MVT: Mapbox Vector Tiles

Added in version 2.3.

Driver short name


Build dependencies

(requires SQLite and GEOS for write support)

The MVT driver can read and write Mapbox Vector Tile files, as standalone files, uncompressed or gzip-compressed (typical extensions are .pbf, .mvt, .mvt.gz), or a tileset at a given zoom level of such files. Write support requires GDAL to be built with libsqlite3 and GEOS support.

Mapbox Vector Tiles stored within a SQLite container conforming to the MBTiles format are handled by the MBTiles driver.

Tilesets of MVT files can for example be generated by tippecanoe or tileserver-gl. The output file hierarchy will contain a metadata.json file at its root and {z}/{x}/{y}.pbf files with the tiles, where z is the zoom level and (x, y) the coordinate of the tile in a given zoom level. The origin of the tiling system is the top-left tile (XYZ convention). For example, for zoom levels 0 and 1 :


The driver will assume by default EPSG:3857 (WebMercator) spatial reference system and Z/X/Y tiling structure, if opening a filename with {Z}/{X}/{Y}.pbf or {Z}-{X}-{Y}.pbf name, or a zoom level of a tileset. Otherwise integer coordinates will be reported.

Note: When opening a zoom level of a tileset, the driver will make no effort of stitching together geometries for features that overlap several tiles.

Driver capabilities

Supports Create()

This driver supports the GDALDriver::Create() operation

Supports Georeferencing

This driver supports georeferencing

Supports VirtualIO

This driver supports virtual I/O operations (/vsimem/, etc.)

Connection strings

The following connection strings are supported:

  • /path/to/some.pbf

  • MVT:http[s]://path/to/some.pbf

  • /path/to/{Z}: where {Z} is a zoom level between 0 and 30, tiles are in /path/to/{Z}/{X}/{Y}.pbf files, and /path/to/metadata.json or /path/to.json should typically exist.

  • MVT:http[s]://path/to/{Z]

The MVT: prefix may be added before the filename or directory name to help forcing identification of datasets in some rare cases where non-guided identification would fail.


This file is typically generated by tippecanoe and has the following content:

    "name": "my_layername",
    "description": "my_layername",
    "version": "2",
    "minzoom": "0",
    "maxzoom": "0",
    "center": "2.500000,49.500000,0",
    "bounds": "2.000000,49.000000,3.000000,50.000000",
    "type": "overlay",
    "format": "pbf",
    "json": "{
        \"vector_layers\": [ {
            \"id\": \"my_layername\",
            \"description\": \"\",
            \"minzoom\": 0,
            \"maxzoom\": 0,
            \"fields\": {
                \"bool_false\": \"Boolean\",
                \"bool_true\": \"Boolean\",
                \"float_value\": \"Number\",
                \"pos_int_value\": \"Number\",
                \"pos_int64_value\": \"Number\",
                \"neg_int_value\": \"Number\",
                \"neg_int64_value\": \"Number\",
                \"pos_sint_value\": \"Number\",
                \"pos_sint64_value\": \"Number\",
                \"neg_sint_value\": \"Number\",
                \"neg_sint64_value\": \"Number\",
                \"real_value\": \"Number\",
                \"string_value\": \"String\",
                \"uint_value\": \"Number\",
                \"uint64_value\": \"Number\"
        } ],
        \"tilestats\": {
            \"layerCount\": 1,
            \"layers\": [
                \"layer\": \"my_layername\",
                \"count\": 2,
                \"geometry\": \"Point\",
                \"attributeCount\": 0,
                \"attributes\": []

The MVT driver only uses the "json" key to retrieve the layer names, their fields and the geometry type, and the "bounds" key for the layer extent.

If this file cannot be found, the layer schema is established by scanning the features of the tile(s).

As an extension, OGR handles in reading and writing custom tiling schemes by using the crs, tile_origin_upper_left_x, tile_origin_upper_left_y and tile_dimension_zoom_0 metadata items. For example, for the Finnish ETRS-TM35FIN (EPSG:3067) tiling scheme:

  "...": "...",

Opening options

Open options can be specified in command-line tools using the syntax -oo <NAME>=<VALUE> or by providing the appropriate arguments to GDALOpenEx() (C) or gdal.OpenEx (Python). The following open options are available:

  • X=<integer>: X coordinate of the EPSG:3857 tile.

  • Y=<integer>: Y coordinate of the EPSG:3857 tile.

  • Z=<integer>: Z coordinate of the EPSG:3857 tile.

  • METADATA_FILE=<filename>: Filename of a metadata.json-like file. If opening a /path/to/{Z}/{X}/{Y}.pbf file, the driver will by default try to find /path/to/metadata.json. Setting the value to the empty string is a way of avoid the metadata.json file to be used.

  • CLIP=[YES/NO]: Defaults to YES. Whether to clip geometries of vector features to tile extent. Generators of vector tiles will typically create geometries with a small buffer beyond the tile extent so that geometries intersecting several tiles can be unioned back. Defaults to YES so that that buffer is removed and geometries are clipped exactly to the tile extent.

  • TILE_EXTENSION=value: Defaults to pbf. For tilesets, extension of tiles.

  • TILE_COUNT_TO_ESTABLISH_FEATURE_DEFN=<integer>: Defaults to 1000. For tilesets without metadata file, maximum number of tiles to use to establish the layer schemas.

Creation issues

Tiles are generated with WebMercator (EPSG:3857) projection by default (custom tiling schemes can be defined with the TILING_SCHEME option). Several layers can be written. It is possible to decide at which zoom level ranges a given layer is written.

Part of the conversion is multi-threaded by default, using as many threads as there are cores. The number of threads used can be controlled with the GDAL_NUM_THREADS configuration option.

Dataset creation options

Dataset creation options can be specified in command-line tools using the syntax -dsco <NAME>=<VALUE> or by providing the appropriate arguments to GDALCreate() (C) or Driver.Create (Python). The following dataset creation options are supported:

  • NAME=value: Tileset name. Defaults to the basename of the output file/directory. Used to fill metadata records.

  • DESCRIPTION=value: A description of the tileset. Used to fill metadata records.

  • TYPE=[overlay/baselayer]: Layer type. Used to fill metadata records.

  • FORMAT=[DIRECTORY/MBTILES]: Format into which tiles are written. DIRECTORY means that tiles are written in a hierarchy like out_dir/{z}/{x}/{y}.pbf. MBTILES is for a MBTILES container. Defaults to DIRECTORY, unless the output filename has a .mbtiles extension

  • TILE_EXTENSION=value: Defaults to pbf. For tilesets as directories of files, extension of tiles.

  • MINZOOM=<integer>: Defaults to 0. Minimum zoom level at which tiles are generated.

  • MAXZOOM=<integer>: Defaults to 5.

    Maximum zoom level at which tiles are generated. Maximum supported value is 22.

  • CONF=[<json>/<filename>]: Layer configuration as a JSON serialized string. Or, starting with GDAL 3.0.1, filename containing the configuration as JSON .

  • SIMPLIFICATION=float: Simplification factor for linear or polygonal geometries. The unit is the integer unit of tiles after quantification of geometry coordinates to tile coordinates. Applies to all zoom levels, unless SIMPLIFICATION_MAX_ZOOM is also defined.

  • SIMPLIFICATION_MAX_ZOOM=<float>: Simplification factor for linear or polygonal geometries, that applies only for the maximum zoom level.

  • EXTENT=<positive integer>: Defaults to 4096. Number of units in a tile. The greater, the more accurate geometry coordinates (at the expense of tile byte size).

  • BUFFER=<positive integer>: Number of units for geometry buffering. This value corresponds to a buffer around each side of a tile into which geometries are fetched and clipped. This is used for proper rendering of geometries that spread over tile boundaries by some rendering clients. Defaults to 80 if EXTENT=4096.

  • COMPRESS=[YES/NO]: Defaults to YES. Whether to compress tiles with the Deflate/GZip algorithm. Should be left to YES for FORMAT=MBTILES.

  • TEMPORARY_DB=<filename>: Filename with path for the temporary database used for tile generation. By default, this will be a file in the same directory as the output file/directory.

  • MAX_SIZE=<integer>: Defaults to 500000. Maximum size of a tile in bytes (after compression). If a tile is greater than this threshold, features will be written with reduced precision, or discarded.

  • MAX_FEATURES=<integer>: Defaults to 200000. Maximum number of features per tile.

  • BOUNDS=<min_long,min_lat,max_long,max_lat>: Override default value for bounds metadata item which is computed from the extent of features written.

  • CENTER=<long,lat,zoom_level>: Override default value for center metadata item, which is the center of BOUNDS at minimum zoom level.

  • TILING_SCHEME=<crs,tile_origin_upper_left_x,tile_origin_upper_left_y,tile_dimension_zoom_0>: Define a custom tiling scheme with a CRS (typically given as EPSG:XXXX), the coordinates of the upper-left corner of the upper-left tile (0,0) in the CRS, and the dimension of the tile at zoom level 0. Only available for FORMAT=DIRECTORY. The standard WebMercator tiling scheme would be defined by "EPSG:3857,-20037508.343,20037508.343,40075016.686". A tiling scheme for WGS84 geodetic could be "EPSG:4326,-180,180,360". The tiling scheme for Finnish ETRS-TM35FIN (EPSG:3067) is "EPSG:3067,-548576,8388608,2097152". When using such as custom tiling scheme, the 'crs', 'tile_origin_upper_left_x', 'tile_origin_upper_left_y' and 'tile_dimension_zoom_0' entries are added to the metadata.json, and are honoured by the OGR MVT reader.

Layer configuration

The above mentioned CONF dataset creation option can be set to a string whose value is a JSON serialized document such as the below one:

    "boundaries_lod0": {
        "target_name": "boundaries",
        "description": "Country boundaries",
        "minzoom": 0,
        "maxzoom": 2
    "boundaries_lod1": {
        "target_name": "boundaries",
        "minzoom": 3,
        "maxzoom": 5

boundaries_lod0 and boundaries_lod1 are the name of the OGR layers that are created into the target MVT dataset. They are mapped to the MVT target layer boundaries.

It is also possible to get the same behavior with the below layer creation options, although that is not convenient in the ogr2ogr use case.

Layer creation options

Layer creation options can be specified in command-line tools using the syntax -lco <NAME>=<VALUE> or by providing the appropriate arguments to GDALDatasetCreateLayer() (C) or Dataset.CreateLayer (Python). The following layer creation options are supported:

  • MINZOOM=<integer>: Minimum zoom level at which tiles are generated. Defaults to the dataset creation option MINZOOM value.

  • MAXZOOM=<integer>: Maximum zoom level at which tiles are generated. Defaults to the dataset creation option MAXZOOM value. Maximum supported value is 22.

  • NAME=value: Target layer name. Defaults to the layer name, but can be overridden so that several OGR layers map to a single target MVT layer. The typical use case is to have different OGR layers for mutually exclusive zoom level ranges.

  • DESCRIPTION=value: A description of the layer.


ogrinfo MVT: -oo tile_extension="pbf.pict?key=${YOUR_KEY}" --debug on -oo metadata_file="${YOUR_KEY}"
ogr2ogr -f MVT mytileset source.gpkg -dsco MAXZOOM=10

See Also: