Supported datasets

Geopaparazzi’s mapview supports several map-types: vector or raster, editable or static. Also, maps can be pulled live from an Internet server, or be generated locally from a map data file for offline operation. You can switch between these modes in settings.

There are two types of maps in Geopaparazzi:

  • basemaps: the background map in the map view
  • overlay maps: vector maps that can be shown on top of the basemaps

If you add local/offline maps, the map data files need to be placed in the configured maps folder, which is a folder called maps in the root of the sdcard by default. You can change this path in settings.

The following sections will detail various map source types. In case you want to prepare tailored map datasets as map sources in one of below map formats, please refer to the data preparation section.


Basemaps can be of 4 different types:

  • mapurls
  • mbtiles
  • mapsforge maps
  • rasterlite2

Mapurls: Custom tiles based maps

Mapurl files are simple text files containing definitions of tile sources, either local or remote. A mapurl file must have the file extention/suffix .mapurl to be recognised by Geopaparazzi.

Remote Tile sources

By default, Geopaparazzi is configured to load map mapnik rendered tiles live from the Internet, from OpenStreetMap’s tile server. Compare the contents of the included mapnik.mapurl file for how this is done. You can exchange the OSM tile server with any other tile server as long as it adheres to the Mapurl URL conventions. The basics are:

center=11.42 46.8
description=Mapnik - Openstreetmap Slippy Map Tileserver - Data, imagery and map information provided by MapQuest, OpenStreetMap and contributors, ODbL.

The mandatory information is:

  • the url of the tile server, having:

    • ZZZ instead of the zoom level
    • XXX instead of the tile column number
    • YYY instead of the tile row number

    This information can be tested also in a browser has ZZZ=9, XXX=271 and YYY=182

  • the minimum zoom level that is supported

  • the maximum zoom level that is supported

  • the center of the tile source

  • the type fo tile server. Currently both standard TMS and google based numbering of the tiles is supported by the line:

    • type=tms
    • type=google
  • the backup mbtiles path. This one is used to save downloaded tiles in the local mbtiles database

Also WMS works as remote source, as long as it can be accessed through an EPSG:4326 projection.

An example for the url part is:


Important here are:

  • SRS=EPSG:4326

Geopaparazzi will cache/store downloaded Mapurl tiles in a local MBTiles SQLite file, so pre-fetched tiles will remain viewable when Geopaparazzi is operated disconnected from a remote Mapurl source (in offline operation).

Local Tile sources

Just like your mapurl configuration may reference an online/remote tile sources, your mapurl setting may reference a local tile source for offline use. This way it’s possible to load on any smarthphone complex maps as for example the following map that has a technical basemap with shapefiles overlayed in transparency

To be able to load such maps, one needs to prepare the tiles properly. This can be done via in several ways as explained in the data preparation section.

The tile folder have then to be loaded in the maps folder together with the description of the tile source:

center=11.40553 46.39478

Nothing changes against the description for the remote source apart of the url. The url in this case represents the relative path of the tiles folder starting from the “maps” folder.

A note of warning: Filesystems are know to have problems in handling large amounts of very small files. This the exact case of local tile sources. If the dataset is large, it gets very hard to move the data from and to the device. Therefore this method, even if still supported, is flagged as deprecated. The MBTiles datasource, explained in the next section, should be used instead.


MBTiles is a file format for storing map tiles in a single file. It is, technically, a SQLite database. See the openstreetmap wiki for more information.

Mapsforge maps

The mapsforge project provides free and open software for the rendering of maps based on OpenStreetMap. It developed an efficient binary format for storage of OSM map data (usually with file extension .map), and is offering country specific .map files for download. Geopaparazzi is able to render map tiles locally from .map files and will cache rendered tiles in a local MBTiles store.

Apart from Mapsforge itself, openandmaps is also offering .map files but with a different data bias and different render theme.


These are the standard maps generated, maintained and distributed by the mapsforge team and downloadable from their server.

In their default style they kind of look like:



Openandromaps generates maps following the opencycle theme, with isolines and more hiking related stuff. The map files are larger but worth every byte. Their download area is here.

With the Oruxmaps theme that is available from the download area, the maps look like:


Apply a render theme

When rendereing mapforge tiles locally, Geopaparazzi applies render themes if they are found on the disk. In order to be found, the render theme xml file needs to have the same name as the map file. Ex, the above cycle map example has a:

and a:


render theme file in the same folder as the map file itself.


RasterLite2 is a raster format implemented in the spatialite database.

At the time of writing it is released as development version and supported in Geopaparazzi for testing.

Overlay maps

The only datasets that can be overlayed on top of basemaps are vector maps coming from a spatialite database.