softwaretechnik-berlin / geojson-renderer

Command line tool that renders geojson to SVG and PNG

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geojson-renderer is a command-line tool that renders GeoJSON documents to SVG images, with map tiles in the background and the described geometries on top of the map.

For example, the following input:

  "type": "Feature",
  "geometry": {
    "type": "LineString",
    "coordinates": [
      [13.3907, 52.5074],
      [13.3902, 52.5076],
      [13.3891, 52.5076],
      [13.3871, 52.5077],
      [13.3855, 52.5073],
      [13.3841, 52.5095],
      [13.3838, 52.5109],
      [13.3827, 52.5136],
      [13.3813, 52.5156],
      [13.3796, 52.5165],
      [13.3785, 52.5163]              
  "properties": {
    "stroke": "green"

...would produce an SVG image that looks like:

Getting started

geojson-renderer is distributed with a jlauncher manifest, i.e. it can be run without manual download once jlauncher is installed. To install it, run:

gem install jlauncher

Then geojson-renderer can be installed like this:

jlauncher install berlin.softwaretechnik:geojson-renderer_2.13:0.2.1

Now geojson-renderer can be invoked like this to render an example to a 600x200 pixel viewport:

 geojson-renderer --dimensions 600x200 example.geojson

If the input file is valid, an SVG file will be written next to it with the relevant file extension.

To learn more about the options, a --help flag is available:

geojson-renderer --help
Usage: geojson-renderer [OPTION]... [input-file]
geojson-renderer renders a GeoJSON file to SVG and PNG images.


  -c, --cache-dir  <arg>           Enables caching and specifies the directory
                                   used to cache tiles.
  -d, --dimensions  <arg>          The dimensions of the target file in pixels
                                   as <WIDTH>x<HEIGHT> (e.g. 800x600).
  -e, --embed-images               Embed tile images instead of just referencing
                                   their URLs.
  -o, --output  <arg>              Image output file or - for standard output.
                                   Defaults to a file when the input is a file,
                                   or stdout when reading from stdin.
  -f, --output-format  <arg>       Defines the output image format. Choices:
                                   svg, png, html
  -t, --tile-url-template  <arg>   Template for tile URLs, placeholders are
                                   {tile} for tile coordinate, {a-c} and {1-4}
                                   for load balancing.
  -h, --help                       Show help message

 trailing arguments:
  input (required)   GeoJSON input file or - for standard input

How it Works

geojson-renderer creates an SVG image with the GeoJSON features and adds map tiles in the background, so that the features are displayed on top of the map view.

The visualisation of the features takes the properties object into account and supports the following properties inspired by the simplestyle spec:

  • description - rendered into an SVG <desc>-element for the feature.
  • fill - fill colour (#RRGGBB).
  • fillOpacity - fill opacity (0..1).
  • stroke - stroke colour (#RRGGBB).
  • strokeOpacity - stroke opacity (0..1).
  • strokeWidth - width in pixels.
  • title - rendered into an SVG <title> element for the feature.
  • id - id for the generated SVG element.
  • class - CSS class for the generated SVG element.

Depending on the output-format setting tiles get rendered as an SVG -tag that either contains HTTP URLs pointing to tile server, that is they are not downloaded until the SVG is shown, or they are embedded as data URLs

The tile source can be configured by providing a template URL where the following parameters are supported:

  • {tile}: the coordinate of the tile as {z}/{x}/{Y}.
  • {1-4}: will be replaced with a number between 1 and 4,
  • {a-c} will be replaced with one of the letters 'a', 'b' or 'c'.

There are several tile services based on OpenStreetMap, see list. Also, there are services based on proprietary maps, such as the HERE Map Tile API, which can be used like so (Note, you'll need to replace {app_id} and {app_code} with your HERE credentials):

--tile-url-template "https://{1-4}{tile}/256/png8?app_id={app_id}&app_code={app_code}&ppi=320"

The use of tile servers is not generally free, so please adhere to the relevant policies.


This project is a work in progress. Pull requests are welcome. A backlog with more tasks is maintained at the end of this document.

geojson-renderer is implemented in Scala and uses the mill build tool.


Mill can create an IntelliJ project:

mill mill.scalalib.GenIdea/idea


There is a comprehensive integration test suite that uses live data to validate the tool. The data is cached in the core/src/test/resources/cached-tiles/ directory. Therefore, deleting the directory's content would effectively clean the cache.

The tests can be run using:

mill core.test

Code Formatting


mill core.reformat


  • Add properties view for HTML and potentially SVG target format, so that user can click features and see properties from the geojson file. - [ ] Add the feature. Work in Progress - [ ] Clean-up the solution. - [ ] Add an option whether to include viewer.
  • Add feature list to HTML format, so that user can click in a textual list to highlight feature in map and see its properties.
  • Make caching work with different tile sources (potentially just use an http cache)
  • Fix SVG to PNG rendering to have proper high-res bitmaps.
  • Provide our own PNG rendering that uses batik only to render the GeoJSON graphics and do the overlay at the bitmap level
  • Add option to add scripting to SVG/HTML which adds inspection of properties etc.
  • Support "GeoJSON" files with multiple feature collections.
  • Add different dimension strategies. Currently, we determine a bounding box that contains the whole GeoJSON and maintains the aspect ratio of the given dimensions. Other strategies could be:
    • Use the given dimensions as the maximum and cut the box to the boundary of the GeoJSON content.
    • Specify width or height in pixels.
  • Add meaningful classes and IDs to SVG
  • Provide caching for bitmap data
  • Add an option(s) to write SVG embedded into html
  • Add an option to embed the bitmap data into the SVG rather than to link, so that we get a self-contained SVG file.
  • Add a flag that allow specifying the output file path.
  • Allow reading input GeoJSON from stdin.
  • Make tile source configurable for command line util in a way that is convenient and not violating terms of service of the tile providers.