processing the georeferenced raw data
  2. instructions for processing the user data and add-on elements

Georeferenced user data
You can draw any number of georeferenced user data (on top) onto the map. The corresponding data must be uploaded to the server by the user in a first step. In addition, you must specify which data is to be extracted and how it should be graphically displayed. The drawing order of the user data is determined by the order in the map generation task. The user data can be in various data formats.

User defined map add-on elements
The custom (technical) map items are not georeferenced. Rather, the user determines where and how the additional element should be placed on the map. For this purpose, he defines the required placement values by specifying X and Y positions (millimeters) relative to the lower left corner of the map (zero point). Any number of additional elements can be defined. In addition, the user must define how each additional element is to be drawn graphically. The drawing order of the additional elements is determined by the order in the map generation task.

Extraction of user data

The (vector) user data are extracted using the program "ogr". Correspondingly, all data layers recognized by "ogr" can be extracted and rendered according to the drawing rules. Using the "ogrinfo" utility you can display the data layers of a user file.

GPX file
The following data layers (layers) are typically present in a GPX file:

KML file
A KML file can theoretically contain any number of user-defined layers. These are called "folders". First you have to determine how the layers (folders) are called. This is possible at a glance in the file itself (text editor), or via the program "ogrinfo".

Note: The formats "shape, gdal or csv" are also allowed for extracting the user data.

Hide map layser

A final rendered map typically consists of a variety of map layers. Each layer has a draw order and typically includes one or more features. When creating the map, you can define whether certain map layers (and thus map elements) should not be drawn. Example: If you want a map without administrative boundaries, you could hide them if there are appropriate layers. For this purpose, the "HideLayers" attribute must contain a comma-separated list with the layers to be hidden.


To mark user objects, 33 markers (arrow ... star, svg) are available in 12 colors (azure ... yellow):

Arrows (64 x 128)




General Markers (64 x 128)








Small Point (64 x 64)


(Needle) Pins (64 x 128)











Small Flags (64 x 128)









Large Flags (128 x 128)





Each of the 33 markers is available in 12 colors













The name of a marker consists of:



North pointer

A north pointer (North_Pointer, svg) in 12 colors (Azure ... Yellow) is available for marking the north direction:



The name of the north pointer consists of:

Hatching patterns

For the marking of (planning) surfaces there are 3 hatching patterns (vertical, horizonal, grid, svg, 200 x 200) in 2 grid sizes (20, 50), 12 colors (Azure ... Yellow) and 10 grid thicknesses (1. .. 10) are available:







The name of a hatching pattern consists of:


Additional there are 3 diagonal hatching patterns (45, 135, Cross, svg, 200 x 200) in 2 grid sizes (20, 50), 12 colors (Azure ... Yellow) and 10 grid thicknesses (1. .. 10) available:




The name of a diagonal pattern consists of:


A set of dot pattern (200 x 200) in 2 dot distances (10, 20), 12 colors (Azure ... Yellow) and 3 dot radii (1 ... 3) is also available:





The name of a dot patterns consists of:


Note: The upload of your own patterns (PNG, SVG) is possible. Their names can not start with "Printmaps_".


All map styles use the free Google Noto fonts. The Noto Fonts provide the characters of all major world languages. For reasons of uniformity, it is recommended to use this fontset for all custom texts and labels:

Note: Any (web) fonts can be used by first rendering the text into an SVG image and then rendering it to the map.


Printmaps offers the possibility to hide layers. A layer typically contains a specific feature group. For example, the course of the borders or the labeling of the borders. Which features are contained in which layer, is defined in a render control file (XML). To pinpoint this, the control file for each map style can be downloaded.

Render control files (XML):

Terms of usage

Generating large-format maps requires significant server resources (CPU, RAM, HD). The map building time depends on the map size, the map style and the map scale. It is between 30 seconds and several minutes, depending on the server load.

Several iterations are usually required to get to the final print maps. Often improvements are related to the placement and presentation of user defined map and data elements. A good choice to improve the drawing of this elements is the usage of the map style 'raster10'. This design splits the map into 10x10 rectangles, but doesn't read any data from the database. This saves server resources and speeds up the map build process.

As long as the build process of a map runs, no further orders may be placed.

Data retention

The server stores data for a map (order data, job status, printable map, user files) for a maximum of seven days. The data is then erased irreversibly.

Data security

The unique identification of a map is carried out via the map ID. If the map ID is known, the map data can be accessed. If the data contains sensitive information, the client should explicitly prompt the deletion of the map data after completing the map generation.


Virtually no technical system and no software is free from problems:

If any of the above-mentioned problems occur, the service provider should be informed accordingly (see imprint).

The map creation jobs are processed in the order of their input. When the server load is high, the creation of a map may take some time.