Our map data

All the map data that appears in our template map styles comes from one of four Mapbox tilesets. A tileset is a collection of raster or vector data broken up into a uniform grid of square tiles at 22 preset zoom levels.

Tilesets can be comprised of either raster or vector tiles. Raster tilesets contain a collection of images at various zoom levels that make up a complete map. A raster tileset source makes up the Mapbox Satellite style.

The rest of our map styles are created using vector tilesets. Vector tilesets contain geometries and metadata – like road names, place names, house numbers – in a compact, structured format. Vector tiles are rendered only when requested by a client, like a web browser or a mobile app.

Vector tilesets contain only geographic data, geometric data, and metadata, and do not inherently have any style properties. The map on the left shows the geometries that are included in the Mapbox Terrain tileset. The map on the right shows the Mapbox Outdoors style, which combines data from the Mapbox Terrain and Mapbox Streets tilesets and applies styling rules to the data to create the map you see in your browser. See the Map design guide for more information on how map styles work. All our template map styles are created using some combination of our Mapbox tilesets.

Mapbox tilesets

Mapbox-hosted tilesets begin with the prefix mapbox. and are hosted on Mapbox servers.

Core tilesets

All Mapbox users can access and use Mapbox Streets, Mapbox Terrain, Mapbox Traffic, Mapbox Satellite, and country level polygons from Mapbox Boundaries.

  • Mapbox Streets includes streets, buildings, administrative areas, water, and land data based on a combination of proprietary Mapbox data, Open Data projects including OpenStreetMap, and data vendors for certain geographic areas.
  • Mapbox Terrain includes a worldwide elevation data set complete with contours, hillshade, and landcover data.
  • Mapbox Traffic provides congestion information that is updated every 5 minutes, with road geometries originating from OpenStreetMap.
  • Mapbox Satellite includes a global satellite imagery from a range of sources, processed and seamed together by Mapbox. You can read more about our satellite imagery in the Satellite imagery guide.
  • Mapbox Boundaries can be used to add global administrative, postal, and statistical boundaries to maps and data visualizations. Learn more in the Mapbox Boundaries vector tile reference.
Complete documentation for Mapbox tilesets

Complete documentation, including source IDs, layer names, and data sources for Mapbox tilesets, can be found in our vector tiles reference and specification documentation and in the Mapbox Satellite glossary entry.

Premium tilesets

For full access to all boundaries, you must purchase access to Mapbox Boundaries. For more information on accessing Mapbox Boundaries, contact Mapbox sales.

Custom tilesets

You can create your own custom tilesets with Mapbox Studio, Mapbox Tiling Service, or the Mapbox Uploads API. Learn more in our add new data getting started guide.

How our data works

This guide covers Mapbox vector tilesets, which are the main source of Mapbox-provided data you'll work with if you're using Mapbox tools. For more information about our raster tilesets, see the Satellite imagery guide.

Vector tilesets

Working with vector tilesets opens up additional features for building dynamic maps, including:

  • Dynamic styling. Using Mapbox GL JS or the Mapbox Maps SDKs for Android and iOS, you can adjust your map's appearance dynamically, without having to download new tiles.
  • Smooth interactions. Because all your map data is loaded in the map client, you can re-render the map quickly, enabling smooth zooming, tilt, and rotation.
  • Size and speed. While the vector tile format is not inherently small or performant, Mapbox's cartographers have done a lot of work to make sure that Mapbox-provided vector tiles are well balanced between level of detail and performance.
  • Dynamically querying. You can use this feature to access your map data's properties right from your vector tileset.

Mapbox provides three different vector tilesets that you can use in your maps. Note that not all data included in a tileset exists at every zoom level. To keep maps lightweight, Mapbox cartographers have carefully chosen which data should appear at each zoom level.

Read about the Mapbox vector tile specification, and see a complete list of all layers included in each Mapbox vector tileset in the layer references: Mapbox Streets v8, Mapbox Terrain, Mapbox Traffic v1.

Data sources

The data in Mapbox tilesets come from a variety of sources.

Mapbox Streets

Mapbox Streets is a Mapbox-provided tileset that includes features like streets, buildings, and places from all around the world. The Mapbox Streets tileset is powered by a combination of proprietary Mapbox data, Open Data projects (including OpenStreetMap, Microsoft Open Maps and Wikidata), and data vendors for certain geographic areas (including Zenrin in Japan, PSMA in Australia, and Visicom in the UAE).

For layers and features that come from OpenStreetMap, you can edit or add features directly in OpenStreetMap and you will eventually see your changes reflected on your Mapbox map. To learn more about how you can contribute to OpenStreetMap, read our OpenStreetMap mapping guides.

To learn more about how Mapbox contributes to the OpenStreetMap community, read the OpenStreetMap wiki entry on Mapbox.

Quality assurance

Besides the daily efforts of contributors all over the globe, the OpenStreetMap community uses several other methods for identifying errors in the data, including multiple quality-assurance feedback tools and a flagging system that allows users to identify where a mistake may have been made, or areas that may need special attention from someone with local knowledge.

Mapbox is also home to a dedicated data team, who are committed both to ensuring the quality of the map and also to adding and improving features all over the world. We also use an automated quarantine system that detects changes to the map that look like accidental editing mistakes or vandalism and stages them for manual review by our data team.

Mapbox Terrain

Mapbox Terrain is a Mapbox-provided tileset that includes features like topography, hillshades, and landcover. Mapbox Terrain is comprised of a wide variety of data sources from government-provided datasets as well as third-party commercial data. To learn more about the datasets in the Mapbox Terrain tileset, visit our mapping platform page.

Mapbox Traffic

The Mapbox Traffic is a Mapbox-provided tileset for displaying real-time traffic conditions. Mapbox Traffic is continuously updated and built from anonymous sensor data. Mapbox SDKs collect anonymous data about the map and device location to continuously update and improve your maps. To learn more about the telemetry data that goes into the Mapbox Traffic tileset, visit our telemetry page.

Mapbox Boundaries

Data in the Mapbox Boundaries tileset is based on information obtained from officially recognized local or international entities. Administrative boundaries are divisions or borders between areas that have different governance (for example, country borders internationally or state and county borders in the United States). Postal boundaries are defined by the postal system of each country. Statistical boundaries are officially defined for statistical purposes, or are commonly used for statistical purposes but do not serve an official administrative function (for example, census blocks in the US). Mapbox Boundaries also has international representations of all boundaries, including Chinese and Indian, so you can provide localized context for data.

To learn more about how to access Mapbox Boundaries, contact Mapbox sales.

Mapbox Terrain-DEM

The Mapbox Terrain-DEM raster tileset is an optimized version of Mapbox Terrain-RGB, with compression applied to reduce detail at lower zoom levels. It uses the same equation to encode height into the pixel values, and can be fetched from the /raster/v1 endpoint:


Mapbox Terrain-RGB

The Mapbox Terrain-RGB raster tileset is our global elevation layer. This tileset contains raw height values in meters in the Red, Green, and Blue channels of PNG tiles. You can use the elevation data stored within Terrain-RGB for a wide variety of applications both visual and analytical, from styling terrain slope and hillshades to generating 3D terrain for video games.

Terrain-RGB uses each color channel as a position in a base-256 numbering system, allowing for 16,777,216 unique values. We’ve mapped these to 0.1 meter height increments, which gives us the vertical precision necessary for cartographic and 3D applications.

You can use this Raster Tiles endpoint to get Terrain-RGB tiles:


Then use this equation to decode pixel values to height values:

height = -10000 + ((R * 256 * 256 + G * 256 + B) * 0.1)

See our Access elevation data troubleshooting guide for more information.

Mapbox map projections

Mapbox supports the popular Web Mercator projection, and does not support any other projections. Web Mercator is a nearly conformal projection that is adopted by the vast majority of web maps and its use allows you to combine Mapbox's maps with other layers in the same projection.

Commonly this projection is referred to as EPSG:900913 or EPSG:3857. See epsg.io for more information and alternative encodings.

Using our data

You can use our map data as source data for your map styles in Mapbox Studio, access our data directly using the Mapbox Maps Service APIs, or contribute to our data sources through OpenStreetMap.

Mapbox Studio

You can use our tilesets directly in Mapbox Studio on the Tilesets page. Any time you create a new style from a template style in the Mapbox Studio style editor, you will be using a Mapbox tileset.

Mapbox Maps Service APIs

With the Mapbox Maps Service APIs, you can request Mapbox tilesets programmatically:

Contribute to OpenStreetMap

We contribute to OpenStreetMap, and you should too!

Sign up for a free account to start contributing. The OpenStreetMap web editor allows you to draw or edit features such as roads, buildings, parks, traffic signals, and labels. Read Learn OpenStreetMap for a step-by-step guide to start contributing to the project.

We've covered how Mapbox works with OpenStreetMap data, the quality controls behind it, and how you can be a part of this growing movement to provide a free and open data set for everyone.