The OGC Tiles API, Explained

One thought about the OGC Tiles API lives rent-free in my head. We’ve had working de facto standards for years. Google Maps introduced the idea of map tiles in 2005, and the Tile Map Service specification followed a year later. We’re nearing twenty years of well-established conventions for tile services, so why now? Why do we need a bloated document to describe what mostly fits in a blog post?

Of course, I didn’t read the OGC Tile API specification or any of its siblings. I read the entirety of the WMS and Styled Layer Descriptor specification for university, and reading OGC documents isn’t something I would recommend for fun.

Tim Schaub’s post doesn’t answer the Why, but it sheds light on what this new set of specs add. The OGC Tiles API allows more detailed descriptions of the services behind an API. It formalises tiling for raster, vector and rendered map tiles and it allows to advertise projections, geographic extend and limitations on tile sets on each zoom level.

You could get all of the information by reading the specs but Tim’s summary does a much better job at lowering the barrier to start developing compliant APIs. We need more readable summaries for OGC standards like this.