In my previous blog article I introduced an IGN – Google Maps integration library. In this post I want to explain how IGN map server interface.

IGN ‘chops’ the world into small square tiles 256 x 256 pixel each. The size is equal to Google map tiles. Image format is JPG (Google uses PNG images).

There are 5 tile servers (as for 2011.04.11) – ** tsN.iberpix.ign.es**, where 0 <= N <= 4. The tile URL is composed in the following manner:

`http://ts|tile server index|.iberpix.ign.es/tileserver/n=|map type|;z=|UTM zone|;r=|map scale|;i=|tile x coordinate|;j=|tile y coordinate|.jpg`

where:

**tile server index**– as commented before**map type**– topo map identifiers useful for outdoor activities:- 1:1,000,000 –
`mapa_millon`

- 1:200,000 –
`mapa_mtn200`

- 1:50,000 –
`mapa_mtn50`

- 1:25,000 –
`mapa_mtn25`

- 1:1,000,000 –
**UTM zone**– just the number, without hemishere designator and latitude band. Mainland Spain range: 29-31, Canary Islands: 27-28**map scale**– Map scale pixels per meter multiplied by 1000. Must be a power of 2. The highest value that works (according to my checks) is 2048000 (2,048 m/px), the lowest is 1000 (1 m/px)**tile x-y coordinates**– cartesian coordinates of a tile (in a propietary IGN coordinate system). More on this later in this article

An example of a tile: http://ts0.iberpix.ign.es/tileserver/n=mapa_millon;z=30;r=256000;i=5;j=68.jpg

### How to calculate tile (cartesian) coordinates?

IGN uses UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) coordinate system indirectly to calculate tile (x, y) references.

Flash introduction to UTM – it “flattens” the earth surface into zones (where we assume that the surface is not spherical but flat). To reference an earth point with an UTM coordinate, you need three numbers: UTM **zone** (reference to the grid rectangle), **x** and **y**. **x** gives you the distance from the central meridian of each zone (“false easting”) in *meters*. The zone meridian has a fixed (artificial) value of 500,000 (to avoid negative coordinates). **y** gives you the distance from earth’s equator (in *meters* too). As you see, using UTM is useful to get a grasp of distances (if point A’s UTM coordinates are (500,000, 2,000,000) and B’s (500,000, 2,001,000) they are 1000 m = 1 km away).

The IGN tile coordinate is based on the UTM coordinate of the lower left pixel and map scale (in meters per pixel). Lower left pixel of the **(0, 0)** IGN tile corresponds to **(0, 0)** UTM point. Since each tile has **256** pixels, it represents the world fragment in a **scale** and UTM coordinate unit is meter, **(1, 1)** tile’s lower left pixel corresponds to:

`(1 * 256 [px] * scale [m/px], 1 * 256 [px] * scale [m/px])`

UTM point.

e.g. for 128 m/px scale, (1, 1) tile’s lower left pixel UTM is (32768, 32768).

generalizing, for given a (i, j) tile and scale, lower left pixel UTM is:

`(i * 256 [px] * scale [m/px], j * 256 [px] * scale [m/px])`

To calculate tile IGN coordinates (given a tile scale) that cover a point with given UTM coordinates:

`(floor(x / (256 [px] * scale [m/px])), floor(y / (256 [px] * scale [m/px])))`

Notice that x UTM coordinates can be negative and thus tile coordinates. UTM (-1, 4000000) point (lat-lng: 36.01619ºN, 8.54615ºW) in the 30N zone is legal, although it lies outside of the zone (which spans from 6ºW to 0º). It’s supported by the IGN tile server – it can return tiles covering areas outside of an UTM zone, although with higher projection errors.

Hi

That is a very interesting article.

I just discovered the Spanish IGN site, but I face the fact it calculates differently the map scales, zoom & coordinates, comparing to the Mobac (Mobile Atlas Creator), and so I fail to interface it.

I try to use your inputs to recalculate the tiles number correlating to the real scale, but I fail.

Your inputs would be very precious to achieve that.

Thanks in advance.

I’m not an expert in map projections (and I didn’t work on the project since one year and a half), but I think that the web service I use uses a different projection that Mobac requires.

If you want to visualize SIGPAC maps in Mobac, download the 1.8 version that includes the SIGPAC definition. Then export it to the newest Mobac.