Mapbox Tiling Service

Mapbox Tiling Service

  • Create highly customized vector tilesets
  • Specify IDs for each feature in a tileset
  • Reuse uploaded data across multiple tilesets
  • Generate tilesets with multiple layers to optimize for performance
Public beta

Mapbox Tiling Service is in public beta. All features and workflows are subject to potential changes.

Mapbox Tiling Service (MTS) is a tool for creating vector tilesets. With MTS, you use sets of configuration options (tileset recipes) to transform your geospatial data into vector tiles. The resulting tiles are hosted on Mapbox servers for use in your applications.

Vector tilesets are helpful if you want to visualize a large amount of data on a map quickly. When creating vector tiles, you can turn gigabytes of raw geospatial data into mere kilobytes, which can be critical for complex data visualizations since most modern browsers support loading about 100 MB of data at a time. And when you use MTS to create vector tiles, you have precise control over how your geospatial data is reduced into tiles.

Use cases

You can use MTS for many use cases. For example, you could use it to:

  • Tile census boundaries to make interactive election visualizations.
  • Add hiking paths, trails, or other roadways not included by default in Mapbox Streets to your map.
  • Visualize activity data like runs or bike rides on a map.
  • Add hotel or real estate properties and their attributes to a map.
  • Create multi-layer tilesets (tilesets that contain up to 20 different data layers).

Because MTS is hosted by Mapbox and designed to scale, you can build full, end-to-end data pipelines with it. It's the same service Mapbox uses internally to create our global, daily-updating basemap Mapbox Streets.

MTS vs. the Mapbox Uploads API

MTS is the tool to use for tileset creation except when you need to create raster tilesets. To create raster tilesets, you can use the Uploads API. Here's how MTS compares to the Mapbox Uploads API:

ToolHosted?Scalable?Customizable?Supports raster data?
Uploads APIYesNoNoYes
Tilesets uploaded in Mapbox Studio

Mapbox Studio uses the Uploads API for uploading tilesets instead of MTS. This means you cannot use MTS API endpoints to interact with a tileset that you have uploaded in Studio.

How to use MTS

MTS requires two inputs to make tiles: a tileset source (your geospatial data) and a tileset recipe (a JSON document that specifies the configuration options for turning the tileset source into tiles). Learn more about tileset sources in the Tileset sources guide. Learn about how to format tileset recipes using the Recipe specification

You can interact with MTS using the Tilesets CLI or using the MTS API endpoints.

Tilesets CLI

The Tilesets CLI is a command-line Python tool that allows you to prepare and upload data for MTS. To create an example tileset using the Tilesets CLI, follow the Get started using Mapbox Tiling Service and the Tilesets CLI tutorial.

For more information about the Tilesets CLI, including all available commands, see the Tilesets CLI documentation.

MTS API endpoints

MTS has API endpoints for creating and interacting with tileset sources and tilesets. These endpoints are generally accessed using the Tilesets CLI tool, but you can also access them directly instead (for example, if you want to integrate MTS into an application so that you can make vector tilesets programmatically).

To learn more about these API endpoints, see the MTS API documentation.

Creating new tilesets with MTS

The core workflow for creating and updating tilesets with MTS is:

  1. Create a tileset source for saving your raw geographic data at Mapbox.

    • For information on how to create a new tileset source using line-delimited GeoJSON, see the Create a tileset source MTS endpoint.
  2. Write a recipe to configure and describe transformation options for converting your tileset sources into vector tiles.

    • For information on how to make sure a recipe document is formatted correctly, see the Validate a recipe MTS endpoint.
  3. Create a new tileset with your recipe.

    • For information on how to use a recipe document to create a new tileset, see the Create a tileset MTS endpoint.
  4. Publish your new tileset. Publishing also allows you to update an existing tileset.

    • For information on how to create a publish job, see the Publish a tileset MTS endpoint.

These steps can be repeated indefinitely for the same tileset, depending on whether your source data has updated or your recipe requires changes.

Update a tileset with MTS

An existing tileset's source, recipe, and tiles can all be updated using MTS:

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