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Basemaps Anywhere on Earth, Without Connectivity: Introducing Boundless Offline Tile Server

It was my third day of deployment, and I was transiting to my new FOB. My advance troops needed more maps for the territory they were about to enter. The map cache on their mobile devices didn’t cover enough area. I fired up my ruggedized laptop, set up a sync, and served up new map coverages to their mobile apps.

Much of the technology we rely on every day – for work, entertainment, and countless other tasks – is dependent on internet connectivity. However, many of the most crucial operations happening around the world take place in areas of little or no connectivity. Sometimes due to remote location, and sometimes to security considerations, this lack of connectivity doesn’t have to restrict access to critical technology.

Geospatial professionals can find themselves in a situation where up-to-date basemaps are needed, but there is either limited infrastructure or no network connectivity. Whether supporting the military, defense of the homeland, emergency response, or asset management, the ability to quickly access high quality, detailed global basemaps while offline can be a necessary requirement.

Enter Boundless Offline Tile Server, a lightweight, performant, self-contained map tile server. Built with open-source components, and written in Golang, it is purpose-built to rapidly serve vector tiles from a local collection – without Internet access, any databases, or runtimes. Boundless Offline Tile Server can run natively on Linux, MacOS, and Windows.

We moved into the flood zone on day one and set up operations alongside others in a small ops tent. It was my job to coordinate delivery of a common, detailed set of street maps across several responding agencies. Conditions pre-empted relying on an Internet connection, so we set-up a local network and relied on a portable map server for rapid, on-demand provisioning of maps over areas of interest.

Leadership in Open GIS

Boundless has always been committed to delivering innovation in the open geospatial community, and continues to build on that commitment with this standards-based offering.
Boundless Offline Tile Server uses open data to create and deliver vector tiles in a choice of formats: Mapbox Tile or OGC-compliant Geopackage. Boundless Offline Tile Server is truly a “server in a box” – but the box is open for maximum customization and flexibility.

Precisely Architected

Boundless Offline Tile Server is lightweight and portable. It is a self-contained, single binary executable with no run-time dependencies, and can be delivered as a thumb drive-sized package. And while it is small, it is incredibly performant, delivering web-like map server capability offline. Boundless Offline Tile Server is optimized for speed using pre-processed vector tiles, which are predictively pushed to the client, with aggressive caching of the commonly used global zoom levels.

Basemaps On Demand

Boundless Offline Tile Server includes current Open Street Maps (OSM) street maps with worldwide coverage up to zoom level 14. This means you get a world map at roughly 1:500M scale, and every vector tile all the way down to the detail of buildings and small streets – roughly 1:10,000 scale for the entire globe. The map data can be refreshed monthly. It is easily accessed by client applications using common formats so even mobile clients like Boundless Anywhere™ can consume the map content.

The end result is a lightweight, fast and portable basemap, whenever and wherever you need it.

Boundless Offline Tile Server is licensed via an annual subscription, which includes use of the software, the map tiles, and technical support.

Boundless Offline Tile Server is currently available for a free 14-day trial. To learn more, download the product information brochure, or reach out to speak with us.

John Lee

Product Manager

John is the product manager for Boundless Server. With over 35 years experience in geospatial technologies around the globe, John is passionate about helping the world in all things positional. John has degrees in biology from McGill and Colorado State University. When he’s not mapping you can find him bicycling or skiing or day dreaming of being a mule deer in Colorado.

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