Global Tile IDs

Several of the map formats supported by Tiled, including its native TMX and JSON map formats, use the same data representation for individual tiles in layers: global tile IDs with flip flags. These GIDs are « global » because they may refer to a tile from any of the tilesets used by the map, rather than being local to a specific tileset. To get at a specific tile from a GID, you will first need to extract and clear the flip flags, then you will need to determine which tileset the tile belongs to, and which tile within the tileset it is.


Despite the « global » name, GIDs are only global within a single map. A given tile may have a different GID in a different map, if that map has different tilesets, or has its tilesets in a different order.

Tile Flipping

The highest four bits of the 32-bit GID are flip flags, and you will need to read and clear them before you can access the GID itself to identify the tile.

Bit 32 is used for storing whether the tile is horizontally flipped, bit 31 is used for the vertically flipped tiles. In orthogonal and isometric maps, bit 30 indicates whether the tile is flipped (anti) diagonally, which enables tile rotation, and bit 29 can be ignored. In hexagonal maps, bit 30 indicates whether the tile is rotated 60 degrees clockwise, and bit 29 indicates 120 degrees clockwise rotation.


Even if you’re parsing a non-hexagonal map, remember to clear bit 29 after you’ve read the flags. Tiled keeps and outputs that flag even if the map orientation is changed. If not cleared, you may get an invalid tile ID.

When rendering an orthographic or isometric tile, the order of operations matters. The diagonal flip is done first, followed by the horizontal and vertical flips. The diagonal flip should flip the bottom left and top right corners of the tile, and can be thought of as an x/y axis swap. For hexagonal tiles, the order does not matter.

Mapping a GID to a Local Tile ID

Every tileset has its own, independent local tile IDs, typically (but not always) starting at 0. To avoid conflicts within maps using multiple tilesets, GIDs are assigned in sequence based on the size of each tileset. Each tileset is assigned a firstgid within the map, this is the GID that the tile with local ID 0 in the tileset would have.

To figure out which tileset a tile belongs to, find the tileset that has the largest firstgid that is smaller than or equal to the tile’s GID. Once you have identified the tileset, subtract its firstgid from the tile’s GID to get the local ID of the tile within the tileset.


The firstgid of the first tileset is always 1. A GID of 0 in a layer means that cell is empty.

As an example, here’s an excerpt from a TMX file with three tilesets:

<tileset firstgid="1" source="TilesetA.tsx"/>
<tileset firstgid="65" source="TilesetB.tsx"/>
<tileset firstgid="115" source="TilesetC.tsx"/>

In this map, tiles with GIDs 1-64 would be part of TilesetA, tiles with GIDs 65-114 would be part of TilesetB, and tiles with GIDs 115 and above would be part of tileset C. A tile with GID 72 would be part of TilesetB since TilesetB has the largest firstgid that’s less than or equal to 72, and its local ID would be 7 (72-65).

Code example

The following C++ pseudo-code, using TMX as an example, should make it all clear, it deals with flags and deduces the appropriate tileset:

// Bits on the far end of the 32-bit global tile ID are used for tile flags
const unsigned FLIPPED_HORIZONTALLY_FLAG  = 0x80000000;
const unsigned FLIPPED_VERTICALLY_FLAG    = 0x40000000;
const unsigned FLIPPED_DIAGONALLY_FLAG    = 0x20000000;
const unsigned ROTATED_HEXAGONAL_120_FLAG = 0x10000000;


// Extract the contents of the <data> element
string tile_data = ...

// If the data is encoded and compressed, decode and decompress:
unsigned char *data = decompress(base64_decode(tile_data));

unsigned tile_index = 0;

// Here you should check that the data has the right size
// (map_width * map_height * 4)

for (int y = 0; y < map_height; ++y) {
  for (int x = 0; x < map_width; ++x) {
    //Read the GID in little-endian byte order:
    unsigned global_tile_id = data[tile_index] |
                              data[tile_index + 1] << 8 |
                              data[tile_index + 2] << 16 |
                              data[tile_index + 3] << 24;
    tile_index += 4;

    // Read out the flags
    bool flipped_horizontally = (global_tile_id & FLIPPED_HORIZONTALLY_FLAG);
    bool flipped_vertically = (global_tile_id & FLIPPED_VERTICALLY_FLAG);
    bool flipped_diagonally = (global_tile_id & FLIPPED_DIAGONALLY_FLAG);
    bool rotated_hex120 = (global_tile_id & ROTATED_HEXAGONAL_120_FLAG);

    // Clear all four flags
    global_tile_id &= ~(FLIPPED_HORIZONTALLY_FLAG |
                        FLIPPED_VERTICALLY_FLAG |
                        FLIPPED_DIAGONALLY_FLAG |

    // Resolve the tile
    for (int i = tileset_count - 1; i >= 0; --i) {
      Tileset *tileset = tilesets[i];

      if (tileset->first_gid() <= global_tile_id) {
        tiles[y][x] = tileset->get_tile(global_tile_id - tileset->first_gid());

(Since the above code was put together on this wiki page and can’t be directly tested, please make sure to report any errors you encounter when basing your parsing code on it, thanks!)