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Original author(s) Artem Pavlenko
Developer(s) The Mapnik Contributors
Stable release 3.0.9[1] / November 26, 2015; 7 months ago (2015-11-26)
Development status Active
Written in C++
Operating system Cross-platform
License LGPL

Mapnik is an open source mapping toolkit for desktop- and server-based map rendering, written in C++. One of its many users is the OpenStreetMap project (OSM), which uses it in combination with an Apache Web Server module (mod_tile) to render tiles that make up the OSM 'Slippy Map' Layer.[2] An XML file can also be used to define a collection of mapping objects that determine the appearance of a map, or objects can be constructed programmatically in C++, Python, and Node.js. Artem Pavlenko, the original developer of Mapnik, set out with the explicit goal of creating beautiful maps[3] by employing the sub-pixel anti-aliasing of the Anti-Grain Geometry (AGG) library. Mapnik now also has a Cairo rendering backend. For handling common software tasks such as memory management, file system access, regular expressions, and XML parsing, Mapnik utilizes the Boost C++ libraries.

Data Format[edit]

A number of data formats are supported in Mapnik using a plugin framework. Current plugins exist that utilize OGR and GDAL to read a range of vector and raster datasets. Mapnik also has custom Shapefile, PostGIS and GeoTIFF readers. More data access plug-ins will be available in the future. There is also an osm2pgsql utility,[4] that converts OpenStreetMap data into a format that can be loaded into PostgreSQL. Mapnik can then be used to render the OSM data into maps with the appearance the user wants.


Mapnik is a cross platform toolkit that runs on Windows, Mac, Unix-like systems like Linux and Solaris (since release 0.4).


Mapnik is used as the rendering backend of OpenStreetMap's default layer,[5] but is also used by CloudMade,[6] MapQuest,[7] and MapBox.[8]


Mapnik is free software and is released under LGPL (GNU Lesser General Public Licence).


  1. ^ "Release 3.0.9". Retrieved November 26, 2015. 
  2. ^ OpenStreetMap's main Slippy Map layer
  3. ^ Beautiful Maps as an explicit goal in the Mapnik FAQ
  4. ^ "Osm2pgsql". 
  5. ^ "Mapnik". OpenStreetMap Wiki. 
  6. ^ "CloudMade". OpenStreetMap Wiki. 
  7. ^ "MapQuest Mapnik Style". GitHub. 
  8. ^ "Mapnik Performance". Development Seed. 

External links[edit]