Mapnik cookie style sheet and tutorial

In the spirit of previous OpenStreetMap tutorials, here are the instructions to make your own awesome OSM tiled map “cake”.

  1. Select your area of interest, scale and tile dimensions
  2. Bake sugar cookie tile bases. Choose your projection carefully. We used Culinary Mercator
  3. Prepare and apply icing
  4. Enjoy

Sugar Cookies

(from )

* 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
* 2 cups white sugar
* 4 extra large eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 5 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt

Cream together butter and sugar, beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients. Chill in refrigerator for one hour.

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack on middle shelf.

Place waxed paper on cutting board. Roll out to between 3/16″ and 1/4″ on waxed paper. Cut to tile dimensions with pizza cutting wheel with 1/2″ gaps between ’tiles’. Remove dough from 1/2″ gaps and reserve for next batch (or for zoom widget). Place silpad on cookies and cookie sheet atop silpad, upside down. Flip cutting board, cookies and all onto cookie sheet. Remove cutting board and waxed paper.

Bake cookies until corners start to brown, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on cooling rack.

Baking square cookies is difficult. This method allows the cookies to grow together in the oven, and still fracture cleanly when placed on the cooling rack. Thinner cookies will brown earlier, grow less, and stay non-square. Geographically imperfect tiles may still be delicious. Please test carefully.

Complete cooking and cooling the map tile bases then prepare the icing.


(modified from

* 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
* 4 teaspoons milk
* 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
* 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
* assorted food coloring

Stir together milk and confectioners sugar. Beat in corn syrup and vanilla until smooth. Use one complete icing recipe per colour. Add food colouring drop by drop so that you can repeat, and colour-match if required. The working time for this icing is about 20 minutes. Resist the temptation to thin the icing for longer working time, that results in icing that migrates unexpectedly.

Mapnik 3

Load cookies and icing into Mapnik OSM_cake module.

sudo renderd cookies

Alternate method if Mapnik 3 is unavailable

Apply icing to cookies by paintbrush, or by piping bag. Once set the icing dries hard and the cookies can be safely stacked for delivery or storage. Stack them in order so that they can be unstacked into your map without becoming a puzzle. These map tiles might rotate causing difficulty in reassembly.

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