Custom Cartography

Do you have a vision for your project and our standard maps don’t quite hit the spot? Or you would like to make a few changes to one of our pre-made map styles so the colours, icons or other detailing is exactly right for you?

Do you want to do this quickly and efficiently, without your team needing to learn new software or take a crash course in cartography?

We’d love to help. We have over 15 years of experience and skills in high-performance online cartography. We’re a formative contributor to OpenStreetMap, and are the team behind OpenCycleMap.

Within a few days, we can get your custom style up and running as a first iteration, ready for you to review. We can then work with you to make sure you’re 100% happy with your custom map style.

Why use Thunderforest?

With over 15 years mapping experience, we can quickly create whatever style you need. We’ll discuss your needs, take your desired outcome, and make it happen. You don’t need to specify every last detail, since this is where our experience comes in. We can spot potential problems and take care of them before they become an issue.

A map might look simple, but there’s a lot of complexity that needs to be handled, from how different colours look together, to icon and label density in different parts of the world.

Small changes often have knock-on effects. If you make a light background darker you might need to adjust the opacity of halos around map labels. Unless you know how to plan for these challenges, developing a style without our help can risk you ending up stuck, with less than happy customers or stakeholders and unexpected delays to your style being ready for production.

We can create or alter a map style quickly and without fuss, taking care of the details and freeing you up to concentrate on your core tasks.

What customisation changes can we make?

1. Customise our Thunderforest map styles

A custom map with a bright theme

If you like our existing map styles but want some features removed or changed, then we can tweak them for you.

Perhaps you want to show hiking routes as a transparent overlay, or use the background layers from OpenCycleMap with other features on top?

Or perhaps you want to update the colours on the Transport map to match your own site and branding?

We’ll ask what end results you want. Then we’ll use our experience to achieve them.

2. Convert your existing map styles

A custom map with a black theme

If you have already started creating your map in Tilemill, Maputnik or another cartography system, we can convert your style to be powered by Thunderforest.

We can also work with you to recreate any styles that you have created through other mapping companies.

We’ve worked with companies all around the world to perfect the look and navigate through the cartographic and data options.

We can also convert your existing map styles from CartoCSS, Mapnik XML, Cascadenik, SLD or even ArcMap .lyr styles to work with our Thunderforest vector tiles.

3. Start from scratch

A custom map with a dark theme

If you have a project that needs something entirely novel - for example a map with no roads, or a fantasy map set in medieval times, or something distinctly different - we can do that too.

For completely unique maps, we can start from a blank sheet, and build every detail starting from scratch.

It’s unusual for us to do this, but the option is there if you need it. If you’re considering this, we’re intrigued to hear more.

4. Custom Data Sources

Do you have your own data sources that you want to display on your maps? In most cases, using a data overlay layer is sufficient, but alternatively we can integrate your custom data sources - like shapefiles, geotiffs or other GIS data - directly into the cartography.

For example, this would allow you to show points of interest without label clashes, or use your polygons as a background layer with roads and labels drawn cleanly over the top. If you think this would be useful, please ask us for more details.


Our custom maps have an initial design and setup charge of £195.

We charge an ongoing maintenance fee of £45 per month for your custom style, which is in addition to your pricing plan.

The maintenance charge includes any other cartography changes or updates that you’d like to make to your custom style.

All prices shown exclude VAT.

Our process

  1. Contact us with an idea of what you’d like creating or changing.

    You can give us a detailed specification, including visuals. Or give us a rough idea and leave the entire implementation to us.

    If you have an existing map style, please send us the source code, if available.

    Contact us at: support (at) thunderforest (dot) com

  2. We’ll get back to you, with confirmation and any follow up questions.

  3. We’ll supply you with a first iteration, normally within 14 days. Usually, we’ll be faster, depending on our exact schedule. Let us know if the timescale is a deal breaker for you or if you have a hard deadline for your project.

    We set up your custom style on our platform, and provide you with a link to review it.

  4. We can put your custom map style into production immediately.

    If you have feedback, we’ll iterate until you are completely happy with the result.

  5. We’ll continue to be available to make changes and updates to your custom map, on a month by month basis.

What you can do next

After you’ve contacted us about our custom cartography style, our best advice is that you test your integration with our APIs using one of our existing map styles.

You can do this using our free plan, so there’s no up-front cost.

You can get our maps working with your tech set up, and see the kind of service we offer, and check that everything meets your needs.

When your custom map style is ready, you simply need to tweak the code of the existing map style that you’ve already implemented. Your custom map style will then be ready for your customers.