#openstreetmap #map #drawing

bin+lib mapvas

A map viewer with drawing functionality

15 releases

new 0.1.14 Jul 13, 2024
0.1.13 Mar 20, 2024
0.1.3 Nov 28, 2023
0.1.2 Sep 15, 2023
0.1.1 Aug 17, 2023

#55 in Geospatial

Download history 100/week @ 2024-04-01 9/week @ 2024-07-01 125/week @ 2024-07-08

134 downloads per month




A map canvas showing OSM tiles with drawing functionality. The repo contains two binaries,

  • mapvas: the map window
  • mapcat: an equivalent to cat to draw polygons on the map.


Make sure you have the nighly Rust toolchain installed.


  • Clone this repository.
  • cd mapvas ; cargo install --path .

Via cargo from crates.io:

  • cargo install mapvas



Start mapvas and a map window will appear. mapvas

Functionality Description
zoom Use the mouse wheel or +/-
focus to drawn elements f centers the drawn elements
moving Left mouse and dragging or arrow keys
paste pressing v will paste the clipboard into the grep parser
information about element right click near an element with label will show the label. L will use the current mouse position for poor mac users.


Mapcat currently reads only input from stdin and reads it line by line and pipes and uses it using various parser. It then shows the parsed result on a single instance of mapvas, which it spawns if none is running.

Grep (default)

This parser greps for coordinates latitude and longitude as float in a line. In addition it supports colors and filling of polygons.

The input can come from a pipe or read via a file.

    mapcat <file_with_coordinates>


  • draws a point at Berlin Alexanderplatz:
    echo "52.521853, 13.413015" | mapcat
  • draws a line between Berlin and Cologne and a red line between Cologne and Amsterdam:
    echo "50.942878, 6.957936 52.521853, 13.413015 green\n 50.942878, 6.957936 52.373520, 4.899766 red" | mapcat
  • draws a yellow polyline Cologne-Berlin-Amsterdam:
    echo "50.942878, 6.957936 random garbage words 52.521853, 13.413015 yellow spaces after the coordinate-comma is not important: 52.373520,4.899766" | mapcat
  • draws a blue transparently filled polygon Cologne-Berlin-Amsterdam note that a fill ("transparent" or "solid"):
    echo "50.942878, 6.957936 52.521853, 13.413015 52.373520,4.899766 blue transparent" | mapcat

Filling a polyline causes it to be drawn as closed polygon.

  • --invert-coordinates (-i) reverses the order of lat/lon:
    echo "13.413015, 52.521853" | mapcat -i
  • clears all elements from the map.
echo "clear" | mapcat

The -r parameter clears the map before drawing new elements.

echo "52.5,12.5" | mapcat -r
  • --label-pattern (-l) defines a label pattern. A near label is shown when right click on the map happens. The label is copied (when shown) via the c key. The label requires exactly one capture group to be in the pattern. Default is "(.*)" which captures everything.
echo "52.4,12.4" | mapcat -l "(.*)"
  • --focus (-f) zooms and pans to show all elements on the map.

Random (for performance testing)

Draws a random polyline of a given length. The following command draws a random walk consisting of 20000 polylines of a random length between 1 and 10.

    echo "20000" | mapcat -p random


Draws routes or ranges from the TomTom routing api.

curl 'https://api.tomtom.com/routing/1...' | mapcat -p ttjson -c green

Advanced usage

Offline usage

To cache tile images for future runs set the environment variable TILECACHE to an existing directory.

    mkdir ~/.tilecache
    export TILECACHE=~/.tilecache

Different map tile url

To use tiles from a different provider than [openstreetmap] you can set a templated url. The url must contain {zoom}, {x}, and {y}. The tile provider should return tiles in the pseudo/spherical-mercator projection in a size of 512x512 pixel. Examples:

    export MAPVAS_TILE_URL='https://tile.openstreetmap.org/{zoom}/{x}/{y}.png'
    export MAPVAS_TILE_URL='https://api.tomtom.com/map/1/tile/basic/main/{zoom}/{x}/{y}.png?tileSize=512&key=***'
    export MAPVAS_TILE_URL='https://maps.hereapi.com/v3/background/mc/{zoom}/{x}/{y}/png8?size=512&apiKey=***'


~1M SLoC