MapIt Global contains boundaries extracted from OpenStreetMap. In order to create your own instance of MapIt Global you will need an appreciable amount of free disk space - 100GB would be safe. You should also bear in mind that this is non-trivial to set up yourself - if you’re thinking of doing so, then you should strongly consider just using our live service.

There are three steps to creating an instance of MapIt Global:

  1. Setting up your own Overpass API server, for efficient extraction of data from OpenStreetMap.

  2. Generating a KML file for each closed boundary in OpenStreetMap

  3. Importing the KML files into an instance of MapIt

If you set up the Overpass API to import daily diffs, then you only need to do that step once, whereas the latter two would need to be run whenever you want to create a new generation of data.

1 - Setting up your own Overpass API server

For this step, you should follow instructions for setting up the Overpass API server on the OpenStreetMap wiki, though note the disc space saving below before populating the database. If you don’t want to update the database with daily diffs, then you can stop after the “Static Usage” section. If you do want to do daily updates, you should also complete the “Applying minutely (or hourly, or daily) diffs” section. You don’t need to set up the web service.

In order to save on disc space, we recommend that you use osmconvert and osmfilter to filter out the required boundaries from the planet file before importing them into Overpass. So after downloading a planet-latest.osm.bz2 file, you might want to run something like the following:

bzcat planet-latest.osm.bz2 | osmconvert - --drop-author --out-o5m > planet.o5m
osmfilter planet.o5m --drop-author --keep='boundary=administrative boundary=political' | bzip2 > planet-boundaries.osm.bz2

As of May 2014, the full planet file was 36G, as was the o5m file; the filtered file was 757M. The Overpass database was then 15G.

2 - Generating KML files

Firstly, check that osm3s_query is in your PATH. Then set the LOCAL_OVERPASS configuration setting in conf/general.yml to True, and the OVERPASS_DB_DIRECTORY to the location of your Overpass database directory, e.g. "/home/overpass/db/".

To generate the KML files, run the following script (possibly in a GNU screen session, since this will take many hours):


You might need to run it with nice and ionice to be nice to others on your server. The command will generate KML files in the data/cache-with-political/ subdirectory of your MapIt clone. In May 2014, the KML output was 4.5G.

3 - Import the KML files into MapIt

This step assumes that you have already set up an instance of MapIt, as described in the main installation instructions.

First, create some required types in MapIt by loading the global fixture:

./ loaddata global

You should then create a new generation into which we can import the data:

./ mapit_generation_create \
    --commit --desc "Initial import of MapIt Global data"

Then you can actually import the data with the following command. (Again, this will take many hours to complete, so running it in GNU screen would be a good move.)

./ mapit_global_import \
    --verbosity 2 --commit ../data/cache-with-political/

Once that’s completed successfully, you need to activate the generation with:

./ mapit_generation_activate --commit

If you’re interested in more about how the boundaries are extracted from OpenStreetMap, you may want to read these two blog posts: