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Getting Started

Learn about the building blocks that Mapbox provides so you can create custom mapping applications.

Welcome to Mapbox!

In this guide, we will explain some of the foundational technologies that enable the services we offer, and introduce our suite of developer tools.

If you want to start building now, jump to the "Add map" link at the top of the page to set up one of our SDKs and build your first map.

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Introduction to the Mapbox platform

Mapbox supports maps and location services for a wide variety of web, mobile, automotive, and gaming applications. This section describes the core technologies that make Mapbox services work.

Our map data is the foundation for many of our location services. Our data processing pipelines ingest new data from mobile sensors, driver feedback, cameras with computer vision, and aerial imagery into our data processing pipelines, and combine this data with open and proprietary sources to keep our map data up-to-date as the world changes. We also offer premium Boundaries, Traffic, and Movement data products.

We rely on vector tiles to store and serve most of our map data. The vector tile format is compact and is designed for caching, scaling, and serving map data rapidly. Vector tiles contain the geometries and metadata that can be rendered on a map. Read more about our Vector Tile Specification below.

Our graphics libraries tell web and mobile devices how to draw maps as visual graphics using two key specification documents:

  • Our open source Mapbox Vector Tile Specification describes how the geometries and attributes within geospatial data must be stored and encoded within vector tiles.

  • Our open source Mapbox Style Specification describes how you must write a map style to tell our graphic libraries what data to draw, the order to draw it in, and what colors, opacity levels, and other properties to apply when drawing the data. The Mapbox Studio style editor is a visual tool for creating a style document that adheres to this specification.

Our platform includes powerful APIs for Maps, Search, Navigation, Vision, and Accounts services. We provide SDKs to make these services accessible to web, mobile, game, and embedded device developers. Our developer tools include Mapbox GL JS, our JavaScript SDK for web developers; Mapbox Studio, a free map style editor with live visual previews; Mapbox SDK for Android and iOS, our SDKs for mobile application developers; and Mapbox Atlas, our on-premise application for customers with restrictive network requirements. For a complete list of tools, see our documentation.

How to use Mapbox

Try a playground

Our playgrounds are interactive tools designed to help you explore our APIs or understand specific development workflows. Playgrounds usually take input from you, then return a helpful code snippet, like an API request or response, that you can use in your webpage or application.

Get inspired

Inspiration is an important part of building with Mapbox tools. We offer several resources to spark your imagination and fuel your creativity.

  • Read our blog to learn about new features and products.
  • See our Solutions page to explore location use cases across industries.
  • Browse our Impact tools for free project templates for nonprofits.
  • Join our live webinars to learn what other developers are building.
  • Follow us @Mapbox on Twitter for beautiful map tweets.

Understand pricing

Mapbox offers a developer-centric pricing model that starts with a generous free tier for initial development and transitions to metered services for production applications, ensuring you only pay as you grow. Read more about our per-product pricing here.

For personalized solutions and to learn about annual payment discounts and other options, start a conversation with our sales team.

Get support

We offer free and paid technical support plans to help developers build with Mapbox tools. See our technical support options guide to learn more about how to get technical support.

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