I developed an application that on one of its screens has a map.

In order to display the results, I'm using Leaflet where I load into it the tiles from OpenStreetMap (OSM).

In their policy it says:


  • Heavy use (e.g. distributing an app that uses tiles from openstreetmap.org) is forbidden without prior permission from the Operations Working Group. See below for alternatives.

  • Clearly display license attribution.

  • Do not actively or passively encourage copyright infringement.

  • Calls to /cgi-bin/export may only be triggered by direct end-user action. (For example: “click here to export”.) The export call is an expensive (CPU+RAM) function to run and will frequently reject when server is under high load.

  • Recommended: Do not hardcode any URL at tile.openstreetmap.org as doing so will limit your ability to react quickly if the service is disrupted or blocked.

  • Recommended: add a link to https://www.openstreetmap.org/fixthemap to allow your users to report and fix problems in our data.

Is there any way to know what heavy use is?

From my understanding, each user will use this map for something like 1 time in a week for about 2min each time. Is it not intended to be a navigation application, just to show the user a basic current location.

  • Do you intend to distribute this app?
    – MadHatter
    Jan 1, 2021 at 13:13
  • I do, but at first, it will barely have users and at the end, I don't know how many users but I know to assume their usage as I wrote.
    – Ben
    Jan 1, 2021 at 13:27

1 Answer 1


The text pretty clearly says to me that you are not allowed to do this. It doesn't say that distributing an app that makes heavy usage of tiles is forbidden, it says that heavy usage of the server is forbidden, and the explicit example of such usage it gives is "distributing an app that uses tiles from openstreetmap.org", which is exactly what you are proposing to do.

The wiki gives other tile servers that you might embed in your app, but you'd need to check their usage policies, and possibly come to a commercial deal. Alternatively, you can set up your own tile server(s).

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