OGF:Setting up your own server

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Setting up a working OSM server is rather complicated, as there are multiple software components involved. It's all documented on the Openstreetmap Wiki site; for a starting point see here:

A first step would be to install the "rails port":

After this, you have the OSM web interface and a working API-Database. You can then edit map data with any OSM editor. What you cannot do at this point, is to actually render your map. So the next step is to set up the rendering toolchain. You can find a fairly good overview of the necessary steps here:

If you are setting up a server on a production basis, you will also need to install Phusion Passenger: the instructions for installing Passenger can be found here (official site). For an explainer, see here.

Operating system

OpenStreetMap servers currently use Ubuntu Desktop on the Long Term Service (LTS) branch. The current version is 18.04 (Bionic Beaver), which introduces the option to avoid all the “consumer” applications (like LibreOffice and Amazon) by running a minimal install of Ubuntu on the target server: this option is useful if you are mainly mapping from another computer, and the server is mostly unattended or accessed via SFTP/SSH.


  • User ika-chan! (of OpenStreetMap fame) is working on developing instructions for setting up a stand-alone server for alternate history and Pokémon GO mapping, with all (or nearly all) the capabilities of OpenStreetMap within a single instance.
    On 3 May 2018, the user joined OpenGeofiction to seek collaboration and help with the development of server setup instructions. Despite poor health, ika-chan! has had an ambition for some time to set up a map server for her own country, and it only makes sense to share their methods of setting up a server for mapping private worlds, in the spirit of OpenStreetMap and OpenGeofiction.
  • User Luciano (a sometimes-active administrator at OGF) built a rudimentary "OGF Stack" (replica of the software running the OGF site) and blogged some of the more challenging steps. See relevant blog entry here.