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Mapbox is a mature mapping platform that provides a suite of products:

  • Maps - Visualising maps and geospatial data
  • Search - Location search and reverse geocoding
  • Navigation - Turn by turn navigation
  • Studio - Design custom maps
  • Atlas - Mapbox on-premises (public beta)
  • Data - Datasets to add to your maps e.g. Speed limits, traffic data, buildings

All the above tools can be used to build interactive mapping or geospatial solutions for web and mobile using Javascript libraries, iOS/Android/React Native SDKs and REST APIs. Mapbox uses vector tiles to deliver performant maps that can be styled when requested. Mapbox Studio can be used to completely customise the look of maps used in an application. Custom data can also be uploaded to Mapbox as CSV, GeoJSON, MBTiles, KML, GPX, Shapefile and GeoTIFF formats which can then be recalled later for visualisation or querying purposes.

Custom maps, tilesets and styles can be kept private or public depending on your security needs. Access tokens used for associating an account to map loads and API calls can restricted to URLs so that requests only work from known URLs. Tokens can also be programmatically rotated using the Token API.


Google Maps is a commendable alternative that offers similar features to Mapbox. Although Google Maps has the best information on the market, Mapbox is better for development as it can customised as needed. Mapbox also offers a generous free tier compared to Google Maps. Here is an article that compares Mapbox and Google Maps and maybe helpful when choosing between the two.


Mapbox operates on a Pay As You Go model while offering a generous free tier - 50,000 free web map loads every month.


Mapbox is a great alternative to Google Maps and is used by the likes of Strava, Financial Times and The Weather Channel to name a few. Mapbox's generous free tier, its ability to customise maps, and its ability to accept data in various formats means it should be considered when designing map first applications.