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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Boundless Ventures Offline with the Offline Tile Server

June 6th, 2018 by Susan Smith

Anthony Calamito, chief geospatial officer at Boundless talked about the Boundless Offline Tile Server that delivers rapid access to basemaps around the world, drilling down to the street and building level, to professionals who can’t rely on internet connectivity out in the field.

Many professionals in the areas of military field operations, disaster response, natural resource exploration and surveying, coastal and border monitoring, security operations, intelligence briefings, utilities, humanitarian missions, need  a fast, portable, and sometimes disconnected basemap with geospatial capabiltiies that works on many different platforms.

What situations and use cases do you envision this Offline Tile Server for?

 Boundless Offline Tile Server is a lightweight, purpose-built map tile server that provides detailed, street-level, global basemaps on-demand while offline. This product can be marketed to any organization looking for a turnkey solution for publishing aesthetically pleasing basemaps while disconnected from a network connection.


Potential customers may include:

  • Intelligence Community elements working disconnected from the Internet
  • Petroleum/Natural Gas organizations that are working behind a firewall
  • MIlitary elements who are forward deployed or working in austere environments
  • Military elements deployed on ships at sea
  • Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief efforts and first responders to natural disasters

Will it be available on all mobile devices?

The Boundless Offline Tile Server is designed to work on many different platforms, including laptops, tablets, in-vehicle computer systems, and even on mobile devices.  The tile server itself works cross platform on Windows, Linux and macOS.

Do you include USGS topo maps also and other countries’ offroad maps?

In its current state Offline Tile Server creates vector tiles from OpenStreetMap (OSM).  Additional tile sources will be offered in future releases of the software.

Will users be able to receive updates where they have internet access, and/or are these maps readily updatable? 

Data for Offline Tile Server are distributed as interoperable GeoPackages of vector tiles.  Users can update Offline Tile Server by updating GeoPackages via an Internet, or they can be updated manually by copy/paste.

 How often are the maps and data updated?

OpenStreetMap is updated daily as users all around the globe contribute updates to its master dataset.  Some customers are happy with updates to their data quarterly, while others will want to have daily updates to keep aligned with OSM updates.  Boundless offers a variety of update options to fit all users needs.

What are some of the ways this might be useful during a national emergency?

During many emergencies, communications are the first things to go down. Earthquakes, hurricanes major floods, are all capable of taking down communications (cellular, microwave, WiFi or other) and thus creating challenges for communicating during response efforts.  Boundless Offline Tile Server was designed to not require communications in order to provide accurate and timely maps for response efforts. Perhaps urban search and rescue units need to search house-by-house after a flood, or an maybe a state emergency operations center needs to setup a situational awareness viewer after a hurricane.  In both cases, Offline Tile Server can provide the common map needed to support those rescue and recovery efforts, without the need for network communications. Some recent emergencies which Offline Tile Server could be useful include volcano response in Hawaii and flood response in the United States.

From company materials:


  • Fast map tile rendering provides quick access to critical information, for more responsiveness in time-sensitive environments
  • Small software footprint frees up disk space and compute resources for other operational needs so you can accomplish more in the field
  • Works in remote or restricted areas where users cannot depend on an internet connection, or don’t want one due to security concerns
  • Accurate, up-to-date maps provide detail down to small streets and buildings for more precise decision-making · “Server in a box” convenience with maximum customization and flexibility – get all the functionality your operation requires, without unnecessary extras, in an open and easily integratable package


  • Performant | Optimized for speed using pre-processed vector tiles, predictively pushed to client applications, with caching of zoom levels 1-6, and a concise set of services
  • Lightweight and portable | Self-contained and delivered as a single executable file, with no dependencies on run-time libraries. Runs on Linux, MacOS, and Windows
  • Offline availability | Web-like map server capability with no connectivity requirement
  • Global | Includes current OSM street maps with worldwide coverage, from zoom level 1 (global, ~1:50M) up to zoom level 14 (buildings, ~1:10,000)
  • Data refresh | New basemaps regularly available for download
  • Standards-based | Use open source data, delivered in standard MapBox Tile or OGC-compliant Geopackage formats. Data is managed in an open source SQLite database

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Categories: aircraft tracking, airports, analytics, asset management, Big Data, Boundless, citizen science, cloud, crowd source, data, developers, disaster relief, emergency response, field GIS, geospatial, GIS, Google, government, hurricanes, lidar, location based services, location intelligence, mapping, mobile, offline, OGC, Open Source, OpenStreetMap, public safety, retail

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