Altus MapShop for Vector Maps

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Altus MapShop is a desktop program for OS X that assists with the design of vector maps. The tool was developed for internal use but we also have many clients using it to create streamable and packaged vector maps. MapShop can consume data from PostGIS data sources and certain ESRI products. See this page for instructions on downloading and configuring MapShop.


  • MapShop works well with a variety of public and custom data sources.
  • The Altus vector format is compact and fast. Altus can consume other vector formats, but most, so far, are bloated (i.e. GEOJSON) or needlessly complicated by linking in other libraries (i.e. Protocol buffers).
  • You can style vector maps on the fly
  • You can combine public and private data sources
  • AltusVector (one of our newer server tools) can consume MapShop vector map designs and produce a set of streamable vector tiles.


  • MapShop takes about an hour to download and configure.
  • The user interface is non-standard.
  • There is not yet support for street labeling.

MapShop Installation and Usage Guide

Are you ready for MapShop? Here's your staring point: MapShop Installation and Usage

If you get stuck and you need help please read Getting Help.

Moving Forward

MapShop and Altus were industry first with regards to publicly available SDKs that supported true on-device vector map rendering. Recently this has become a more commonly available technology, although, as of this writing, no company has actually shipped a wide-scale cross-platform vector rendering solution.

From a technology standpoint we brought vector rendering to the market and we want to stay focused on rendering performance. We believe the industry will eventually mature and settle on a vector format. MapBox seems to be headed in that direction. Once there is a clear standard we will support it. We already render TileMill vector tiles and several other vector formats as well, including Geo-JSON, ESRI, MapBox protocol buffers, along with OSM and Natural earth through Postgres and PostGIS.

Roll Your Own

Something to be aware of with regards to vector rendering: Altus is agnostic on data sources. With a virtual vector map, you can serve up vector data to Altus any way you like. You do not have to use MapShop. If you have your own format, your own storage system, and your own way of managing your vector data, you can easily render it with the Altus mapping engine. Look in our tutorials and/or reference applications for "Virtual Vector Maps".

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