Background Maps

Please note that background maps within the Waypoint Manager are not suitable for trip planning.


Adding and Editing Extra Background Map Sources

Additional map sources that conform to either the Web Map Tile Services (WMTS) or HTTP (Tiled Map Services) standards can be configured for use within the Waypoint Manager.



Web Map Tile Service, or WMTS, is a standard protocol for delivering map image tiles over the internet. To use map data from a WMTS, a WMTS Server must first be configured. The server is simply the address of a web page that contains information about the map layers that a particular provider is able to deliver, which is parsed to show a list of compatible map layers that can then be selected for use as background maps.


Note that the Waypoint Manager shows maps in the Web Mercator projection, and is only able to display WMTS maps that conform to this projection (EPSG codes 3857 or 900913). Map layers that do not use this projection will not be shown in the list of available map layers.



HTTP map sources are able to provide map tiles on demand from specific web addresses, which must include the zoom level and x and y coordinates of the required tile. To configure an HTTP map data source, the web address is required along with place holders for zoom and the x and y coordinates.


To add a new map source, click the Manage Map Sources button in the Options window, which will open the Manage Map Data Sources window:



1. List of existing user-defined map sources

Map sources can be selected in this list for deletion or editing using the Delete (2) or Edit (3) buttons below.


4. Add a WMTS Map Source

To add a new WMTS map source, click the Add WMTS Map Source button (4), which will open a new window (see below).


5. Add HTTP Map source

To add a new HTTP map source, click the Add HTTP Map Source button (5), which will open a new window (see below).


Adding a new WMTS Map Source

To add a new WMTS map source, a WMTS Server must first be configured. Once a WMTS server has been configured, it can be connected to, and a list of compatible map layers (if any) will be shown, from which a single map layer can be selected. Note that only map layers with the Web Mercator projection (EPSG 900913 or 3857) will be shown in the list.




1. Map Source Name

Enter a name here for the map source. This is the name that will be used when identifying the map source in the Global Settings window.


2. WMTS Source

After one of more WMTS servers have been configured (see below) a server can be selected from this drop down list. Once the required server has been selected, press the Connect button (4) to connect to the server and populate the map layers list, from where a map layer can be selected.


3. Add WMTS Server

Before a WMTS map layer can be selected, one or more WMTS servers must be added. To add a WMTS server click the Add Server button, which will open the window below:



A WMTS server is configured by supplying the internet web address (URL) of its Get Capabilities document, which should resolve to an XML web page that describes available map layers. Note that it should be possible to paste the WMTS server URL into an ordinary web browser and view the results. If you cannot connect to the Get Capabilities document in a web browser, the Waypoint Manager will also be unable to connect.


To add a new WMTS server, type or paste the Get Capabilities web address into the URL field and press the Connect button. If the connection is successful, the Add WMTS Server window will close, and a connection will be made to the new server. If the connection is unsuccessful for any reason, try pasting the Get Capabilities URL into a web browser to confirm that the address is valid.


An example Get Capabilities URL is: 





Adding a new HTTP Map source

HTTP map sources provide tiles on demand from a specific URL that includes the tile's zoom level and X and Y coordinates. When specifying an HTTP map source, a web address is provided with place-holders for the zoom, x and y coordinates.These place-holders are contained within curly braces ({}), and consist of characters or strings that represent the required attribute.


To add a new HTTP map source, click the Add HTTP button in the Manage Map Data Sources window (see above). The Add HTTP Map Source window will be shown:



1. The URL specifies the web address for the map tile source and must include place-holders for zoom {z}, x {x} and y {y} parameters or, alternatively, a single quad key {quadkey} parameter, which is used by some providers, including Bing Maps.

2. Optionally, a Server Nodes placeholder, {s}, can be included which will be substituted with one of a set of comma delimited server nodes to spread the load during map tile downloading.

3. Max Zoom level can be specified to limit the zoom level at which tiles are requested. Zoom levels for tiles are represented as integers, with 0 being the minimum zoom level. At zoom level 0, a single tile (typically 256 pixels square) covers the entire world, with a single pixel spanning approximately 156km. At zoom level 20, it takes approximately 550 billion tiles to cover the world, with a resolution of ~15cm per pixel (see this Open Street Map Wiki page for more information on zoom levels).

It may be useful in some instances to limit the maximum zoom level that is requested, as this can reduce internet bandwidth requirements.

Note that specifying maximum zoom levels above those which are available from the map source will have no effect.

4. Tiled map services can vary in the way in which they calculate the Y value for map tiles, using either the Open Street Map (OSM) standard or the Tiled Map Service (TMS) standard. If map tiles are appearing at incorrect latitudes, try swapping the Y Axis setting.

If a map service requires an API key for access, then this should be included directly in the URL – consult your map service provider on the formatting required.        


The following example specifies an HTTP map source for Open Street Maps, with place-holders for server nodes, zoom and x, y coordinates:


          Specify Server Nodes = Yes, Server Nodes = a,b,c