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Styling the map

A newer version of the Maps SDK is available
This page uses v9.7.1 of the Mapbox Maps SDK. A newer version of the SDK is available. Learn about the latest version, v11.4.1, in the Maps SDK documentation.

The Maps SDK for Android allows full customization of the look of the map. You can choose one of Mapbox's core styles designed by our cartographers or create a custom map style by adjusting the map's colors, icons, and fonts to match your application's UI or company's brand.

There are two approaches to customizing the look of the map: creating a custom map style with Mapbox Studio and loading it into your application or updating map features at runtime using the Maps SDK for Android.

Using runtime styling, you're able to dynamically change the look and feel of your map in real time. Lighten or darken the map based on the time of day, personalize icons and map colors based on your users’ activity, switch languages dynamically, or increase the size of labels based on user preferences to improve legibility.

Style object

A Style object refers to the Mapbox map style being used in your application. Sources, layers, and images appear on the map via a map style, so they are added and retrieved via the Style object rather than adding them to the actual MapboxMap object.

A Style object must be created and given to the map for the map to appear properly. Create a Style by using a:

  • default Mapbox style found in the Style class constants
  • custom map style URL from a Mapbox account
  • raw style JSON string or referenced style JSON via asset:// or path://

If the style fails to load or you set an invalid style URL, the map view will become blank. An error message will be logged in the Android logcat and the MapView.OnDidFailLoadingMapListener callback will be triggered.

Changing the map style

You'll have to change the map style URL programmatically if you'd like to load a completely new map style. Call mapboxMap.setStyle() with the style URL as the parameter.

mapboxMap.setStyle(Style.Builder().fromUri(uniqueStyleUrl)) {

// Custom map style has been loaded and map is now ready


Default Mapbox styles

As powerful as styling the map can be, Mapbox offers six professionally designed map styles:

  1. Mapbox Streets: Mapbox Streets is a comprehensive, general-purpose map that emphasizes legible styling of road and transit networks.
  2. Outdoor: Mapbox Outdoors is a general-purpose map with curated datasets and specialized styling tailored to hiking, biking, and the most adventurous use cases.
  3. Light and Dark: Mapbox Light and Mapbox Dark are subtle, full-featured maps designed to provide geographic context while highlighting the data on your analytics dashboard, data visualization, or data overlay.
  4. Satellite: is our full global basemap that works as a blank canvas or an overlay for your own data.
  5. Satellite Streets: combines our Mapbox Satellite with vector data from Mapbox Streets. The comprehensive set of road, label, and POI information brings clarity and context to the crisp detail in our high-resolution satellite imagery.
  6. Traffic: Visually show realtime traffic using either the provided day or night traffic styles.

The Maps SDK's Style class has private static final Strings of the default Mapbox styles' URLs, so that you can conveniently reference the styles when you have to pass the style URL through the setStyle() method or other methods in your project. For example:

mapboxMap.setStyle(Style.MAPBOX_STREETS) {

// Custom map style has been loaded and map is now ready


Retrieving a map layer

Retrieving a map layer is the first step to adjusting the visual look of the map in real time. Every map style has a stack of map layers and each layer has an id. In the professionally-designed Mapbox Streets style, layers in that style have ids such as landuse, settlement-label, natural-point-label, and building.

mapboxMap.getStyle {
val singleLayer = it.getLayer(UNIQUE_LAYER_ID)

You can view the map style's layer Z-index order and layer ids in Mapbox Studio. Another way to view this information is by printing out each layer ID to your Android logcat once the map has been loaded on the device.

mapView?.getMapAsync {
mapView?.getMapAsync { mapboxMap -> mapboxMap.setStyle(Style.MAPBOX_STREETS) {

for (singleLayer in it.layers) {
Log.d(TAG, "onMapReady: layer id = " +


Once you have an individual map layer, you can then use data-driven styling and expressions to adjust the layer's properties. For example, here's how you'd use runtime styling to change the water layer's blue color to a deeper blue color:

button.setOnClickListener {
mapboxMap.getStyle {

val waterLayer = it.getLayer("water")



Changing the map's style triggers a "map event". Read the map change event documentation for more information about the events and how to display or re-display data on your map after a map style has finished loading.