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Installing Kosmtik and OpenStreetMap-Carto on Ubuntu

Installing Kosmtik and OpenStreetMap-Carto on Ubuntu


The suggested tool to support the autohoring of OpenStreetMap stylesheets developed in CartoCSS is Kosmtik, a software to produce, browse and verify raster tile maps based on pre-processors like CartoCSS and rendered through Mapnik.

Kosmtik is a node module needing 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.

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 16.04.1 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 require changes and are not tested.

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

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 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_US locale:

export LANGUAGE=en_US.UTF-8
export LANG=en_US.UTF-8
export LC_ALL=en_US.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_US en_US.UTF-8
sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales

The following subfolders will be created:

  • kosmtik
  • openstreetmap-carto

Install Git

Git should be already installed on Ubuntu 16.04.

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

Install Node.js

To verify whether Node.js is already installed:

nodejs --version

nodejs-legacy might be needed for Kosmtik (at least required with Ubuntu 16.04 at the time of writing).

sudo apt-get install -y nodejs-legacy npm

The following error when running Kosmtik is related to compatibility issues with nodejs and should be fixed by installing nodejs-legacy.

npm ERR! Failed at the mapnik@3.5.13 install script 'node-pre-gyp install --fallback-to-build'.
npm ERR! Make sure you have the latest version of node.js and npm installed.`

Installing the latest version of nodejs is not suggested at the moment. If you really want to do it:

sudo apt-get install -y nodejs npm # this package might not support Kosmtik, see notes in this paragraph

Read nodejs for further information.

Install Kosmtik

test -d ~/src || mkdir  ~/src ; cd ~/src
git clone
cd ~/src/kosmtik
npm install

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.

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

Notice 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):

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

Installation of Noto Emoji Regular:

cd ~/src
git clone
sudo cp noto-emoji/fonts/NotoColorEmoji.ttf noto-emoji/fonts/NotoEmoji-Regular.ttf /usr/share/fonts/truetype/noto
sudo fc-cache -fv
sudo apt install fontconfig
fc-list | grep Emoji
cd openstreetmap-carto

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.

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"
        "where": "Layer",
        "if": {
            "id": "hillshade"
        "then": {
            "Datasource.file": "/home/ybon/Code/maps/hdm/DEM/data/hillshade.vrt"

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

        "then": [9.111, 45.111, 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 9.5 and PostGIS 2.2:

Also older 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 postgis pgadmin3 postgresql-contrib

Note: used PostgeSQL port is 5432 (default).

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

Set the password for the postgres user

sudo -u postgres psql postgres
\password postgres

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

sudo su -
sudo -i -u postgres
psql 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 set up PostGIS on the PostgreSQL database.

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" # alternative command: createdb -E UTF8 -O postgres gis
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"

The character encoding scheme to be used in the database is UTF8.

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, for which you should also need:

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

Install it and repeat the create extension commands.

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):

export PGPASSWORD=postgres_007%
HOSTNAME=localhost # set it to the actual ip address or host name
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 "CREATE DATABASE gis TABLESPACE gists"
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"

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.

sudo su -
sudo -i -u postgres
createuser 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

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.

Adjusting maintenance_work_mem and work_mem are probably enough on a development or testing machine.1: both parameters should be increased for faster data loading and faster queries while rendering respectively.

Conservative settings for a 2GB VM are work_mem=16MB and maintenance_work_mem=128MB. On a machine with enough memory you could set them as high as work_mem=128MB 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:

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

Suggested settings:

shared_buffers = 128MB
min_wal_size = 1GB
max_wal_size = 2GB
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 following:

shared_buffers = 2GB
work_mem = 128MB
maintenance_work_mem = 1GB
wal_level = minimal
synchronous_commit = off
min_wal_size = 1GB
max_wal_size = 2GB
checkpoint_timeout = 15min
checkpoint_completion_target = 0.9
default_statistics_target = 1000
autovacuum = off
fsync = off

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.2

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.

To install osm2pgsql:

sudo apt-get install -y osm2pgsql

Go to Get an OpenStreetMap data extract.

Alternative installation procedure

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

# 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
cd /tmp
git clone git:// 

# Prepare for compiling
cd osm2pgsql
mkdir build && cd build
cmake ..

# Compile

# Install
sudo make install

# Clean-out temporary files
cd ../..
rm -rf osm2pgsql

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 Mapzen or 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]

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

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.

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 the following error:

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

then you need to add the hstore flag to osm2pgsql:

osm2pgsql -s -C 300 -c -G --hstore --style --tag-transform-script openstreetmap-carto.lua -d gis -H $HOSTNAME -U postgres [.osm or .pbf file]

Create indexes

Add the indexes indicated by openstreetmap-carto:

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

Read custom indexes for further information.

Start Kosmtik

Run Kosmtik from the openstreetmap-carto directory, supposing that the Kosmtik installation is in ../kosmtik.

cd ~/src/openstreetmap-carto

node ../kosmtik/index.js serve project.mml --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 'Arundina Italic' in FontSet 'fontset-0'
Mapnik LOG> ...: warning: unable to find face-name 'Arundina Regular' in FontSet 'fontset-0'
Mapnik LOG> ...: warning: unable to find face-name 'unifont Medium' in FontSet 'fontset-0'
Mapnik LOG> ...: warning: unable to find face-name 'Arundina Regular' in FontSet 'fontset-1'
Mapnik LOG> ...: warning: unable to find face-name 'unifont Medium' in FontSet 'fontset-1'
Mapnik LOG> ...: warning: unable to find face-name 'Arundina Bold' in FontSet 'fontset-2'
Mapnik LOG> ...: warning: unable to find face-name 'Arundina Regular' in FontSet 'fontset-2'
Mapnik LOG> ...: warning: unable to find face-name 'unifont Medium' in FontSet 'fontset-2'

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


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