Maps blurred on MacBook Pro

Posted by KHBritish on 25 December 2018 in English (English). Last updated on 27 December 2018.

Hi all,

I’d like to start by wishing everyone Happy Holidays!

I (very gratefully) received a MacBook Pro today as a gift. However, I can’t help but notice how unclear and blurry OSM and OGF maps appear; it seems to have the same quality as if you were viewing them on a mobile phone.

Is there any reason and solution to this? I map all the time on my laptop and it would be unfortunate if the map quality hindered this.

Many thanks and seasons greetings,


The cause

EDIT: Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that its a problem with OGF / OSM themselves - their map tiles are not suited to Retina screens, so maps will appear unclear. I don’t think there is anything I can do to fix it on my part, which quite frankly sucks! I’ll just have to hope that the team at OSM will create clear Retina-compatible map tiles in the meantime, and bear with it. It’s a real shame, as the maps look horrible on an otherwise HD laptop and lessens the mapping experience for me!

Comment from austinhuang on 25 December 2018 at 15:18

Are you using chrome?

Comment from KHBritish on 25 December 2018 at 16:12

@austinhuang I’ve tried Chrome and Safari.

Comment from eleinads on 25 December 2018 at 21:55

Very strange … a possibility that comes to mind, is the following (I’m considering you’re new to the mac in general, otherwise ignore what I say):

  • that you have to use the key combination “⌘” and “+” to enlarge That combination enlarges the content of any site by decreasing it by resolution. And to return to normal size you have to go to the “view” menu and put “actual size”.

Instead, to zoom in and out of the map scale, you can scroll with two fingers at the same time up or down the trackpad.

(I ignore if now even the windows PC have scrolling with two fingers in the trackpad, I do not know anything about windows).

Comment from Hmaps5678 on 26 December 2018 at 00:07

I mainly use Firefox on Mac, though Safari works as well. I have never had any problems with it bieng blurry though. JOSM also works fine. I just googled your problem (OSM blurry on Mac) and found that lots of people had a problem with blurry text who had a Retina display and OSX Mojave using word. I don’t know if this is related to the OSM problem but it would be worth a try. Good luck on fixing the problem.

Comment from KHBritish on 26 December 2018 at 16:22

@eleinads Thank you. I tried the enlargement tip, but it unfortunately didn’t work.

@Hmaps5678 Thank you. I downloaded Firefox to see if it would resolve the problem, but no luck, unfortunately. I’ll keep searching. I think it’s something to do with the Retina display but I have no idea how to resolve it.

Comment from oneofbeatlefan on 27 December 2018 at 16:20

Yup I had this problem too, I think it might be from the OSM itself, are not compatible with retina display. And also any other countless application that not compatible with Retina display :(

Comment from iiEarth on 27 December 2018 at 19:27

@KHBritish I don’t think so the problem is with the Opengeofiction/Openstreetmap map tiles. I also use a MacBook Pro, but ever since I got it, the MacBook Pro has been reacting the same, if better. Maybe try restarting your computer. Hope it helps.

     -Sincerely, iiEarth

Comment from Hmaps5678 on 27 December 2018 at 19:53

I just compared it between a MacBook Pro Retina display and dragged it across to an LCD display it is kind of blurry. Hopefully OSM will start supporting Retina displays soon.

Comment from whateversusan on 28 December 2018 at 18:48

Yeah, any high-resolution display is going to have the same issue, unfortunately.

Comment from Picard-Lindelöf on 29 December 2018 at 13:39

When using the OGF scale helper, I noticed that on my laptop screen, the OSM map looks good if the zoom is set by a map scale (like 1:50000) but the OGF map looks good if the zoom is set by a zoom level (like 13) because zoom levels and scales don’t match perfectly.

OGF scale helper:

Comment from nehalem501 on 30 December 2018 at 10:31

The OSM project has worked on this and it works pretty well, I just don’t know why it’s still not the default in OSM as a few different implementations exist. The solution is to use vector tiles (SVG files), that way the rendered map can adapt to any display resolution. Another benefit of this is that it will be much easier to have custom data layers ontop of the map (subway lines for example).

There are a lot of interesting links in these pages about this topic:

This is a link to a working implementation:

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