Choosing a tileset for your map

This article is for Citizen Space Geospatial. Please speak to your customer success manager if you are interested in learning more about it.

There are several different tilesets available for maps on Citizen Space Geospatial. Each tileset comes with its own combination of style (how the map looks), map data (what is shown on the map) and use case (when to use the map).

Ideally, basemaps should be as desaturated (i.e. using minimal strong colours) as possible to allow any additional data overlays to stand out more.

Ultimately, which tileset you choose will depend on:

  • what you are trying to communicate;
  • what additional data layers you are adding to the map, and;
  • what action you'd like people to take.

It's also worth bearing in mind that not all maps have consistent coverage. For example, OpenStreetMap is an open source project, so the detail of the map in a specific place depends on how active the local community is.

Available tilesets:

OpenStreetMap tilesets

We currently support the following OpenStreetMap tilesets:

OpenStreetMap Carto

This is the default map used by OpenStreetMap. It has the most detail of our OpenStreetMap selection, featuring transport routes, colour coded land uses, business names and more.

It is useful if you are trying to show a very detailed representation of an area, as objects such as individual trees and street furniture are often marked on the map. However, if you want to communicate something simple or are adding multiple additional layers to the map, the multitude of existing colours and icons can quickly leave the map feeling too busy.

OpenStreetMap Carto map

OpenStreetMap Bright

The Bright version of OpenStreetMap provides a good base to build a more complex map with additional layers. It is simpler than the Carto map and has a reduced colour palette, with fewer land uses colour differentiated and one colour for all icons.

OpenStreetMap Bright map

 OpenStreetMap Bright Grey

A different version of the OSM Bright map, with the same level of detail but with muted colours and a white fill colour for the regular urban land use. 

 OpenStreetMap Bright Grey map

OpenStreetMap Bright Smooth

Another alternate version of the OSM Bright map, with the same level of detail but more muted colours.

OpenStreetMap Bright Smooth map

OpenStreetMap Liberty

Liberty is a fork of the OSM Bright map based on free data sources designed for everyone to use. It has the same level of detail as Bright but bolder colours, colour to differentiate between icon sets, a different font and simpler shading fills (for example there's no wave pattern on the water). 

OpenStreetMap Liberty map

OpenStreetMap Toner / Toner Grey

This is a monochrome style with very little detail beyond transport routes and shaded buildings. It could be used as an alternative high contrast option or as a very simple background to show lots of layer data.

OpenStreetMap Toner / Toner Grey map

Ordnance Survey tilesets

For customers in Great Britain who have an Ordnance Survey Account (see Linking your Ordnance Survey account to Citizen Space), we also support the following Ordnance Survey (OS) tilesets:

OS Road

This is a map designed with a focus on transport networks – specifically highlighting the Great British road network. There is a lot of detail, colour and contrast so it should only be used if there is no additional data to be layered over the top.

OS Road map

OS Outdoor

Designed for outdoor leisure use, this map borrows certain design elements from Ordnance Survey's traditional paper maps. This map style focuses on terrain and land cover, has a minimal colour palette and contains familiar symbology.

It is a good starting tileset if you want to add additional layers to your map.

OS Outdoor map

OS Light

This style has a subtle colour palette with low colour saturation and contrast.

It is designed specifically for data visualisation, so should be used on occasions where the added layers are the main elements that need to be communicated and the map is meant to just provide some context.

OS Light map

OS Leisure

This is a digital version of the paper Ordnance Survey leisure maps. It is high contrast and has a lot of detail, colours and iconography.

While this map may be useful for activities focusing on park and forest areas, it shouldn't be used if there are any additional data layers to be added and is probably too complex for most urban activities.

OS Leisure map

Remember: Always preview what your map looks like after you've added all your layers and set up any question. Make sure the map is clear, has an appropriate visual hierarchy and is simple for the end user.