Tilehut.js: A modest and now even cozier home for your web map tiles

TLDR

  • tilehut.js has been updated! Along with raster tiles, now you can host your own vector tiles! (Yes, we can hardly contain ourselves)

We ❤️ map tiles and so might you!

Take all the best things about the interactivity of the web and couple it with the exploratory nature of maps, and you get the modern web map tile. Tiles are one of the fundamental building blocks of modern web maps, providing a clever solution to zoom, pan, click, and interact with the infinity of discoverable things living in geospace. We see and use these “slippy web maps" everywhere, whether we’re reading the news or looking up directions in the places we live. People have even used map tiles for non-geographic explorations like this xkcd post.

http://www.openwhatevermap.org/

Underlying map tiles is a tasty combination of awesome technologies like Mike Migurski’s Tilestache and the brilliant tools being built by Mapbox and others in the open source geocommunity (e.g. FOSS4G). Since the launch of tools like Mapnik and Tilemill more than 7 years ago and together with web mapping libraries like OpenLayers and leaflet.js, map tiles have become the standard tool for presenting and communicating geospatial data (and other interactive info) on the web. The possibilities become ever more exciting with the development of vector tiles and GPU based rendering on the web with WebGL (see MapboxGL.js — it is awesome).

What’s Tilehut.js?

Drawing from these inspiring developments in the web mapping world, we bring you the latest updates to tilehut.js, a modest and now even cozier home for your map tiles. When we first launched tilehut.js in the fall of 2014, we wanted to provide a simple and lightweight solution for serving map tiles for your average web mapping project* and in particular using node.js, a popular server-side javascript framework/ecosystem/community. The result was indeed a humble tile server that wrapped Mapbox’s node-mbtiles in an even simpler way. For us, tilehut.js has been a handy helper for our various geo-explorations and now it is up-to-date with the latest support for Mapbox vector tiles (Oh the possibilities!).

If you’d like to take tilehut.js for a spin, surf on over to our Github repository. There you will find all the documentation you will need to get from A (raw data) to B (your own interactive web map).

Benedikt, Stefan, Stephan, and I are thrilled to bring you these updates to tilehut.js and even more excited to see what 🌍 projects you brew up! Happy mapping!

Acknowledgments

- Tilehut.js is just a wrapper of node-mbtiles by Mapbox.
- Tilehut.js was inspired by Tilestache of Mike Migurski.
- Tilehut.js was kicked off by Tobin Bradley’s great tutorial on writing your own mbtiles-server.

*NOTE: Tilehut.js is a humble tile server and is certainly not a replacement for all excellent support that comes with Mapbox hosting for those more demanding or bigger projects.