Catalogs are divided into layers which in turn are divided into partitions, making partitions the smallest unit of data in the system. Partitions are key values within a catalog and layers are a namespace for partitions. This makes the catalog (with layer and partition) a key-key-value store.

Partitions can store any binary data. The HERE platform does not need to understand the structure of the data in a partition since it does not need to decode it. Data is published and retrieved without modification. However, you can define the structure and encoding of the data by associating a schema with the layer. This defines the data structure and encoding for the partitions in the layer so that data producers and consumers know how to encode and decode the data.

Partitions are named according to one of two partitioning schemes:

  • Generic partitioning
  • HERE tile partitioning

There are a couple reasons why understanding partitioning schemes is important. First, when you are creating a catalog, you need to select the partitioning scheme to use for the catalog, and you need to choose the one best suited to the data you are going to store in the catalog. Second, when you are querying a catalog or publishing data to a catalog, you need to know the partitioning scheme used so that you can understand how to reference partitions by their name.

Generic Partitioning

Generic partitioning is the simplest form of partitioning. Partition names have no semantic meaning. Generic partitioning is best suited to data other than map data, such as search index data.

HERE Tile Partitioning

HERE Tile partitioning is a method for storing map data. In HERE Tile partitioning, layers contain rectangular geographic tiles that represent an area of the map. These tiles are also known as partitions. If you use HERE Tile partitioning, you can take advantage of the HERE platform libraries and APIs to perform geo-related tasks.

To use HERE Tile partitioning, you need to know how map data is partitioned so that you can read and write data.

Map Tiling

The process of dividing map data into partitions is called tiling. The HERE Tile tiling scheme is based on quadtrees. A quadtree is a tree data structure in which each internal node has exactly four children. Quadtrees partition a two-dimensional space by recursively subdividing it into four tiles. The child tiles are numbered 0-3 in a fixed reverse "Z" pattern:

  • Tile 0 is the southwest sub-tile
  • Tile 1 is the southeast sub-tile
  • Tile 2 is the northwest sub-tile
  • Tile 3 is the northeast sub-tile

Tile Level

A tile's level refers to how many tiles were subdivided to produce the tile. For example, in the following diagram, tile 4 (100 in binary) is at level 1 and tile 24 (11000 in binary) is at level 2.

The maximum tile level supported in the HERE platform is 15. At this level, each tile has a size of about 2.45 km x 2.43 km near the equator.

HERE Tile tiling is based on raw, non-projected WGS84 latitude/longitude coordinate values, so each child tile covers exactly half its parent's latitude/longitude range per side.


This scheme results in non-square tiles when viewed on a common Mercator projected 2D map, with the effect more pronounced further from the equator.


Each tile in the map has an identifier called a HERE Tile ID. A HERE Tile ID is a 64-bit unsigned integer computed from the tile's quadkey. A quadkey is a string of numbers (0-3) which captures the hierarchy of parent-child tiles from level 1 to the target tile level.

For example, for the level 5 tile containing San Francisco in the map below, the quadkey would be 02123 because the parent tile is 0212, and the child tile containing San Francisco is 3:

In this second example, the quadkey for the child tile containing the Berlin Hauptbahnhof (central train station) is 122012031202200 because the parent tile's quadkey is 12201203120220 and the quadkey of the child tile containing the Berlin Hauptbahnhof is 0.

You can determine the level of a tile by the number of digits in the quadkey. For example, the quadkey for a level 14 tile will have 14 digits.

To determine a tile's HERE Tile ID from its quadkey, use the following algorithm. To illustrate the algorithm, the example values use the level 14 tile of Berlin as shown above.

  1. Prepend the quadkey with a 1:
    12201203120220 = 112201203120220

  2. Convert the quadkey from base 4 to base 10:
    1122012031202204 = 37789444010

  3. The resulting base 10 number is the HERE Tile ID:


HERE Location Libraries provide a TileResolver that you can use to calculate HERE Tile IDs. If you are using Scala or Java, you can use the mapquad library for the same purpose.

HERE Tile Coordinate Ranges

The normal coordinate range on a world map is -180° to +180° longitude and -90° to +90° latitude. However, in HERE Tile partitioning, the level 0 root tile representing the entire world is augmented with a virtual counterpart north of the North Pole. This is done to avoid special handling of level 1 tiles. As a result, the base coordinate range in HERE Tile partitioning is -180° to +180° longitude and -90° to +270° latitude, making the level 0 world tile a square with sides of 360°. From here, the root world tile is split in the standard quadtree way into four tiles at level 1, resulting in tiles 0 and 1 covering the world and tiles 2 and 3 generally unused.

Note the following special cases:

  • Longitude values of +180° are converted to -180°, so tile references "wrap" over the anti-meridian.
  • Latitude values of +90° are owned by their southern tiles.

Calculating Latitude/Longitude Degrees for a Tile Level

The latitude and longitude range for a tile can be calculated as:

360°/2tile level

So for level 14 tiles, the latitude/longitude range would be calculated as:

360°/214 = 360°/16384 = 0.02197265625° per tile

Tiling schemes always result in a question of which tile contains a latitude/longitude location that lies on a tile boarder. For the HERE Tile scheme, locations lying on the south-west border of a tile belong to that tile.

Identifying the HERE Tile ID for a Latitude/Longitude

The tile HERE Tile ID for any latitude/longitude position at a given tile level can be calculated algorithmically using a version of Morton coding. Take this example for the Berlin Hauptbahnhof (central train station) at latitude/longitude coordinates 52.52507/13.36937.

Let's calculate the level 14 HERE Tile ID for this location. First, we need to calculate the desired tile's X,Y coordinates on the world map. Tile X,Y coordinates are not latitude/longitude values, they are the tile's integral positional coordinates, indexed from (0,0) in the southwest corner of the world map.

  1. Find the horizontal (X) tile index from the longitude value by dividing the world map longitude range (-180° to +180°) into tile-sized ranges based on the desired tile level. As described in HERE Tile Coordinate Ranges, each level 14 tile covers 0.02197265625 degrees per tile:
    180° + 13.36937° = 193.36937° absolute longitude offset from south-west corner
    193.36937° / 0.02197265625° = 8,800.45 = tile X: 8,800 (round down for 0-based indexing)
  2. Find the vertical (Y) tile index, making sure to use the latitude range -90° to +270° as described in HERE Tile Coordinate Ranges.
    90° + 52.52507° = 142.52507° absolute latitude from the south-west corner
    142.52507°/0.02197265625° = 6,486.47 = tile Y: 6,486 (round down for 0-based indexing)
  3. Convert the tile X, Y indexes (8800, 6486) and tile level (14) into a Morton code quadkey. To do this, take the simple binary representation of the tile coordinate indexes, zero-padded to the number of bits in the tile level:
    Tile X coordinate: 8800 = 100010011000002 (already 14 bits)
    Tile Y coordinate: 6486 = 011001010101102 (zero-padded to 14 bits)
  4. Interleave the bits of the binary values, starting with the first bit of the Y-coordinate:
    Interleaved Y/X = 01101000011000110110001010002
  5. Convert the resulting binary value to a base 4 integer to get the quadkey string:
    01101000011000110110001010002= 122012031202204

So, the quadkey for the Berlin Hauptbahnhof (central train station) at latitude/longitude coordinates 52.52507/13.36937 is 12201203120220. Here is the quadkey on the map:

The final step is to encode the tile's quadkey as a HERE Tile ID:

  1. Prepend the quadkey with a 1:
    12201203120220 = 112201203120220
  2. Convert the quadkey from base 4 to base 10:
    1122012031202204 = 37789444010
  3. The resulting base 10 number is the HERE Tile ID for the latitude/longitude coordinates 52.52507/13.36937:

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