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Installing Kosmtik and OpenStreetMap-Carto on Ubuntu

Installing Kosmtik and OpenStreetMap-Carto on Ubuntu


Kosmtik is an open source modular mapping framework for managing CartoCSS rendering of OpenStreetMap stylesheets and creating Mapnik ready raster tile maps. It consists of a JavaScript node module and needs a list of prerequisite software like PostgreSQL, PostGIS, Python, osm2pgsql and Node.js itself. Kosmtik also includes node versions of further software like Mapnik and Carto. It is written by Yohan Boniface and other contributors.

The recommended method to install Kosmtik is via the Docker image and related scripts provided with OpenStreetMap Carto. Alternatively to the Docker installation method, the following procedure can be used to install a Kosmtik development environment of openstreetmap-carto by performing one by one all the required steps on an Ubuntu PC.

Notice that Kosmtik does not currently install on Windows (setup fails on node-mapnik). It can be installed by now on:

  • a Unix server (e.g., Ubuntu)
  • a local UNIX virtual machine
  • a cloud based virtual machine

A PostGIS database is needed and can be installed locally (suggested) or remotely (might be slow, depending on the network).

The goal for this procedure is to use Ubuntu packages and official PPAs whenever possible.

We consider using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver, suggested operating system version.

Other tested O.S. include Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Xenial Xerus, Ubuntu 15.4 Vivid Vervet or Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS Trusty Tahr (other versions should work). All should be 64-bit computing architecture. Other distributions like Debian might be checked, but could require changes to the installation procedure.

This procedure is updated to the version of OpenStreetMap Carto available at the time of writing. To get the correct installation procedure, the INSTALL history should be checked, considering that the OpenStreetMap Carto maintainers use to keep the INSTALL page updated. Check also the README changelog.

General setup for Ubuntu

Install Ubuntu.

This procedure also supports WSL - Windows Subsystem for Linux. This means that a Windows 10 64-bit PC can be used to perform the installation, after setting-up WSL.

Update Ubuntu

Make sure your Ubuntu system is fully up-to-date:

lsb_release -a

Previous command returns the Ubuntu version.

To update the system:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y upgrade

If on a brand new system you also want to do sudo apt-get dist-upgrade && sudo shutdown -r now.

Install essential tools

sudo apt-get -y install ca-certificates gnupg curl unzip gdal-bin tar wget bzip2 build-essential clang

For the subsequent installation steps, we suppose that cd defaults to your home directory.

Configure a swap

Importing and managing map data takes a lot of RAM and a swap is generally needed.

To check whether a swap partition is already configured on your system, use one of the following two commands:

  • Reports the swap usage summary (no output means missing swap):

    swapon -s
  • Display amount of free and used memory in the system (check the line specifying Swap):

    free -h

If you do not have an active swap partition, especially if your physical memory is small, you should add a swap file. First we use fallocate command to create a file. For example, create a file named swapfile with 2G capacity in root file system:

sudo fallocate -l 2G /swapfile

Then make sure only root can read and write to it.

sudo chmod 600 /swapfile

Format it to swap:

sudo mkswap /swapfile

Enable the swap file

sudo swapon /swapfile

The Operating System tuning adopted by the OpenStreetMap tile servers can be found in the related Chef configuration.

Check usage of English locale

Run locale to list what locales are currently defined for the current user account:


To set the en_GB locale:

export LANGUAGE=en_GB.UTF-8
export LANG=en_GB.UTF-8
export LC_ALL=en_GB.UTF-8

The exported variables can be put to the file /etc/environment.

New locales can also be generated by issuing:

sudo locale-gen en_GB en_GB.UTF-8
sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales

The following subfolders will be created:

  • kosmtik
  • openstreetmap-carto

Install Git

Git might come already preinstalled sometimes.

git --version # to verify whether git is already installed
sudo apt-get install -y git

Install Node.js

Node.js can be installed via different methods, including:

A list of useful commands to manage Node.js is available at a specific page.

Installation procedure suggested by openstreetmap-carto

For running Kosmtik, Openstreetmap-carto currently suggests installing Node.js v6.x from NodeSource Node.js Binary Distributions, basing on related installation instructions:

curl -sL | sudo -E bash - && sudo apt-get install -y nodejs
node -v
nodejs -v
npm -v

The above reported Node.js version also supports installing TileMill and Carto.

Distro version from the APT package manager

The recent versions of Ubuntu come with Node.js (nodejs package) and npm (npm package) in the default repositories. Depending on which Ubuntu version you’re running, those packages may contain outdated releases; the one coming with Ubuntu 16.04 will not be the latest, but it should be stable and sufficient to run Kosmtik and Carto. TileMill instead needs nodejs-legacy (or an old version of node installed via a Node.js version management tool).

For Kosmtik we will install nodejs:

sudo apt-get install -y nodejs npm
node -v 2>/dev/null || sudo ln -fs /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/local/bin/node
nodejs -v
node -v
npm -v

Install Node.js through a version management tool

Alternatively, a suggested approach is using a Node.js version management tool, which simplifies the interactive management of different Node.js versions and allows performing the upgrade to the latest one. We will use n.

Install n:

mkdir -p ~/src ; cd ~/src
git clone
cd n
sudo make install # To uninstall: sudo make uninstall
cd ..

Some programs (like Kosmtik and carto) accept the latest LTS node version (sudo n lts), other ones (like Tilemill) run with v6.14.1 (sudo n 6.14.1).

For Kosmtik we will install the latest LTS one:

sudo n lts

To get the installed version number:

node -v
npm -v

Install Kosmtik

mkdir -p ~/src ; cd ~/src
git clone
cd ~/src/kosmtik
npm install

If you wish to use kosmtik everywhere, you need to install it globally (rather than locally, ie. in a node_modules folder inside your current folder); for the global installation, you need the -g parameter:

sudo npm install -g

In case the installation fails, this is possibly due to some incompatibility with npm/Node.js; to fix this, try downgrading the Node.js version.

Read Kosmtik Install or Update for further information.

Test Kosmtik

cd ~/src/kosmtik
npm test # you can also run Kosmtik to test: see "Start Kosmtik" below.

See Start Kosmtik.

Notice that some test might not pass (this does not mean that the installation is necessarily failed)

Notice also that, when running npm test, an error like the following indicates that your system does not have a modern enough libstdc++/gcc-base toolchain:

Error: /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ version GLIBCXX_3.4.20 not found (required by /node_modules/osrm/lib/binding/osrm.node)

If you are running Ubuntu older than 16.04 you can easily upgrade your libstdc++ version like:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-toolchain-r/test
sudo apt-get update -y
sudo apt-get install -y libstdc++-5-dev

Read node-mapnik for further information.

Python installation

Check that Python is installed:

python -V
python3 -V

Otherwise Python needs to be installed.

Install Yaml and Package Manager for Python

This is necessary in order to run OpenStreetMap-Carto scripts/indexes.

sudo apt-get install -y python-yaml

pip -V # to verify whether pip is already installed
sudo apt-get install -y python-pip

Install Mapnik Utilities

The Mapnik Utilities package includes shapeindex.

sudo apt-get install -y mapnik-utils

Install openstreetmap-carto

cd ~/src
git clone
cd openstreetmap-carto

Read installation notes for further information.

Install the fonts needed by openstreetmap-carto

Currently Noto fonts are used.

To install them (except Noto Emoji Regular and Noto Sans Arabic UI Regular/Bold):

sudo apt-get install -y fonts-noto-cjk fonts-noto-hinted fonts-noto-unhinted fonts-hanazono ttf-unifont

Installation of Noto fonts (hinted ones should be used if available1):

cd ~/src
git clone
git clone
sudo cp noto-emoji/fonts/NotoColorEmoji.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto
sudo cp noto-emoji/fonts/NotoEmoji-Regular.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto
sudo cp noto-fonts/hinted/NotoSansArabicUI-Regular.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto
sudo cp noto-fonts/hinted/NotoNaskhArabicUI-Regular.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto
sudo cp noto-fonts/hinted/NotoSansArabicUI-Bold.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto
sudo cp noto-fonts/hinted/NotoNaskhArabicUI-Bold.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto
sudo cp noto-fonts/hinted/NotoSansAdlam-Regular.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto
sudo cp noto-fonts/hinted/NotoSansAdlamUnjoined-Regular.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto
sudo cp noto-fonts/hinted/NotoSansChakma-Regular.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto
sudo cp noto-fonts/hinted/NotoSansOsage-Regular.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto
sudo cp noto-fonts/hinted/NotoSansSinhalaUI-Regular.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto
sudo cp noto-fonts/hinted/NotoSansArabicUI-Regular.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto
sudo cp noto-fonts/hinted/NotoSansCherokee-Bold.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto
sudo cp noto-fonts/hinted/NotoSansSinhalaUI-Bold.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto
sudo cp noto-fonts/hinted/NotoSansSymbols-Bold.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto
sudo cp noto-fonts/hinted/NotoSansArabicUI-Bold.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto
sudo cp noto-fonts/unhinted/NotoSansSymbols2-Regular.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto
sudo apt install fontconfig
sudo fc-cache -fv
fc-list | grep Emoji

DejaVu Sans is used as an optional fallback font for systems without Noto Sans. If all the Noto fonts are installed, it should never be used.

sudo apt-get install -y fonts-dejavu-core

Read font notes for further information.

Old unifont Medium font

The unifont Medium font (lowercase label), which was included in past OS versions, now is no more available and substituted by Unifont Medium (uppercase). Warnings related to the unavailability of unifont Medium are not relevant2 and are due to the old decision of OpenStreetMap maintainers to support both the past Ubuntu 12.04 font and the newer version (uppercase).

One way to avoid the warning is removing the reference to “unifont Medium” in openstreetmap-carto/style.xml.

Another alternative way to remove the lowercase unifont Medium warning is installing the old “unifont Medium” font (used by Ubuntu 12.10):

mkdir -p ~/src ; cd ~/src
mkdir OldUnifont
cd OldUnifont
tar xvfz unifont_5.1.20080914.orig.tar.gz unifont-5.1.20080914/font/precompiled/unifont.ttf
sudo cp unifont-5.1.20080914/font/precompiled/unifont.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/unifont/OldUnifont.ttf
sudo fc-cache -fv
fc-list | grep -i unifont # both uppercase and lowercase fonts will be listed

Notice that above installation operation is useless, just removes the warning.

Create the data folder

cd ~/src
cd openstreetmap-carto

The actual shapefiles loaded by the OpenStreetMap tile servers are reported in the related Chef configuration.

Read scripted download for further information.

Set the environment variables

export PGHOST=localhost
export PGPORT=5432
export PGUSER=postgres
export PGPASSWORD=postgres_007%

Create localconfig.json

Using your favourite editor, create a file named localconfig.json in the openstreetmap-carto directory, including the following:

        "where": "center",
        "then": [9.111, 45.111, 15]
        "where": "Layer",
        "if": {
            "Datasource.type": "postgis"
        "then": {
            "Datasource.dbname": "gis",
            "Datasource.password": "postgres_007%",
            "Datasource.user": "postgres",
            "": "localhost"

Notice the datasource parameters, including user and password, that you might need to change.

Replace coordinates and zoom with your preferred ones within the following line:

        "then": [9.111, 45.111, 15]

For instance, for Liechtenstein you would use:

        "then": [9.5634, 47.1237, 15]

In this example, the default center is (9.111, 45.111) and the default zoom is 15. You can configure the other parameters (like the db ones: dbname, password, user, host). Replace localhost with a remote host name if the PostGIS instance is running remotely. Read local config for further information.

Configure the firewall

If you are preparing a remote virtual machine, configure the firewall to allow remote access to the local port 6789.

If you run a cloud based VM, also the VM itself shall be set to open this port.

Install PostgreSQL and PostGIS

PostgreSQL is a relational database, and PostGIS is its spatial extender, which allows you to store geographic objects like map data in it; it serves a similar function to ESRI’s SDE or Oracle’s Spatial extension. PostgreSQL + PostGIS are used for a wide variety of features such as rendering maps, geocoding, and analysis.

Currently the tested versions for OpenstreetMap Carto are PostgreSQL 10 and PostGIS 2.4:

Also older or newer PostgreSQL version should be suitable.

On Ubuntu there are pre-packaged versions of both postgis and postgresql, so these can simply be installed via the Ubuntu package manager.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y postgresql-10

With WSL, you need to start the db:

sudo service postgresql start

Note: used PostgreSQL port is 5432 (default).

A user named postgres will be created during the installation process.

Set the password for the postgres user

psql -U postgres
\password postgres

Alternative procedure (useful if you get authentication issues with the previous one):

sudo su -
sudo -i -u postgres
psql -U postgres
\password postgres

Enter the following password twice: postgres_007%

This is just an example of password, you can use the one you prefer.

After entering the password, exit from psql with:


With the second procedure, also isssue:

exit # from 'sudo -i -u postgres'
exit # from 'sudo su -'

Create the PostGIS instance

Now you need to create a PostGIS database. The defaults of various programs including openstreetmap-carto (ref. project.mml) assume the database is called gis. You need to create a PostgreSQL database and set up a PostGIS extension on it.

The character encoding scheme to be used in the database is UTF8 and the adopted collation is en_GB.utf8. (The U&"..." escaped Unicode syntax used in project.mml should work only when the server encoding is UTF8. This is also in line with what reported in the PostgreSQL Chef configuration code.)

export PGPASSWORD=postgres_007%
HOSTNAME=localhost # set it to the actual ip address or host name
psql -U postgres -h $HOSTNAME -c "CREATE DATABASE gis ENCODING 'UTF-8' LC_COLLATE 'en_GB.utf8' LC_CTYPE 'en_GB.utf8'"

# alternative command: createdb -E UTF8 -l en_GB.UTF8 -O postgres gis

If you get the following error:

ERROR:  invalid locale name: "en_GB.utf8"

then you need to add ‘en_GB.utf8’ locale using the following command:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales

And select “en_GB.UTF-8 UTF-8” in the first screen (“Locales to be generated”). Subsequently, restarting the db would be suggested:

sudo service postgresql restart

If you get the following error:

ERROR:  new collation (en_GB.utf8) is incompatible with the collation of the template database (en_US.UTF-8)
HINT:  Use the same collation as in the template database, or use template0 as template.

you need to use template0 for gis:

psql -U postgres -h $HOSTNAME -c "CREATE DATABASE gis ENCODING 'UTF-8' LC_COLLATE 'en_GB.utf8' LC_CTYPE 'en_GB.utf8' TEMPLATE template0"

# alternative command: createdb -E UTF8 -l en_GB.UTF8 -O postgres  -T template0 gis

If you get the following error:

ERROR:  new encoding (UTF8) is incompatible with the encoding of the template database (SQL_ASCII)
HINT:  Use the same encoding as in the template database, or use template0 as template.

(error generally happening with Ubuntu on Windows with WSL), then add also TEMPLATE template0; e.g., use the following command:

psql -U postgres -h $HOSTNAME -c "CREATE DATABASE gis ENCODING 'UTF-8' LC_COLLATE 'en_GB.utf8' LC_CTYPE 'en_GB.utf8' TEMPLATE template0"
# alternative command: createdb -E UTF8 -l en_GB.utf8 -O postgres -T template0 gis

Check to create the DB within a disk partition where enough disk space is available3. If you need to use a different tablespace than the default one, execute the following commands instead of the previous ones (example: the tablespace has location /tmp/db):

sudo mkdir /mnt/db # Suppose this is the tablespace location
sudo chown postgres:postgres /mnt/db
psql -U postgres -h $HOSTNAME -c "CREATE TABLESPACE gists LOCATION '/mnt/db'"
psql -U postgres -h $HOSTNAME -c "ALTER DATABASE gis SET TABLESPACE gists"

Create the postgis and hstore extensions:

psql -U postgres -h $HOSTNAME -c "\connect gis"
psql -U postgres -h $HOSTNAME -d gis -c "CREATE EXTENSION postgis"
psql -U postgres -h $HOSTNAME -d gis -c "CREATE EXTENSION hstore"

If you get the following error

ERROR: could not open extension control file "/usr/share/postgresql/9.3/extension/postgis.control": No such file or directory

then you might be installing PostgreSQL 9.3 (instead of 9.5), for which you should also need:

sudo apt-get install postgis postgresql-9.3-postgis-scripts

Install it and repeat the create extension commands. Notice that PostgreSQL 9.3 is not currently supported by openstreetmap-carto.

Add a user and grant access to gis DB

In order for the application to access the gis database, a DB user with the same name of your UNIX user is needed. Let’s suppose your UNIX ue is tileserver.

psql -U postgres -c "create user tileserver;grant all privileges on database gis to tileserver;"

Enabling remote access to PostgreSQL

To remotely access PostgreSQL, you need to edit pg_hba.conf:

sudo vi /etc/postgresql/9.5/main/pg_hba.conf

and add the following line:

host    all             all             <your IP set>/<your netmask>             md5

host all all md5 is an access control rule that let anybody login in from any address if providing a valid password (md5 keyword).

Then edit postgresql.conf:

sudo vi /etc/postgresql/9.5/main/postgresql.conf

and set listen_addresses = '*'

Finally, the DB shall be restarted:

sudo /etc/init.d/postgresql restart

Check that the gis database is available. To list all databases defined in PostgreSQL, issue the following command:

psql -U postgres -h $HOSTNAME -c "\l+"

The obtained report should include the gis database, as in the following table:

Name Owner Encoding Collate Ctype Access privileges
gis postgres UTF8 en_US.utf8 en_US.utf8 =Tc/postgres

Tuning the database

The default PostgreSQL settings aren’t great for very large databases like OSM databases. Proper tuning can just about double the performance.

The PostgreSQL wiki has a page on database tuning.

Paul Norman’s Blog has an interesting note on optimizing the database, which is used here below.

Default maintenance_work_mem and work_mem settings are far too low for rendering.4: both parameters should be increased for faster data loading and faster queries (index scanning).

Conservative settings for a 4GB VM are work_mem=32MB and maintenance_work_mem=256MB. On a machine with enough memory you could set them as high as work_mem=256MB and maintenance_work_mem=1GB.

Besides, important settings are shared_buffers and the write-ahead-log (wal). There are also some other settings you might want to change specifically for the import.

To edit the PostgreSQL configuration file with vi editor:

sudo vi /etc/postgresql/9.5/main/postgresql.conf

and if you are running PostgreSQL 9.3 (not supported):

sudo vi /etc/postgresql/9.3/main/postgresql.conf

Suggested minimum settings:

shared_buffers = 128MB
min_wal_size = 1GB
max_wal_size = 2GB
work_mem = 32MB # check comments for better tuning
maintenance_work_mem = 256MB
autovacuum = off
fsync = off

The latter two ones allow a faster import: the first turns off auto-vacuum during the import and allows you to run a vacuum at the end; the second introduces data corruption in case of a power outage and is dangerous. If you have a power outage while importing the data, you will have to drop the data from the database and re-import, but it’s faster. Just remember to change these settings back after importing. fsync has no effect on query times once the data is loaded.

The PostgreSQL tuning adopted by OpenStreetMap can be found in the PostgreSQL Chef Cookbook: the specific PostgreSQL tuning for the OpenStreetMap tile servers is reported in the related Tileserver Chef configuration.

For a dev&test installation on a system with 16GB of RAM, the suggested settings are the following5:

shared_buffers = 2GB
work_mem = 256MB
maintenance_work_mem = 1GB
wal_level = minimal
synchronous_commit = off
min_wal_size = 1GB
max_wal_size = 2GB
checkpoint_segments = 60
checkpoint_timeout = 15min
checkpoint_completion_target = 0.9
default_statistics_target = 1000
autovacuum = off
fsync = off

default_statistics_target can be even increased to 10000.

If performing database updates, run ANALYZE periodically.

To stop and start the database:

sudo /etc/init.d/postgresql stop

sudo /etc/init.d/postgresql start

You may get an error and need to increase the shared memory size. Edit /etc/sysctl.d/30-postgresql-shm.conf and run sudo sysctl -p /etc/sysctl.d/30-postgresql-shm.conf. A parameter like kernel.shmmax=17179869184 and kernel.shmall=4194304 could be appropriate for a 16GB segment size.6

To manage and maintain the configuration of the servers run by OpenStreetMap, the Chef configuration management tool is used.

The configuration adopted for PostgreSQL is postgresql/attributes/default.rb.

Install Osm2pgsql

Osm2pgsql is an OpenStreetMap specific software used to load the OSM data into the PostGIS database.

The default packaged versions of Osm2pgsql are 0.88.1-1 on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and 0.96.0 on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Nevertheless, more recent versions are suggested, available at the OpenStreetMap Osmadmins PPA or compiling the software from sources.

To install osm2pgsql from package (will not install an updated version):

sudo apt-get install ppa-purge && sudo ppa-purge -y ppa:osmadmins/ppa # This if you need to downgrade osm2pgsql to the stock version

sudo apt-get install -y osm2pgsql

To install Osm2pgsql from Osmadmins PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:osmadmins/ppa
apt-key adv --keyserver --recv A438A16C88C6BE41CB1616B8D57F48750AC4F2CB
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y osm2pgsql

Go to Get an OpenStreetMap data extract.

Generate Osm2pgsql from sources

This alternative installation procedure generates the most updated executable by compiling the sources.

Install Needed dependencies:

sudo apt-get install -y make cmake g++ libboost-dev libboost-system-dev \
  libboost-filesystem-dev libexpat1-dev zlib1g-dev \
  libbz2-dev libpq-dev libgeos-dev libgeos++-dev libproj-dev lua5.2 \

Download osm2pgsql:

mkdir -p ~/src ; cd ~/src
git clone git:// 

Prepare for compiling, compile and install:

cd osm2pgsql
mkdir build
cd build
cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release ..
sudo make install

Get an OpenStreetMap data extract

You need to download an appropriate .osm or .pbf file to be subsequently loaded into the previously created PostGIS instance via osm2pgsql.

There are many ways to download the OSM data.

The reference is Planet OSM.

It’s probably easiest to grab an PBF of OSM data from geofabrik.

Also, provides extracts of more than 200 cities and regions world-wide in different formats.


  • Map data of the whole planet (32G):

    wget -c
  • Map data of Great Britain (847M):

    wget -c
  • Map data of Lombardy (279M):

    wget -c
  • For just Liechtenstein:

    md5sum -c liechtenstein-latest.osm.pbf.md5 # Check that the download wasn't corrupted

Another method to download data is directly with your browser. Check this page.

Alternatively, JOSM can be used (Select the area to download the OSM data: JOSM menu, File, Download From OSM; tab Slippy map; drag the map with the right mouse button, zoom with the mouse wheel or Ctrl + arrow keys; drag a box with the left mouse button to select an area to download. The Continuous Download plugin is also suggested. When the desired region is locally available, select File, Save As, <filename>.osm. Give it a valid file name and check also the appropriate directory where this file is saved.

In all cases, avoid using too small areas.

OpenStreetMap is open data. OSM’s license is Open Database License.

Load data to PostGIS

The osm2pgsql documentation reports all needed information to use this ETL tool, including related command line options.

osm2pgsql uses overcommit like many scientific and large data applications, which requires adjusting a kernel setting:

sudo sysctl -w vm.overcommit_memory=1

To load data from an .osm or .pbf file to PostGIS, issue the following:

cd ~/src
cd openstreetmap-carto
HOSTNAME=localhost # set it to the actual ip address or host name
osm2pgsql -s -C 300 -c -G --hstore --style --tag-transform-script openstreetmap-carto.lua -d gis -H $HOSTNAME -U postgres [.osm or .pbf file]

Notice that the suggested process adopts the -s (--slim option), which uses temporary tables, so running it takes more diskspace (and is very slow), while less RAM memory is used. You might add --drop option with -s (--slim), to also drop temporary tables after import, otherwise you will also find the temporary tables nodes, ways, and rels (these tables started out as pure “helper” tables for memory-poor systems, but today they are widely used because they are also a prerequisite for updates).

If everything is ok, you can go to Create indexes and grant users.

Notice that the following elements are used:

  • hstore
  • the
  • the openstreetmap-carto.lua LUA script
  • gis DB name

Depending on the input file size, the osm2pgsql command might take very long. An interesting page related to Osm2pgsql benchmarks associates sizing of hw/sw systems with related figures to import OpenStreetMap data.

Note: if you get the following error:

node_changed_mark failed: ERROR:  prepared statement "node_changed_mark" does not exist

do the following command on your original.osm:

sed "s/action='modify' //" < original.osm | > fixedfile.osm

Then process fixedfile.osm.

If you get errors like this one:

Error reading style file line 79 (fields=4)
flag 'phstore' is invalid in non-hstore mode
Error occurred, cleaning up

or this one:

Postgis Plugin: ERROR:  column "tags" does not exist
LINE 8: ...ASE WHEN "natural" IN ('mud') THEN "natural" ELSE tags->'wet...

then you need to enable hstore extension to the db with CREATE EXTENSION hstore; and also add the –hstore flag to osm2pgsql. Enabling hstore extension and using it with osm2pgsql will fix those errors.

Create indexes and grant users

Create partial indexes to speed up the queries included in project.mml and grant access to all gis tables to avoid renderd errors when accessing tables with user tileserver.

  • Add the partial geometry indexes indicated by openstreetmap-carto7 to provide effective improvement to the queries:

    HOSTNAME=localhost # set it to the actual ip address or host name
    cd ~/src
    cd openstreetmap-carto
    scripts/ | psql -U postgres -h $HOSTNAME -d gis
  • Create PostgreSQL user “tileserver” (if not yet existing) and grant rights to all gis db tables for “tileserver” user and for all logged users:

    chmod a+x ./
    sudo ./ gis tileserver

To list all tables available in the gis database, issue the following command:

psql -U postgres -h $HOSTNAME -d gis -c "\dt+"

The database shall include the rels, ways and nodes tables (created with the --slim mode of osm2pgsql) in order to allow updates.

In the following example of output, the --slim mode of osm2pgsql was used:

Schema Name Type Owner
public planet_osm_line table postgres
public planet_osm_nodes table postgres
public planet_osm_point table postgres
public planet_osm_polygon table postgres
public planet_osm_rels table postgres
public planet_osm_roads table postgres
public planet_osm_ways table postgres
public spatial_ref_sys table postgres

In fact, the tables planet_osm_rels, planet_osm_ways, planet_osm_nodes are available, as described in the Database Layout of Pgsql.

Check The OpenStreetMap data model at Mapbox for further details.

Read custom indexes for further information.

Install Kosmtik plugins

Openstreetmap-carto suggests installing some Kosmtik plugins:

Case of local installation:

cd ~/src/kosmtik && ./index.js plugins --install kosmtik-overpass-layer --install kosmtik-fetch-remote --install kosmtik-overlay --install kosmtik-open-in-josm --install kosmtik-map-compare --install kosmtik-osm-data-overlay --install kosmtik-mapnik-reference --install kosmtik-geojson-overlay
cd ~/src

Case of global installation (Kosmtik installation with the -g option):

test -d /usr/lib/node_modules/kosmtik && cd /usr/lib/node_modules/kosmtik && sudo kosmtik plugins --install kosmtik-overpass-layer --install kosmtik-fetch-remote --install kosmtik-overlay --install kosmtik-open-in-josm --install kosmtik-map-compare --install kosmtik-osm-data-overlay --install kosmtik-mapnik-reference --install kosmtik-geojson-overlay
cd ~/src

Full list of plugins can be found within the Kosmtik GitHub repository.

Start Kosmtik

Run Kosmtik:

~/src/kosmtik/index.js serve ~/src/openstreetmap-carto/project.mml --localconfig ~/src/openstreetmap-carto/localconfig.json --host

or also, in case of installation with the -g option:

kosmtik serve ~/src/openstreetmap-carto/project.mml --localconfig ~/src/openstreetmap-carto/localconfig.json --host

Read Usage for further information.

Notice that --host is needed to access Kosmtik installed on a remote server (not necessary when doing http://localhost:6789).

Access the map from your browser

With your browser, access the map through http://localhost:6789

Notice that Https will not work (use http instead).

Note: the following Kosmtik warnings can be ignored:

Mapnik LOG> ...: warning: unable to find face-name 'unifont Medium' in FontSet 'fontset-0'
Mapnik LOG> ...: warning: unable to find face-name 'unifont Medium' in FontSet 'fontset-1'
Mapnik LOG> ...: warning: unable to find face-name 'unifont Medium' in FontSet 'fontset-2'

To cosmetically remove these warinings, install the Old unifont Medium font.

Accessing the database and rendering images is often a slow process (mainly depending on the amount of data to be managed, but also on the server performance and on the network), so give many seconds to Kosmtik to output or refresh the map.

Edit the stylesheets

  • Use your own text editor, e.g., vi
  • Change the *.mss files
  • Kosmtik automatically updates rendering upon file change
  • View the changes in Kosmtik


  1. pnorman comment on hinted fonts 

  2. Is lowercase “unifont” needed? 

  3. Import error: could not extend file 

  4. Information taken from switch2osm

  5. Most reliable way to import large dataset with osm2psql 

  6. Information from Paul Norman’s Blog

  7. .travis.yml applies the custom indexes via psql -1Xq -v ON_ERROR_STOP=1 -d gis -f indexes.sql. Notice that indexes.sql shall be kept up to date with and this is also checked by .travis.yml. 

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