MapBox Studio Review

Brian Norman
Brian Norman
1 Oct 2014
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Over the last two years one of favourite mapping tools has been the excellent TileMill from MapBox. TileMill has enabled us to create highly stylistic maps from custom geo-data on a number of client projects including our work with Skype on the winter X-Games Social Media Map. MapBox have been working on the next generation of TileMill for over a year and they have now launched it under a new name Mapbox Studio .

###What does it do? Mapbox Studio ., and TileMill before it, has proved to be one of the most flexible and powerful tools in our arsenal. Available on Windows, Mac and Linux, MapBox Studio enables you to take your own map data add in existing datasources like Open Street Map and then apply your own customized styles making roads, rivers, parks, house and anything else you can think of any colour of the rainbow.

Styling is done using CartoCSS a relatively new style format for maps based on the popuplar .LESS style framework used for modern websites. CartoCSS allows anyone already familiar with .LESS or CSS to very quickly get the hang of creating pretty complex custom styles and Mapbox Studio provides a CartoCSS built in reference system to help you learn.

###What's new? What's different in Mapbox Studio . compared to TileMill is that they have made it incredibly easy to get add Open Street Map data to your project. Where as previously you had to download the OSM data you were interested in (possibly serveral Gigabytes) then load that data into a Spatial Database to ensure performance you can now just use MapBox's vector tile services to load OSM data from anywhere in the world on demand as you need it.

This may sounds a trivial new feature but it means anyone can create their own custom map style and after uploading it to your online MapBox account instantly start using this style in mapping projects with the entire world styled and ready at every zoom level.

###Enough words show us the maps The power of this new feature is hard to describe and the range of possibilities it opens is limited only by your creativing. Here are a few examples of what you can achieve (we especially like the extra rrrrrs in the pirate map):

###What are you waiting for? I hope you can tell that we love MapBox Studio here at Earthware and so should you so what are you waiting for go and []download it and start reading the online tutorials .

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