[aprssig] aprs.fi

Jess Haas km6gvw at jesshaas.com
Fri Jan 13 06:40:38 EST 2023

Have you by any chance had a chat with the people over at Caltopo? They
stopped commercialy licensing their tile sets a while back but said
"CalTopo has always had a generous free use policy, and we intend to
continue allowing free noncommercial use of our tilesets going forward" (

They may even be interested in some sort of mutually beneficial APRS
integration. One of their biggest focuses is supporting Search And Rescue
and they even already have rudementary APRS tracking support. They even
point people to aprs.fi in their support files.

Might not work out but they already run tile servers so seems like a


On Fri, Jan 13, 2023, 11:36 AM Heikki Hannikainen <hessu at hes.iki.fi> wrote:

> On Thu, 12 Jan 2023, Stephen H Smith via aprssig wrote:
> >   On 1/12/2023 4:36 PM, MJ Inabnit wrote:
> >
> > This morning, I tried to open aprs.fi and received a very odd map,
> > somewhere on a planet.  I just tried again this afternoon.  If I put in
> > my call it has an error-denied..  Is this an issue with my ISP or is
> > everyone having issues trying to access aprs.fi?
> >---
> > Just tried it on my  own calls.  It appears that aprs.fi has switched
> from Google Maps to Open Street Map with it's awful generic art work.  This
> includes
> > all route markers appearing as a generic box that makes Interstate
> highway numbers look the same as state and local roads.
> >
> > Is Google imposing some new onerous terms-of-use forcing the switch?
> Right, aprs.fi is now using Leaflet mapping instead of Google Maps API,
> with OSM maps being downloaded from my own tile server. I might go back to
> Google Maps depending on how this goes, and depending on how things
> develop with Google.
> There are notifications about this change on the aprs.fi google group,
> and
> the Twitter and FB pages - there's more details in the threads and
> comments there, so if you have follow-up questions, they might already be
> answered down there. But I'm pasting the key bits below anyway.
> https://groups.google.com/g/aprsfi/c/hty6exrm58M
> https://twitter.com/aprsfi
> https://www.facebook.com/aprs.fi/posts/pfbid0Ux664YMrzhKp2Vja5BfWFS8J6iczwMSekmTNyNEsMu26NhZaxXV3WYfFYDUDLfHEl
> It’ll be drawing the maps a bit slowly in the beginning and some features
> are missing. PHG circles are not being drawn, for one. There's no
> satellite/aerial views, and no Street View. I can implement PHG a bit
> later, Street View cannot be done, some satellite imagery might be
> possible but it won't be as good as with Google Maps.
> I’ll have to do this to avoid a recurrence of a Noticeably Large credit
> card charge I got for Google Maps usage in December (think "one new nice
> HF rig every month" large, or "one VERY nice HF rig every two months").
> Google has had a very large and generous free quota for use of Google Maps
> on aprs.fi, but the implementation of that free tier has been a bit
> unstable and sometimes a bit too small after all, and I need a backup plan
> in case it goes away permanently later on.
> I'm still very grateful to Google, who let us use Google Maps for the past
> 16 years, mostly for free! It's been working very well! Thanks go to
> Google and the amateur radio operators working for Google who made this
> happen for such a long time.
> The backup plan consists of three main bits:
> * Leaflet (https://leafletjs.com/) is the JavaScript library responsible
> for implementing the slippy map. A great and popular piece of open source
> software from Ukraine. It runs in your web browser, loads map image tiles
> from a tile server, lets you pan & zoom around, and provides aprs.fi with
> the necessary bits to draw station symbols and lines and other overlays on
> top of the map.
> * OpenStreetMaps (OSM) is the map data set I download (some 73 GB of it
> currently) and push in a database running on my Tile Server. The data is
> free to download, but not free to serve to visitors, unless you're using
> it only a little and can use their public tile servers.
> * A Tile Server, which I now run, which produces square PNG images from
> the OSM vector map data, which your browser downloads and displays. I
> suspect it'll be a noticeable pain to keep it running smoothly.
> I have had Leaflet mostly implemented for some time, it just has not been
> enabled before now. There's probably a few bugs here and there which need
> to be ironed out - please let me know when you find one. Just reply to
> the relevant thread on the aprs.fi discussion group.
> I have a fairly nice 16-CPU 128 GB RAM dual-SSD-drive server running the
> map tile server, but it's still a bit laggy until it has cached enough
> tiles. And we'll see if it's fast enough to do reloads of the data in
> parallel while serving clients with an old copy of the OSM database.
> To make it run fast enough, buildings, amenities, lamp posts and similar
> less important items are not loaded in the map database. Country borders
> are accidentally missing, along with city/country names. A world without
> borders would be a nice ideal, but I'll add them back in the next rebuild
> after figuring out what other critical pieces are missing.
> It's not as good as what we had before, and it's a lot more work for me,
> but if it can literally save me XXXX € ($ YYYY) every month, it's alright.
> I sent an email to the OSMF Operations Working Group asking for permission
> to use their tile service on aprs.fi. It'd sure be less hassle if they'd
> allow it. We'll see.
>    - Hessu
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