A tileset is a collection of raster or vector data broken up into a uniform grid of square tiles at 22 preset zoom levels. In Mapbox libraries and SDKs, tilesets are necessary to make maps visible on mobile devices or in the browser. They are cacheable and load quickly, and Mapbox relies heavily on tilesets to keep our maps performant.
Tilesets can be raster or vector. The differences are outlined below:
Uploading raster images (TIFF or GeoTIFF files) to your Mapbox account results in raster tilesets. Raster tilesets are used in Mapbox tools to display maps as a grid of images that can be loaded on the map. You can use raster tilesets in Mapbox GL-based tools like Mapbox Studio, Mapbox GL JS, and the Mapbox Maps SDKs for Android and iOS.
Uploading vector data (GeoJSON, Shapefile, KML, or GPX files) to your Mapbox account results in vector tilesets. Vector tilesets are the vector data equivalent of raster tilesets. Instead of storing raster data in the form of pixels, vector tilesets store vector data in the form of points, lines, and polygons as vector tiles. Vector tiles can be manipulated and queried. They can be used as sources for map styles or queried directly to create interactive experiences with Mapbox GL JS and the Mapbox Maps SDKs for Android and iOS.