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French IGN maps became opendata

Sunday 14 March
by Angstrom
in forum
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Hello Richard,

Since some of the very good IGN maps have changed license to Etalab 2.0 would it be eventually possible to choose the "Plan" background maps one day in CT?

Thank you.


Mon 15 Mar, 12:51

That’s interesting! On a cursory look, they might be challenging to self-host right now – the sheer amount of data there (including very detailed building footprints) would probably fill an server by itself. But there might be promising avenues for the future here, and I’ll keep an eye out for any third-party tilesets produced from the data.

Thu 8 Apr, 06:46

Hi Richard,

Yes the full Open Data volume is high, yet it is possible to access the Géoportail tile server and use it instead (under regular commercial terms).

The volume threshold above which you should pay is 2.000.000 transactions p.a. and 90.000 tiles per day.

Although I am an avid promoter of CT, I doubt (although I hope to be wrong) there are many patreons from France. Given the travel restrictions, few UK cyclist will cross over in the near future so I think it would take a while to criss that threshold. I know of a few sites which have been able to use this data freely for a good while, as long as they never let users set the IGN maps as the default, always turned on on demand.

Of course, techical data describing integration, and requesting the dev key is in French. I can help you if that's a problem, but I have a feeling you do speak French. On-line translators should work well enough too.

Given what you wrote in the last patreon letter, along announcing availability of OS maps for patreons, I have good hope you can implement the great quality map layers from French IGN soon. When you come back riding here, you'll undoubtedly appreciate it's quality and comfort when choosing your route.

Thu 8 Apr, 13:09

Ok – I’ve waded through the (on occasion confusing and inconsistent!) IGN documentation, and added an IGN layer. How’s that?

Thu 8 Apr, 14:35
How’s that?

Fast indeed!!

You've added the layer which is now Open Data. It is the bare bone map and already very useful.

The copyrighted layers are available through the Geoportail API. It is the one I was mentioning in my post, subject to threshold limits.

Here is a link to display the IGN Classic, which matches the topographic paper maps sold by IGN.

This style contains all the extra details that makes it very useful on the ground.

It is my undestanding that it is also possible to offer this layer (subject to thresholds and payment above it).

If I could choose, it' be great to have both :-)

But again, this is already useful, particularly in areas where OSM lacks details (I do realize that routing is based on OSM data regardless of base cartographic layers displayed).

Thu 8 Apr, 14:46

A valuable benefit of the IGN layer you've juste added is that at low zoom levels (high altitude), town, village and hamlet names are far more readable.

OSM is very bad at handling these names throughout the zoom levels and it causes

a) names to be almost non-existent at certain scales barring the biggest towns

b) names of smaller villages to beat names of the nearby bigger town at zoom levels where real estate becomes scarce.

IGN verctor routines are far superior (IMHO).

Thu 8 Apr, 15:12

The IGN website has rather buried the page where you can apply for a key (required for the copyrighted layers). I think I’ve located it so let’s see…

Fri 9 Apr, 12:44

They don’t make it easy!

I’ve signed up for both free and paid keys (via but it turns out that neither give access to the classic maps. I guess I’ll have to contact them and ask.

Tue 13 Apr, 06:17

Dear Richard,

All the Swiss official maps seem to be now in opendata:

It would be incredible to use your services on thoses worderfuls and precises maps

Thank you for your job and excellent site,