Upload data to Mapbox
Mapbox Tiling Service (MTS) has several beta endpoints that allow you to create custom vector tilesets. You can use these endpoints as an alternative to the Uploads API for tiling vector data using custom configuration rules. While these endpoints are in beta, they are subject to potential changes.
If you want to upload your data to Mapbox, you've come to the right place! From GeoTIFFs to Shapefiles, whether you want to edit your data or style it on a map, this guide outlines the different types of data you can upload, techniques for uploading, and common pitfalls and how to troubleshoot them.
Datasets provide access to feature geometries (points, lines, and polygons) and properties (attributes), both of which can be edited in the Mapbox Studio dataset editor or through the Mapbox Datasets API.
Tilesets are lightweight collections of vector data that are optimized for rendering and are not editable but can be styled in the Mapbox Studio style editor.
Techniques for uploading datasets and tilesets are listed below. The size of your data file will affect how much can be transferred at one time. See the section on transfer limits to know which method is right for you.
To add your data to a dataset, you can create a new, blank dataset through Mapbox Studio or through the Mapbox Datasets API and then add data to it. Note that the Mapbox Datasets API does not date GeoJSON files as uploads, but rather as the body of a POST request. See the Mapbox Datasets API documentation for more information.
You can upload your data as a tileset through:
Uploads created in Mapbox Studio via the Mapbox Studio style editor, your tilesets page, or exported from a dataset using the dataset editor are subject to additional limits. These uploads cannot exceed 300 MB, and are limited to 20 uploads per month. Some file types have limits below 300 MB. See the chart below for limits by file type.
If you run into the 300 MB file limit when uploading via Studio, see the tileset upload errors section for suggested solutions.
The accepted file types and transfer limits for dataset and tileset uploads include:
|File type||Datasets||Tilesets||Transfer limits|
|CSV||5 MB for datasets|
1 GB for tilesets
|GeoJSON||5 MB for datasets|
1 GB for tilesets
|KML||260 MB with 15 layers or fewer|
|Shapefile||260 MB (combined uncompressed size of |
If your file size exceeds these limits, see the Troubleshooting section below.
An extra note on dataset uploads: Multiple files can be uploaded to the same dataset without limit — they need to be loaded 5 MB at a time in the Mapbox Studio dataset editor. The size of a dataset is unlimited, but the Mapbox Studio dataset editor can only display datasets of 20 MB or smaller. Datasets that exceed 20 MB can still be downloaded from Mapbox Studio and accessed through the Mapbox Datasets API.
When uploading raster MBTiles to Mapbox Studio, be sure to use 512x512 tiles.
There are a couple requirements for TIFFs:
- Only 8-bit GeoTIFFs are supported. Run
gdalinfoto find your GeoTIFF's resolution.
- Mapbox only accepts TIFFs with georeferencing information (GeoTIFFs). Make sure your TIFF is georeferenced before trying to upload.
If you are attempting to upload large TIFFs (multi GBs), here are some ways you can optimize your TIFF before uploading:
- Reproject to Web Mercator
- Set blocksize to
- If compression is needed, use
- Remove Alpha band, if applicable.
Upload failures directly in Mapbox Studio typically occur for two reasons:
- There's an explicit issue with your data.
- The data didn't process within one hour (two hours for MBTiles files).
If there is an explicit issue with your data, you will receive a descriptive error message when the upload fails. Each message includes an error code that is described in full below. If your upload times out, read through the troubleshooting recommendations below.
|You tried to upload a zipfile that did not include one of the files that make up a shapefile: ||Make sure your zipfile contains each of these files.|
|Your data source may not have any layers.||Check your data source in QGIS or use ogr2ogr to make sure it is correct.|
|The TileJSON file in your MBTiles upload contains too much information.||Remove extra or unneeded content from the TileJSON file (inside the MBTiles file).|
|Your KML file is empty.||Make sure you have some layers in your data that are readable. Here's an example of a valid KML file.|
|Your KML file has more than 15 layers. This can happen when combining many files into one.||Make sure to split up your layers into different files before uploading to Mapbox Studio. If you must use KML and require all the layers, use |
|Your MBTiles file has more items than the limit allows.||Try adjusting & limiting your zoom levels.|
|The uploaded dataset was deleted during processing into a tileset.||Try uploading the dataset again, and do not delete the dataset until the tileset processing has successfully completed.|
|The size of a specific tile in the MBTiles file is too large.||Reduce the detail of data at this zoom level or omit it by adjusting your minzoom.|
|The size of the grid tile in the MBTiles file is too large.||Reduce the detail of data at this zoom level or omit it by adjusting your minzoom.|
|Your GeoJSON file has invalid syntax.||Make sure your GeoJSON is compliant with the GeoJSON specification. You can validate your GeoJSON with GeoJSON Lint.|
|Mapnik is unable to process the GeoJSON file, likely due to invalid syntax.||Make sure your GeoJSON is compliant with the GeoJSON specification. You can validate your GeoJSON with the |
|The coordinates in your file are beyond the extend of Web Mercator.||Check to see that your coordinates are in the correct order ([longitude, latitude]). Try visualizing your GeoJSON in geojson.net to see if geometries appear where you expect. If they do, try reprojecting to Web Mercator prior to uploading.|
|You have one of the following: |
- Bad TIFF files that are missing necessary information.
- Invalid MBTiles where the MBTiles is not recognized as an SQLite database.
- Invalid MBTiles table data where the MBTiles has data in the
- tmz2 files have been double zipped meaning the
|- Try running |
- Make sure your MBtiles file conforms the MBtiles specification.
- Check that the file has only been zipped once.
|While generating tiles from your upload, at least one tile was larger than 5MB, which is too large.||Try simplifying your data where it is most dense. This typically happens with CSV point datasets where there are many millions of points in a single tile. Try using Tippecanoe to simplify and cluster points before uploading.|
|One of the tiles in your MBTiles file is invalid according to the Mapbox Vector Tile Specification.||We need to make sure all vector tiles conform to the specification, so this makes sure any encoders are doing their job correctly. If you see this, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with the error message and we'll help you move forward.|
|The file you are attempting to upload is larger than the 300 MB limit for uploading using Studio.||Instead of uploading your file in Studio, use the Uploads API by following the steps outlined in our API documentation. Or use one of the following approaches to get your file size below 300MB: |
- If you use Tippecanoe, update your Tippecanoe commands by doing either or both of the following:
- Lowering your tileset’s maxzoom as much as feasible for your data, since each additional zoom level creates 4 times as many tiles as the previous one.
- Filtering out any features or feature attributes that you won’t need in your tileset for styling purposes. In particular, feature attributes can be very heavy in vector tiles so we recommend only keeping the ones you will use for styling.
- If you use QGIS, you can use it to remove your unnecessary data fields.
Once you create a new file that is less than 300MB, upload this to Studio on your tilesets page or in the Mapbox Studio style editor.
|The zipfile does not contain a valid shapefile in the root directory.||Make sure your zipfile contains a |
|There is a problem with the pixels in the GeoTIFF image you are uploading.||There are a few situations where you may see this error:|
|The access token used does not belong to the username used.||Make sure you are using an |
|The MBTiles file you are trying to upload is empty.||Make sure the |
Most dataset upload errors are related to syntax. Be sure to check your data for syntax errors before uploading. If you are working with GeoJSON data, consider using a tool like
geojsonhint to lint your data before uploading. If your error is specifically related to a CSV upload, you can view our CSV file errors troubleshooting guide or investigate further by checking out the library we use to convert CSV files to GeoJSON.
|Your dataset contains a crs attribute.||Remove the crs attribute from your data before uploading.|
|Your dataset contains one or more GeometryCollections and/or a geometry that is set to null.||GeometryCollections and null geometries are not supported and must be removed from your dataset.|
If you receive a
Processing timed out. message after a lengthy "processing" status, it is likely because your file has taken more than one hour (two hours for MBTiles files) to process and has timed out. To keep our upload queue fresh, we limit the time it takes for particularly large uploads. The following techniques can be used to update your data to improve processing time.
Note: the troubleshooting advice here mostly relates to tilesets, although some may be applicable to datasets as well. If you are having trouble uploading datasets and your issue is not listed here, please contact support.
Preventing feature duplication is important if you plan to use the Tilequery API with a custom tileset. Feature duplication in a tileset can lead to unexpected duplicate results when using the Tilequery API with the tileset, even when the
dedupe option is enabled.
To prevent feature duplication when creating a new tileset, use Mapbox Tiling Service (MTS) or Tippecanoe to properly create globally unique IDs. Avoid using the Uploads API or the Mapbox Studio UI, which will not use any user-provided IDs or generate globally unique IDs.
During upload processing, we reproject all geometries to Web Mercator (EPSG:3857) before encoding into vector tiles. During the vector tile encoding process, if your data isn't Web Mercator, each vertex must be reprojected during encoding, which can take a long time.
We suggest reprojecting your data before uploading to skip this process and speed up your upload. Here's how you can reproject your data with open source tools:
ogr2ogrcommand line utility. The following example is how to convert a Shapefile to Web Mercator.
ogr2ogr output.shp -t_srs "EPSG:3857" input.shp
QGIS allows for reprojection -
Right-click your layer -> Save As -> Select "Web Mercator EPSG:3857" as the output projection.
Multipart geometries can be complex – a single feature can be comprised of hundreds of thousands of polygons. These complex multipart geometries increase processing time and lead to timeouts.
To improve processing speeds, you can break each polygon into its own unique feature (singlepart) using QGIS. This will reduce the complexity per feature and allow the data to process faster. Note that each individual singlepart feature will share the attributes of the original feature.
population: 100 is duplicated. If you plan on styling based on attributes such as this, be wary of splitting into singleparts!
There are a couple of helpful tools for doing this:
- In QGIS you can use either the
Vector -> Geometry Tools -> Multipart to singlepartsor the Multipart Split plugin.
- If you are using GeoJSON and Node.js, you can use the geojson-flatten module.
Simplifying your data means removing complexity in the vertices of your geometry. Each vertex must be translated to vector tile coordinates. The fewer vertices to translate, the faster processing becomes. Often you can simplify your data without any visual change. It's important to watch out for oversimplification, though! Oversimplifying could remove important granularity in your data as well as potentially create invalid geometries if lines begin overlapping.
Simplification tools typically take a tolerance parameter to specify how much to simplify. Some tools to use for simplifying data:
- QGIS vector simplification -
Vector -> Geometry Tools -> Simplify geometries
- Turf.js simplify
Large features that span the entire dataset can slow down processing.
For example, consider this dataset of Hawaii. It contains a handful of smaller polygons that represent the islands. It also contains a large polygon that represents the surrounding water. Since the bounding box of the water polygon will intersect with nearly all the tile boundaries (gray lines), the water polygon will need to be processed for nearly every tile within this tileset.
There is no exact solution for this, since it largely depends on the dataset and how you plan to style and use the data.
Some possible solutions include:
Remove the large polygon if it's not necessary for your use case.
Split the large polygon into smaller polygons: After creating a digitized layer of smaller polygons, use that digitized layer to intersect with the large polygon and split it into pieces. Then add the newly split feature into your original dataset.
QGIS geometry intersection -
Vector -> Geoprocessing Tools -> Intersection
Caution: This could create unwanted polygon borders, depending on how you plan to style the dataset.
Large contour datasets can be particularly complex. Often they will have long, single feature linestrings wrapping across the entire dataset. Like the large polygons above, these can take a long time to process.
We recommend using GRASS's
v.split function via QGIS to break lines into shorter, equal segments. Smaller geometries will improve processing speed. If the contour data is highly detailed (as in, requires zoom 22) we recommend breaking lines every 5 kilometers.
We generate summary documents, known as tilestats, for uploads so Mapbox Studio can see what types of data and properties are in your spatial data. This takes quite a long time for large MBTiles files and can lead to timeouts. If you are using Tippecanoe to generate your MBTiles file you can bypass this step by using version 1.21.0 or later of Tippecanoe, which pre-generates a tilestats object. This can cut upload times in half.
If you aren't using Tippecanoe, you can still use the
tile-join operation provided by Tippecanoe to generate the tilestats document. Make sure to at least use version 1.22.0.
tile-join -o with-tilestats.mbtiles original.mbtiles