Protomaps Transitions to New Funding Model

The Protomaps project, a set of protocols and software for serving fast map tiles over the Web, is transitioning to a new funding model.

Previously, Protomaps’ main source of funding was selling one-time downloads of basemap tiles. Now you can purchase access to commercial, hosted tile APIs and hands-on support through the project’s GitHub sponsorship page:

  • For $14, you get one million tile requests via the commercial API. The tileset is derived from the Daylight Map Distribution, which includes data from OpenStreetMap but has gone through additional quality checks.
  • For $140, you get fifty million tile requests via the API, plus an optional downloadable tileset in case you’re looking to host the tiles more cost-efficiently should you exceed the allowance.
  • Then there are two access tiers for $2,000 and $4,000, which give you access to Protomaps developers to provide support and consulting services.

In addition, all components needed to produce PMTiles and run the Protomaps infrastructure are open source; you can run the APIs yourself for the infrastructure cost only.

Developing open-source projects and financing them by selling professional services for development, maintenance and knowledge transfer is an idea some German geospatial businesses, like Terrestris or Wheregroup, have successfully implemented for years. But I haven’t seen it yet for a company selling map tiles.