Altus Server - Administrators Guide

The Altus Mapping Engine strives for efficient client-side rendering performance and world-wide coverage: pole-to-pole. Altus Server is the most efficient way to generate reliable and high-performance streamable or packaged content for the Altus Mapping Engine.

NOTE: This documentation is for server administrators producing content using Altus Server (1.x or 2.x) components. This supersedes the older metool system and approach.


Altus Sever is made up of a set of efficient programs that share a common projection core with the Altus Mapping Engine and with each other. Each content generator in Altus Server can run stand-alone on a single machine, in parallel on multiple cores of machines, or plugged in as part of your own back-end infrastructure. It is a more powerful, compatible, and robust replace for the the original metool system that shipped in the past, it has far fewer run-time dependencies making it easier to configure a production server.

Additionally, in the Unix tradition, each module of Altus Server can be programmatically controlled with scripts, other programs, or chained together in a variety of ways.

The main design goals of Altus Server are:

  • Portability
  • Correctness
  • Efficiency
  • World-Wide Coverage
  • GDAL Compatibility

Altus Server components are built on a portable C++ code base that runs on 32 and 64-bit platforms with a C++ 11 compatible compiler. This includes OS X and several variants of Linux as well as Windows. However, due to lack of demand, we do not test or publish Windows versions at this time. If that is a requirement for you, let us know.

Altus Server is designed to be content-compatible with commercial GIS platforms like ArcGIS or with open platforms like the Geospatial Data Abstraction Library.

Altus Server components are designed specifically for the types of data they process: raster, point, vector, terrain, and weather.

Each component is designed to process and compress source data into streamable or packaged formats that work on the Altus Mapping Engine across all supported platforms supported by the Altus Mapping Engine. This includes: iOS, Android, Windows 8, and WebGL enabled web browsers.

Data assets produced by Altus Server are identical on all Altus Mapping Engine supported platforms allowing simplified publishing and back-end infrastructure. In the enterprise, all developers can access all mapping assets instantly and include them in their applications. Or mapping assets can be siloed on a department-by-department basis, with each department managing its own assets and server pipelines.

Altus Server Components

There are 2 variants of each Altus Server component, the 1.x version and the 2.x version. These are primarily identical in how they consume data but how they produce data is very different because of the differences in the final projection rendered by Altus Mapping Engine 1.x vs. 2.x. By having 1.x versions available, it eases the transition of content pipelines from 1.x to 2.x.

Standard Raster Tile Sets

If you are using standard raster tile sets being served by providers like MapBox, MapQuest, WMS, etc., the Altus Mapping Engine directly consumes them from their streaming servers and automatically reprojects the tiles onto the sphere. It takes two lines of code to bring any streaming tile set into the engine and no server processing is required. MBTiles files also work on device.


AltusRaster is designed to process single or multiple raster data sets (e.g. an aerial photograph or scanned raster chart) into streamable tiles or downloadable files for the Altus Mapping Engine. Tile sets can be generated to varying resolutions.

Supported formats include:

  • geoTiffs
  • geoPDFs
  • mrSid
  • PNG
  • JPG
  • JPG2000
  • BMP

Input projection must be non-skewed and imagery should be convertible to RGBA color space.


Processes terrain data for creation of terrain base layers.

Supported formats include:

  • HGT
  • DEM
  • ESRI


Processes static marker layers up to one million markers. Data sources must be tab-delimited text files or SQLite files.


Processes vector layers produced by MapShop or your tools and can consume data from PostGIS data sources. Supports live streaming of vector tiles by plugging directly into Apache or nginx.


Converts assets produced by other server components into portable, optimized, files for offline use.

Supported Operating Systems


  • 10.11.1 - El Capitan


  • CentOS 7

AltusMappingEngine Server v2.0.ut.2153.g60764257e master