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1.1.0 • Public • Published


TileStream is a high-performance map tile server powered by MBTiles files.

It's like TileCache, TileStache, and other map servers in that it serves normal image files that can be used in OpenLayers, Google Maps, Modest Maps, and other Javascript APIs without much trouble - and with lots of enhancements when you use Wax.

It's not like those tile servers in that it doesn't yet generate maps, it only serves maps that are generated with TileMill. This means that it's reliably fast but not designed to serve live data.

MapBox Hosting uses the same internals as TileStream but adds many features and is a hosted service rather than an installable application.


  • MBTiles-based tile server
  • Minimal gallery view and map viewer for tiles
  • Support for MBTiles interaction using Wax


  • TileStream client
    • Tested: Chrome 6+, Firefox 3+, IE8+
    • May work: Opera 11
  • TileStream server
    • Tested: Mac OS X 10.6, Ubuntu 10.04, Ubuntu 11.04
    • Tested: node 0.8.x
    • At least 613MB memory
    • May work: Older versions, other POSIX-compliant systems

Installation: Mac OS X 10.6

Install Xcode for Mac OS X.

Install node. If you are using HomeBrew, use these steps:

brew install node       # Installs the latest node: should be v0.8.x
brew versions node      # Find all the different versions of node available
brew switch node 0.8.15  # set current node version

Install TileStream:

git clone
cd tilestream
npm install

Start TileStream:

./index.js (if running from the source copy)

Get options:

./index.js start --help

TileStream should now be accessible from a browser at http://localhost:8888.

Installation: Ubuntu 10.04

Install build requirements:

sudo apt-get install curl build-essential libssl-dev libsqlite3-0 libsqlite3-dev git-core

Install node:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:chris-lea/node.js
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nodejs nodejs-dev npm

Install TileStream:

git clone
cd tilestream
npm install

Start TileStream:

./index.js (if running from the source copy)

Get options:

./index.js start --help

Custom configuration

If you intend to run TileStream as a server on a hostname or an IP rather than as localhost, specify that hostname when you run TileStream:

tilestream --host
tilestream --host

In these examples, you would only be able to access tilestream from or, respectively, due to security restrictions.


MBTiles files should be placed in the ~/Documents/MapBox/tiles directory, which is created at first run. Each tileset can be previewed at http://localhost:8888/map/[filename] where [filename] is the name of the tileset file without the .mbtiles extension.

Tileset filenames:

  • May contain letters (lower or upper case), numbers, underscores or dashes.

  • May not contain periods, spaces, non ASCII characters or other punctuation.

      World Light.mbtiles

To see the options available for use with TileStream, run

./index.js start --help


TileStream tests use Expresso.

cd tilestream
npm install expresso
npm test


See the configuration_examples directory for configuration examples with nginx and upstart.


If you run into problems during install, such as unfound dependent versions, first try deleting the node_modules/ folder and re-run node install. It seems that some errors leave the installation in an unclean state (for example if you accidentally switched node versions during the install in the hopes of making things work!).

Build Failures

npm install may cause:

Waf: Leaving directory '/Users/sundar/Projects/tilestream/node_modules/sqlite3/build'
Build failed:
-> task failed (err #1):
{task: cxx -> statement_1.o}
-> task failed (err #1):
{task: cxx -> database_1.o}
-> task failed (err #1):
{task: cxx -> sqlite3_1.o}
npm ERR! sqlite3@2.1.1 preinstall: `node-waf clean || (exit 0); node-waf configure build`
npm ERR! `sh "-c" "node-waf clean || (exit 0); node-waf configure build"` failed with 1
npm ERR!
npm ERR! Failed at the sqlite3@2.1.1 preinstall script.

Manually installing sqlite3 via npm install sqlite3 resolved this issue. Then re-run npm install in the tilestream folder:

npm install sqlite3
npm install

If you STILL get errors when launching index.js, there may be more modules to install manually. This is the list that worked for me:

npm install sqlite3
npm install mbtiles
npm install jsdom
npm install uglify-js
npm install connect
npm install qs
npm install mime

But again, all this headache may be solved by just deleting your node_modules/ folder and re-running node install.





npm i tilestream

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