Glossary

zoom level

A zoom level determines how much of the world is visible on a map. Mapbox provides maps in 23 zoom levels, with 0 being the lowest zoom level (fully zoomed out) and 22 being the highest (fully zoomed in). At low zoom levels, a small set of map tiles covers a large geographical area. At higher zoom levels, a larger number of tiles cover a smaller geographical area.

At zoom levelYou can see
0The Earth
3A continent
4Large islands
6Large rivers
10Large roads
15Buildings

Zoom level quadtrees

Map tiles are stored in a quadtree data structure. At zoom level 0, you can see a map of the whole Earth, and this image is contained in a single tile. At zoom level 1, the single tile you saw at zoom level 0 splits into exactly four tiles so the whole world fits in a 2x2 tile square. Each zoom level quadtree divides the tiles of the one before it, which creates a grid of 2zoomx2zoom. The highest zoom level, 22, is a 222x222 grid.

Tile size

Libraries based on Mapbox GL display 512x512 pixel tiles by default, while many other mapping libraries use 256x256 pixel tiles. The only Mapbox products that work with 256x256 pixel tiles by default are the Mapbox Raster Tiles API and Mapbox.js. If you're working with Mapbox GL JS but would like to display 256x256 pixel tiles, you can also specify that individual Mapbox sources are 256x256 pixel tiles in your map's source definition or by ensuring the source's TileJSON is correct.

While a 512x512 tile and a 256x256 tile cover the same geographic area at any given zoom level, they will appear a bit differently when displayed by Mapbox GL JS versus Mapbox.js. In Mapbox GL JS, all tiles are offset by one zoom level. This means that when a Mapbox GL JS map is zoomed to zoom level 2, it will display the same geographic area as a Mapbox.js map zoomed to zoom level 1. Because of this zoom offset, the appearance of a Mapbox GL JS map at zoom level 1 is the same as the appearance of a Mapbox.js map at zoom level 2.

Zoom levels and geographical distance

Determining the geographical distance covered by an individual pixel in a map depends on the latitude you are looking at. This table lists the approximate geographical distance in meters per pixel for each zoom level, at different latitudes. Many modern devices have displays with a pixel density that is much higher than the images they display, and they apply special transformations to make images look good. For this reason, it is important to note that the values below apply to the pixels in the map tile rather than the pixels on your screen.

These numbers are based on 512x512 pixel tiles, which are displayed in Mapbox GL-based map clients. The per-pixel value will be different for tiles served by the Mapbox Raster Tiles API, which are 256x256 pixels by default. To determine the per-pixel value for 256x256 tiles, take the zoom level you're interested in and look at the row above it.

Zoom levelLatitude 0 (Equator)Latitude ±20 (Mexico City; Mutare, Zimbabwe)Latitude ±40 (Cincinnati; Melbourne)Latitude ±60 (Anchorage)Latitude ±80 (Longyearbyen, Svalbard Norway)
078271.484 meters/pixel
(256796.21 feet/pixel)
73551.136 meters/pixel
(241309.50 feet/pixel)
59959.436 meters/pixel
(196717.31 feet/pixel)
39135.742 meters/pixel
(128398.10 feet/pixel)
13591.701 meters/pixel
(44592.19 feet/pixel)
139135.742 meters/pixel
(128398.10 feet/pixel)
36775.568 meters/pixel
(120654.75 feet/pixel)
29979.718 meters/pixel
(98358.65 feet/pixel)
19567.871 meters/pixel
(64199.05 feet/pixel)
6795.850 meters/pixel
(22296.10 feet/pixel)
219567.871 meters/pixel
(64199.05 feet/pixel)
18387.784 meters/pixel
(60327.38 feet/pixel)
14989.859 meters/pixel
(49179.33 feet/pixel)
9783.936 meters/pixel
(32099.53 feet/pixel)
3397.925 meters/pixel
(11148.05 feet/pixel)
39783.936 meters/pixel
(32099.53 feet/pixel)
9193.892 meters/pixel
(30163.69 feet/pixel)
7494.929 meters/pixel
(24589.66 feet/pixel)
4891.968 meters/pixel
(16049.76 feet/pixel)
1698.963 meters/pixel
(5574.02 feet/pixel)
44891.968 meters/pixel
(16049.76 feet/pixel)
4596.946 meters/pixel
(15081.84 feet/pixel)
3747.465 meters/pixel
(12294.83 feet/pixel)
2445.984 meters/pixel
(8024.88 feet/pixel)
849.481 meters/pixel
(2787.01 feet/pixel)
52445.984 meters/pixel
(8024.88 feet/pixel)
2298.473 meters/pixel
(7540.92 feet/pixel)
1873.732 meters/pixel
(6147.42 feet/pixel)
1222.992 meters/pixel
(4012.44 feet/pixel)
424.741 meters/pixel
(1393.51 feet/pixel)
61222.992 meters/pixel
(4012.44 feet/pixel)
1149.237 meters/pixel
(3770.46 feet/pixel)
936.866 meters/pixel
(3073.71 feet/pixel)
611.496 meters/pixel
(2006.22 feet/pixel)
212.370 meters/pixel
(696.75 feet/pixel)
7611.496 meters/pixel
(2006.22 feet/pixel)
574.618 meters/pixel
(1885.23 feet/pixel)
468.433 meters/pixel
(1536.85 feet/pixel)
305.748 meters/pixel
(1003.11 feet/pixel)
106.185 meters/pixel
(348.38 feet/pixel)
8305.748 meters/pixel
(1003.11 feet/pixel)
287.309 meters/pixel
(942.62 feet/pixel)
234.217 meters/pixel
(768.43 feet/pixel)
152.874 meters/pixel
(501.56 feet/pixel)
53.093 meters/pixel
(174.19 feet/pixel)
9152.874 meters/pixel
(501.56 feet/pixel)
143.655 meters/pixel
(471.31 feet/pixel)
117.108 meters/pixel
(384.21 feet/pixel)
76.437 meters/pixel
(250.78 feet/pixel)
26.546 meters/pixel
(87.09 feet/pixel)
1076.437 meters/pixel
(250.78 feet/pixel)
71.827 meters/pixel
(235.65 feet/pixel)
58.554 meters/pixel
(192.11 feet/pixel)
38.218 meters/pixel
(125.39 feet/pixel)
13.273 meters/pixel
(43.55 feet/pixel)
1138.218 meters/pixel
(125.39 feet/pixel)
35.914 meters/pixel
(117.83 feet/pixel)
29.277 meters/pixel
(96.05 feet/pixel)
19.109 meters/pixel
(62.69 feet/pixel)
6.637 meters/pixel
(21.77 feet/pixel)
1219.109 meters/pixel
(62.69 feet/pixel)
17.957 meters/pixel
(58.91 feet/pixel)
14.639 meters/pixel
(48.03 feet/pixel)
9.555 meters/pixel
(31.35 feet/pixel)
3.318 meters/pixel
(10.89 feet/pixel)
139.555 meters/pixel
(31.35 feet/pixel)
8.978 meters/pixel
(29.46 feet/pixel)
7.319 meters/pixel
(24.01 feet/pixel)
4.777 meters/pixel
(15.67 feet/pixel)
1.659 meters/pixel
(5.44 feet/pixel)
144.777 meters/pixel
(15.67 feet/pixel)
4.489 meters/pixel
(14.73 feet/pixel)
3.660 meters/pixel
(12.01 feet/pixel)
2.389 meters/pixel
(7.84 feet/pixel)
0.830 meters/pixel
(2.72 feet/pixel)
152.389 meters/pixel
(7.84 feet/pixel)
2.245 meters/pixel
(7.36 feet/pixel)
1.830 meters/pixel
(6.00 feet/pixel)
1.194 meters/pixel
(3.92 feet/pixel)
0.415 meters/pixel
(1.36 feet/pixel)
161.194 meters/pixel
(3.92 feet/pixel)
1.122 meters/pixel
(3.68 feet/pixel)
0.915 meters/pixel
(3.00 feet/pixel)
0.597 meters/pixel
(1.96 feet/pixel)
0.207 meters/pixel
(8.17 inches/pixel)
170.597 meters/pixel
(1.96 feet/pixel)
0.561 meters/pixel
(1.84 feet/pixel)
0.457 meters/pixel
(1.50 feet/pixel)
0.299 meters/pixel
(11.76 inches/pixel)
0.104 meters/pixel
(4.08 inches/pixel)
180.299 meters/pixel
(11.76 inches/pixel)
0.281 meters/pixel
(11.05 inches/pixel)
0.229 meters/pixel
(9.01 inches/pixel)
0.149 meters/pixel
(5.88 inches/pixel)
0.052 meters/pixel
(2.04 inches/pixel)
190.149 meters/pixel
(5.88 inches/pixel)
0.140 meters/pixel
(5.52 inches/pixel)
0.114 meters/pixel
(4.50 inches/pixel)
0.075 meters/pixel
(2.94 inches/pixel)
0.026 meters/pixel
(1.02 inches/pixel)
200.075 meters/pixel
(2.94 inches/pixel)
0.070 meters/pixel
(2.76 inches/pixel)
0.057 meters/pixel
(2.25 inches/pixel)
0.037 meters/pixel
(1.47 inches/pixel)
0.013 meters/pixel
(0.51 inches/pixel)
210.037 meters/pixel
(1.47 inches/pixel)
0.035 meters/pixel
(1.38 inches/pixel)
0.029 meters/pixel
(1.13 inches/pixel)
0.019 meters/pixel
(0.73 inches/pixel)
0.006 meters/pixel
(0.26 inches/pixel)
220.019 meters/pixel
(0.73 inches/pixel)
0.018 meters/pixel
(0.69 inches/pixel)
0.014 meters/pixel
(0.56 inches/pixel)
0.009 meters/pixel
(0.37 inches/pixel)
0.003 meters/pixel
(0.13 inches/pixel)

Related resources:

Was this page helpful?