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Vector tiles rendered in ASCII

Jul 2014

Blocky mosaic of ASCII characters tracing a winding river from above

Vector tiles have many advantages over image tiles. They can be restyled, rotated, scaled and combined with other layers. But they are also harder to debug because they are stored in a compact binary format.

With image tiles, you can just open the tiles in any standard image viewer. It’s very easy to peek behind the curtains of a web map and see how tiling works.

So I’ve made an ultra lo-fi renderer for vector tiles, just to confirm that there is actually map data contained in those opaque binary blobs.

Here’s the code.